Contributions to the Discussion

Contributions September 09 - 15, 2000

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In a first contribution Mirtha Paz Castro from Peru emphasizes the importance of legislation for organic farming in urban and peri-urban areas. She also points out the great loss of agricultural land for example around the Airport of Lima and she thinks it is necessary to protect those areas from being taken away from agriculture. She hopes this conference can help clarify how this could work without repeating problems that other people have encountered.

Joe Nasr submitted an interesting paper at the very beginning of the week, much related to what Mirtha Paz Castro wrote. The paper "Agriculture as a sustainable use of urban land", talks among other things about the conflicts between agriculture and the expansion of built-up areas. Nasr tries a new view by calling these entirely normal - rather than conflicts, they are transactions, exchanges, adaptations. Agriculture is as much of an urban land use as industry, housing and commerce are. As changes occur in other forms of urban land use, agricultural activities also change in space and time, but always will remain part of the urban setting. He also remarks that urban settings are changing with time: open spaces arise, vacant land is re-developed. Indeed this is an important question when we look at the demographic development of Europe and North America.

In his message Nasr comes back to the problem of gender dimensions and competition for land in situations where urban agriculture is legalized and supported in a city - a question raised by Diana Lee-Smith in the last session. He admits that this is a crucial point, but feels the need to examine this beyond the gender dimension. He asked whether there is any evidence for such a development and if yes what has been done? But he also asked the provocative question "so what" .. when this is part of the dynamic? Diana Lee-Smith strongly reacted to this question by vividly pointing out the situation of poor farmers in developing countries. If they (or at least many of them) did not have the possibility to do farming the families would starve. Market development is not the only solution to better access to food for the poor. If they do not have the necessary purchasing power, subsistence production will still remain essential.

Malongo Mlozi from Tanzania reports on how intervention can negatively affect urban farmers: a case where 3,000 hectares in a peri-urban area were put aside for urban dwellers to do farming had no positive but rather negative consequences for the urban poor. They couldn't afford to travel to the areas and at the same time the programme was targeted to lessen the extent to which urban dwellers can farm in town to increase their earnings. Obviously monitoring and evaluation of interventions are urgently needed.

Oliver Ginsberg reacts to Diana Lee-Smith with the argument "Insisting that UA land is mainly needed by the poor for food production however may prove to help neither the poor nor will it help to promote UA. .....If we don't take into our arsenal of arguments the whole set of aspects of UA's contribution to sustainability we will probably fail to meet our goal. All the other important aspects of UA, like social interaction and integration, community identity, a place for children to play, grow up and learn about human-nature interaction, improvement of local ecological conditions etc. will get lost on the way". This leads into a general reflection on "productivity" of production systems- a topic that has often been discussed in the past. Oliver Ginsberg points out that low-capital (or would we rather say low external input?) systems have proved to be much more productive than industrialized monocultural systems - even without taking sustainability indicators into consideration. Obviously there are different country experiences guiding the arguments. Seven reports from seven different locations (Latin America, The Philippines, Russia, Tanzania, Poland, Germany and Austria) give us an insight into practical experience on the ground.

Marielle Dubbeling regrets missing municipal voices in the conference and therefore gives some good examples from Latin America, how to integrate UPA into municipal planning policies. Some key issues are:

1) the creation of markets for local produce
2 ) the promotion of (organic) agricultural and forestry use of vacant municipal, state and private (peri)urban lands
3) recycling of all "green wastes" into compost. It is proposed that in future a certain percentage of the tax that is collected by the Municipal Cleaning Office for collection of wastes will be re-invested in the municipal UA programme.
4) in the newly granted "Permits for new constructions", it is established that the vegetable material that is discarded will have to be used in the composting project.
5) inclusion of UPA in zoning plans.

Joseph Batac reports on practical experience from the Philippines. He refers to local policies and mainly to the integration of urban waste management into UPA-activities. He says that the level of social acceptance assures the sustainability of urban agriculture. The process and content of the activities are driven more by the need and desires of the community residents as represented by their leaders. The role of the mayor is to provide interventions, a service to the people to support their needs.

Oleg Moldakov clarifies on the question that was raised in the last weekly summary on how the "Office for development of a gardening in St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region" was created. He points out the difficult negotiations between the different stakeholders. For details please read his contributions. In Russia tradition seems to support gardening strongly. The manifold awards for gardeners, subsidies for transport and a "Day of the Gardener" bear witness to this.

