Feeding the city. Can Cities Feed Their Inhabitants?

In what follows is presented a series of abstracts for coming papers tackling the topic of  food in cities.

Paper 1:  Feeding the city. Can Cities Feed Their Inhabitants?

by  Noha Hossam

Feeding the city:  Is feeding the city’s inhabitants the responsibility of the city, people, building strategies, government or all of them? As the city grows, the demand of food increases, the areas suitable for agriculture decreases, the land values rise and the demand for non – agriculture use grows. So, how can the city feed its people? How can the urban and peri-urban agriculture share in solving this problem? Urban and peri-urban areas contribute to food availability in the city and therefore to the diet of the urban consumer also they can have negative health impacts on habitants for the poor food quality therefore UPA makes a significant contribution to the supply of fresh foods and promoting sustainable agriculture production in UPA can meet urban consumer demand. Also the use of hinterlands around cities and urban food production have a lot of benefits like reducing the carbon food print, reduction in water pollution, water efficiency and urban health. What about people who live in the city? When people participate in sourcing their own food, it creates new respect for nature so that the community initiatives are vital. And how can the building strategies share in solving this problem? Rooftop growing, growing in vertical walls of buildings, growing indoors with hydroponics and aquaculture, these can produce a percent of the city dwellers’ nutriments requirements also the application of vegetation in urban areas: parks, street trees, private gardens and green roofs can mitigate the heat island effect. Finally, the city regulations should also be developed to enable developers who want to grow food or raise chicken or fish in cities. At the end by the cooperation of all the above mentioned, cities that adopt these practices will achieve greater food security and can help other cities to find their own patchwork of solutions.  

Keywords: food, inhabitants, city, sustainability, urban areas. 

Paper 2:   Towards Food Self-Sufficiency:  Urban Agriculture Invading Cities

by Zeynab Matar

In the time that the global society is aware of a future food crisis and the potential strategies to confront it, increasing sustainable food production is not as planned on multiple scales. And since this crisis will target cities with a population growth hitting the forty percent, it’s obvious why working towards local self-sufficiency through enhancing urban agriculture, taking place in urban and peri-urban territories, is a prominent theme in city planning. In the light of the circumstances mentioned, the paper aims at highlighting the aspects a planned ‘invasion’ of urban agriculture demands. The methodology is that of listing and elaborating on these factors, starting from the preliminary aspects of assessing city growth, consumption needs, and the agricultural sector, to the invasion opportunities included in the city morphology where the spread of this agriculture can take place, reaching to the political and civil society roles, ending by the cyclic energy concept for a sustainable over-all plan. The paper presents examples of city plans aiming at enhancing urban agriculture by the multiple factors explained, demonstrating that their basic food self-sufficiency is a close reality. The result is presenting a holistic plan to promote urban architecture in cities, and therefore achieving the needed food self-sufficiency. The paper concludes that the urban agriculture invasion has multiple outcomes other than food self-sufficiency; it’s an enhancement of the ecologic, health, social, and economic life of a city that we should work to attain.

Keywords: urban agriculture, self-sufficiency, food, city, sustainability, planning, energy.

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