I quite agree with what you said in your blog, which is the “urban agriculture could help address issues cities are facing in terms of population growth and sustainability”. The main value of contemporary urban design has certain relevance with the purport of “measures of spontaneous intervention”, which means that the design action should point to common interest. And the issue that the important role of urban planning and landscape design in urban agriculture of it expresses urban agriculture is needed to integrate the agricultural land use, to improve the food crisis and to reduce the distance between urban residents and agriculture in today`s urban design.
Craig Pearson, the director of the institute for sustainable social research in Australia University, researched the following issues in Urban Agriculture：Diverse Activities and Benefits for City Society. Strengthening the ability of sustainable livelihoods and food security through urban greening, giving residents with the rights of using urban green space so that improving the low income community; weakening the strategy of urban encroachment on agricultural land by promoting a feasible scale urbanization of overall agriculture, which can be used as an element to nourish the city life — a case of new urban paradigm. Urban agriculture makes people become urban farmers, and increases extra income and supplies a large amounts of food to urban population by agricultural work. What`s more, the cultivation of fresh organic food in private garden can also become a supporting system in sustainable food. Like the well-known P-Patches community garden program in Seattle, and the Grass Roots Permaculture Movement. As I mentioned in my posted blog: “The elastic food system and urban agriculture is the essence of sustainable community planning. They endow design projects with a great quality of life value”.
In addition, to the point that you mentioned, “urban agriculture is a diverse process that can be implemented at smaller or larger scales within many urban scenarios”, I think urban agriculture needs to focus on understanding and solving the problems of planning, design and implementation. Sustainable cities must make full use of the land, precisely determine the best place to urban agriculture, and study its feasibility in expanding process. What`s more, making citizens involved in agriculture and natural resource management, establishing a sustainable development of the urban community through the improvement of urban agricultural system. So that protecting the economic development, employment opportunities, environmental quality and community stability in a city. Axel Drescher also proposed his point about this issue in The integration of Urban Agriculture into urban planning — An analysis of the current status and constraints. He thought the goal of New Urbanism is to learn from the traditional urban development model, as well as the protection of open space required for natural habitats, leisure activities and productive agriculture, thereby to resist the urban sprawl.
Briefly, I think the beauty of city should be a ecological products of sustainable urban development. And only paying attention to the city future, the integrity of natural system, the needs of vulnerable group and the intimate communication among community members, can our city become a really sustainable zone.
Harvard University Graduate School of Design. ICE-POPS at Venice Biennale[EB/OL].
HB LANARC PLANNING DESIGN SUSTAINABILITY. Sustainable Food Systems and Agricultural Urbanism[EB/OL].
Craig Pearson. Urban Agriculture: Diverse Activities and Benefits for City Society[M]. London: Earthscan Ltd, 2010.
Axel Drescher. The integration of Urban Agriculture into urban planning — An analysis of the current status and constraints[J]. Urban Agriculture Magazine, 2001(4).