Petra Jacobi from Tanzania reports on the "Strategic Urban Development Planning Framework - Draft for the City of Dar es Salaam". She warns against considering UPA in isolation, and is in favour of integrating this topic in a broader context of sustainable urban development. The Sustainable Cities Programme in Dar es Salaam could to bring together Stakeholders on policy level to think about a vision for the city (Strategic Urban Development Plan) including UPA.

Anne Bellows, in her response to Marielle Dubbeling, says, "it appears necessary to have larger scale legislation that can buttress local activity and local codes" instead of only municipal regulation which may be hampered by elections and change of power groups.

Franz Greif pointed out the high crisis-relief potential of UPA (a fact that also O. Moldakov admitted for Russia) by referring to importance of UPA during World War II. If Franz Greif were to include illegal waste disposal sites in cities under "blight areas", we would see some evidence for many countries especially in Africa and Latin America. Agricultural use of land prevents mutilation and abuse of inner-city areas. People tend to hesitate about disposing of waste etc.

According to Oliver Ginsberg’s experiences in Berlin, the best policy in terms of securing UA is to help urban farmers and gardeners to organise themselves and form powerful coalitions which can exercise political power. This is possibly true for all over the world.

For practitioners, it is worthwhile reading these contributions again to learn how UPA can be integrated into planning in practice and the advantages for municipalities of doing so. We might also be able to use more such examples to understand different approaches in different locations. For a further summary we would like to refer to our esteemed colleague Leo van den Berg and his last contribution on Friday.

Finally we would like to thank you again for you active participation and we are looking forward to next week’s discussion.

Your Moderators UPA-Planning


AUP-Grupo de Planificación/Breve Resumen/2ª Sesión /1ª Semana

En su primera contribución, Mirtha Paz Castro de Perú subraya la importancia de la legislación para la agricultura orgánica en áreas urbanas y periurbanas. Además, señala la enorme pérdida de tierras agrícolas por ejemplo alrededor del Aeropuerto de Lima, y considera necesario proteger el empleo de esas áreas para fines agrícolas. Espera que esta conferencia contribuya a esclarecer la manera de conseguirlo sin repetir problemas que enfrentan en otros lugares.

Joe Nasr presentó un interesante artículo al comenzar la semana, que guarda estrecha relación con lo que manifiesta Mirtha Paz Castro. El artículo se titula "La agricultura como un uso sostenible de los terrenos urbanos" y se refiere, entre otras cosas, a los conflictos entre la agricultura y la expansión de las áreas edificadas. Nasr intenta presentarlo bajo una nueva perspectiva, denominándolos fenómenos normales antes que conflictos, se trata de transacciones, intercambios, adaptaciones. La agricultura es un uso de los terrenos urbanos tanto como lo son la industria, la vivienda y el comercio. Así como ocurren cambios en otras actividades que emplean el terreno urbano, también las actividades agrícolas están cambiando en espacio y tiempo, pero siempre seguirán siendo parte del entorno urbano. Nasr comenta asimismo que la composición de los entornos urbanos están cambiando con el tiempo, surgen espacios abiertos, se modifica el desarrollo de los terrenos baldíos. Esta es, en efecto, una importante cuestión si observamos el desarrollo demográfico de Europa y Norteamérica.

En su mensaje, Nasr vuelve a hacer hincapié en el tema de las dimensiones de género y la competencia por la tierra cuando la agricultura urbana es legalizada y apoyada en una ciudad - una cuestión planteada por Diana Lee-Smith en la última sesión. Nasr admite que se trata de un punto esencial y considera necesario examinarlo más allá de la dimensión de género. Formula la pregunta de si existe evidencia de tal evolución y, en tal caso, pregunta qué medidas se han tomado al respecto. Pero también añade una provocativa pregunta: ¿"Y qué … si esto forma parte de la dinámica?" Diana Lee-Smith reaccionó enérgicamente ante esta pregunta refiriéndose con vehemencia a la situación de los agricultores pobres en los países en desarrollo. Si ellos (al menos la mayoría de ellos) no tienen la posibilidad de practicar la agricultura no podrán sustentar a sus familias. El desarrollo del mercado no es la única solución para mejorar el acceso de los pobres a los alimentos. Si carecen de la capacidad adquisitiva necesaria, la producción de subsistencia seguirá siendo esencial.

Malongo Mlozi de Tanzania se refirió a la manera en que una intervención puede afectar negativamente a los agricultores urbanos. Un caso en el que se reservaron 3.000 hectáreas en el área periurbana para fines agrícolas destinados a los residentes urbanos no tuvo un resultado positivo sino negativo en los sectores urbanos pobres. Estos se veían imposibilitados de viajar a estas áreas, y a la vez el programa estaba orientado a disminuir el grado en que los residentes urbanos pueden practicar la agricultura en la ciudad para aumentar sus ingresos. Es evidente que existe una urgente necesidad de monitoreo y evaluación de las intervenciones.

Oliver Ginsberg responde a Diana Lee-Smith con el argumento de que "Insistir en que las tierras para la AU son necesarias principalmente para los pobres, para su producción alimentaria, sin embargo, puede no resultar beneficioso ni para los pobres ni para la promoción de la AU…Si no incluimos en nuestro arsenal de argumentos el conjunto total de aspectos de la contribución de la AU a la sostenibilidad, probablemente fracasemos en nuestro objetivo. Todos los demás aspectos importantes de la AU, como la interacción y la integración social, identidad comunitaria, un espacio para que los niños jueguen, crezcan y aprendan sobre la interacción humana, mejoramiento de las condiciones ecológicas locales, etc. se perderán en el trayecto." Esto lleva a una reflexión general sobre "productividad" de sistemas de producción - un tema que ha sido frecuentemente discutido en el pasado. Oliver Ginsberg señala que los sistemas de bajo capital (¿o habría que decir más bien bajos insumos externos?) han probado ser mucho más productivos que los sistemas monoculturales industrializados - incluso sin tomar en cuenta indicadores de sostenibilidad.

Obviamente existen diferentes experiencias en los países para guiar los argumentos. Siete informes de siete lugares diferentes (Latinoamérica, las Filipinas, Rusia, Tanzania, Polonia, Alemania y Austria) nos dan una visión sobre la experiencia práctica en el terreno.

Marielle Dubbeling lamenta no escuchar voces municipales en la conferencia y da, por ello, algunos buenos ejemplos en Latinoamérica sobre la manera de integrar la AUP en las políticas de planificación municipal. Algunos puntos centrales son: 1) la creación de mercados para los productos locales; 2) la promoción del empleo de terrenos baldíos municipales, estatales y privados (peri)urbanos para fines de agricultura (orgánica) y silvicultura; 3) reciclado de todos los "desechos orgánicos" en compost. Se propone que en el futuro se reinvierta en el programa municipal de AU un determinado porcentaje de los impuestos recaudados por el departamento municipal de limpieza para la recolección de residuos ; 4) en los nuevos "Permisos para nuevas construcciones" se establecerá que los materiales vegetales desechados serán empleados en el proyecto de compostación y 5) inclusión de la AUP en los planes de zonificación.

Joseph Batac informa sobre una experiencia práctica en las Filipinas, refiriéndose a las políticas locales y en particular a la integración de la administración de residuos urbanos en las actividades de la AUP. Batac afirma que el nivel de aceptación social asegura la sostenibilidad de la agricultura urbana. El proceso y el contenido de las actividades son accionados más por la necesidad y los deseos de los residentes comunitarios que representados por sus líderes. El papel del alcalde es proporcionar intervenciones, un servicio a las personas como apoyo a sus necesidades.

Oleg Moldakov clarifica la cuestión planteada en el último resumen semanal sobre la manera en que fue creada la "Oficina de desarrollo de la horticultura en la Región de San Petersburgo y Leningrado". Señala las difíciles negociaciones entre los distintos grupos de interés. Para mayores detalles les invitamos a leer sus contribuciones. En Rusia la tradición parece apoyar fuertemente la horticultura. Los numerosos premios para los horticultores, subsidios para el transporte y "el Día del Horticultor" son evidencias de este apoyo.

Petra Jacobi de Tanzania informa sobre las "Estrategias de Planificación para el Desarrollo Urbano" - Proyecto para la Ciudad de Dar es Salaam". Sugiere no tratar el tema de la AUP aisladamente sino integrarlo en un contexto más amplio de desarrollo urbano sostenible. En Dar es Salaam, el Programa Sostenible para las Ciudades consiguió reunir a los grupos de interés para que contribuyeran con una visión sobre la ciudad a los fines de formulación de políticas (Plan Estratégico de Desarrollo Urbano) incluyendo la AUP. Para los ejecutores es muy aconsejable repasar esta contribución para aprender la manera en que la AUP puede ser integrada en la planificación en la práctica y cuáles son las ventajas que obtendrían las municipalidades con esta acción. Quizá se pueda presentar un mayor número de ejemplos similares para comprender diferentes enfoques en diferentes lugares.

Anne Bellows, en su respuesta a Marielle Dubbeling, dice: "Parece necesario tener una legislación de mayor escala que pueda reforzar la actividad local y los códigos locales", en lugar de contar sólo con reglamentos municipales que eventualmente pueden ser obstaculizados por las elecciones y los cambios de grupos de poder.

Franz Greif hizo referencia al alto potencial de alivio de crisis que posee la AUP (un hecho que también admitió O. Moldakov para el caso de Rusia), refiriéndose a la importancia de la AUP durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Si Franz Greif incluyera a los depósitos ilegales de desperdicios en las ciudades entre las "áreas deterioradas" veríamos alguna evidencia para muchos países, especialmente en Africa y Latinoamérica. El uso agrícola de la tierra previene el descuido y el abuso de las áreas urbanas. La gente se ve más inhibida a tirar residuos, etc.

Según las experiencias de Oliver Ginsberg en Berlín, la mejor política en términos de asegurar la AUP es ayudar a los agricultores y horticultores urbanos a organizarse y a formar coaliciones poderosas que puedan ejercer poder político. Esto, probablemente, es válido para todo el mundo.

Para los ejecutores es muy aconsejable repasar esta contribución para aprender la manera en que la AUP puede ser integrada en la planificación en la práctica y cuáles son las ventajas que obtendrían las municipalidades con esta acción. Quizá se pueda presentar un mayor número de ejemplos similares para comprender diferentes enfoques en diferentes lugares. Para un resumen más detallado, permítannos remitirlos a nuestro estimado colega Leo van den Berg y su última contribución del viernes pasado.

Finalmente, queremos agradecerles a todos por su activa participación y esperamos con interés la discusión de la semana próxima.

Sus Moderadores AUP-Planificación


Groupe de discussion sur l’AUP et la Planification Urbaine/ Résumé /Session 2 /Semaine 1

Dans une première contribution, Mirtha Paz Castro (Pérou) souligne l’importance de la législation pour l’agriculture organique dans les zones urbaines et péri-urbaines. Elle mentionne également la réduction des terres agricoles notamment autour de l’aéroport de Lima et elle ajoute qu’il est indispensable de préserver ces zones et de les garder à des fins agricoles. Elle espère que cette conférence permettra de clarifier les moyens de mettre en œuvre ces projets en évitant de reproduire les problèmes auxquels ont été confrontées d’autres personnes.

Joe Nasr nous a envoyé un document intéressant en tout début de semaine, présentant de grandes similitudes avec les propos de Mirtha Paz Castro. Le document s’intitule "L’agriculture, moyen d’utilisation durable des terres urbaines", document traitant, entre autres thèmes, des conflits entre l’agriculture et l’extension des zones de construction.

Nasr adopte un point de vue nouveau, en considérant ce phénomène comme “normal ” – ce ne sont pas des conflits, mais des transactions, des échanges, des adaptations. L’agriculture utilise les terres urbaines tout comme l’industrie, le logement et le commerce. De la même manière que des changements se produisent dans le cadre d’autres utilisations des terres urbaines, les activités agricoles évoluent également dans l’espace et dans le temps, mais elles feront toujours partie intégrante de l’environnement urbain. Il souligne également le fait que les environnements urbains évoluent avec le temps, les espaces ouverts se développent, des terres vacantes réapparaissent.

En effet, il s’agit d’une question essentielle lorsque l’on considère le développement démographique en Europe et en Amérique du Nord. Dans son message, Nasr revient aux problémes de genre pour l’accès à la terre lorsque l’agriculture urbaine est légalisée et encouragée dans une ville - une question soulevée par Diana Lee-Smith au cours de la dernière session. Il reconnaît qu’il s’agit d’un aspect essentiel mais estime de dépasser la dimension du genre. Il demande si ce phénomène a été documenté et si oui, ce qui a été fait? Mais il pose également la question " et alors ?» , si ceci fait partie de la dynamique du système?

Diana Lee-Smith réagit avec véhémence à cette question en insistant sur la situation des agriculteurs pauvres dans les pays en développement. Si ces derniers (ou du moins une majorité d’entre eux) n’avaient pas la possibilité de faire de l’agriculture, leurs familles mourraient de faim. Le développement du marché ne constitue pas la seule manière de fournir aux pauvres un meilleur accès aux produits alimentaires. S’ils n’ont pas le pouvoir d’achat nécessaire, la production de subsistance restera une nécessité.

Malongo Mlozi (Tanzanie) nous parle des répercussions négatives que l’interventionnisme peut avoir sur les agriculteurs urbains. Il s’agit d’un cas où l’attribution de 3 000 hectares aux résidents urbains à des fins agricoles en zone péri-urbaine a plutôt eu des conséquences négatives pour les pauvres urbains. Ils n’avaient pas les moyens de se rendre jusqu’à ces zones réservées, et simultanément le programme a été orienté de façon à restreindre les activités agricoles sources de revenus pour les résidents urbains. Le contrôle et l’évaluation des interventions s’avèrent indispensables.

Oliver Ginsberg réagit aux propos de Diana Lee-Smith : " Ce n’est pas parce que l’on affirme que les pauvres ont majoritairement besoin des terres de l’AU pour la production alimentaire que cela va constituer un secours quelconque pour eux, ni aider aucunement à promouvoir l ‘AU... Si nous ne tenons pas compte dans notre argumentation de tous les aspects de la contribution de l’AU à la pérennité du système, nous ne pourrons sûrement pas atteindre nos objectifs. En outre, nous risquons de laisser de côté tous les autres aspects importants de l’AU, tels que l’interaction et l’intégration sociales, l’identité communautaire, le choix d’aires de jeux pour les enfants, l’apprentissage des interactions entre l’homme et la nature, l’amélioration des conditions écologiques locales, etc…".

Cela nous amène à une réflexion générale sur la “productivité " du système de production – un sujet qui a souvent fait l’objet de discussions par le passé. Oliver Ginsberg souligne que les systèmes qui utilisent peu de capital (ou disons plutôt peu de ressources externes) se sont montrés plus productifs que les systèmes industrialisés de monoculture – même sans prendre en compte les indicateurs de développement durable. Diverses expériences nationales servent de lignes directrices à notre argumentation. Des rapports de sept lieux différents (Amérique latine, Philippines, Russie, Tanzanie, Pologne, Allemagne et Autriche ) nous donnent un aperçu des expériences pratiques sur le terrain. Marielle Dubbeling regrette l’absence de témoignages des municipalités au sein de la conférence et fournit de bons exemples d’Amérique latine, sur la façon d’intégrer l’AUP dans les politiques de planification urbaine. Les principales questions sont : 1) la création de marchés pour la production locale ; 2) la promotion de l’utilisation (organique) à usage agricole et forestier des terres (péri) urbaines vacantes, locales, nationales et privées ; (3) le recyclage de tous les "déchets verts " en compost (Il a en effet été proposé qu’à l’avenir un certain pourcentage des impôts collectés par les Services Municipaux de la Voirie pour financer le ramassage des déchets pourrait être réinvesti dans le programme municipal de l’AU ) ; 4) l’intégration des déchets de substances végétales au projet de compostage, dans le cadre des "permis récemment accordés aux constructions nouvelles" ; 5) l’intégration de l’AUP dans les plans d’utilisation des sols.

Joseph Batac nous expose une expérience pratique menée aux Philippines et fait référence aux politiques locales et, en particulier, à l’intégration de la gestion des déchets urbains dans les activités de l’AUP. Selon lui, le niveau d’acceptation sociale favorise le développement durable de l’agriculture urbaine. Le développement et la teneur des activités sont davantage liés aux besoins et désirs des résidents communautaires que représentés par leurs dirigeants. Le rôle du maire est d’assurer des interventions et des services aux personnes destinés à répondre à ces besoins.

Oleg Moldakov fait le point sur la question qui a été posée au cours du résumé de la semaine dernière sur les origines de la création d’un "Organisme chargé du développement d’activités agricoles dans la région de St Pétersbourg et Léningrad". Il souligne la difficulté des négociations entre les différentes parties prenantes. Pour en savoir plus, veuillez lire sa contribution. En Russie, la tradition semble consolider les activités agricoles. Les diverses récompenses attribuées aux jardiniers, les subventions pour le transport et la création de la "Journée des jardiniers" sont là pour en témoigner.

Petra Jacobi (Tanzanie) fait un compte-rendu sur " – Cadre de planification stratégique pour le développement urbain de la ville de Dar es Salaam". Elle met en garde contre le risque d’isolation de l’AUP et suggère plutôt d’intégrer ce thème dans un contexte plus large de développement urbain durable. A Dar es Salaam, le Programme de Développement Urbain devrait amener les parties prenantes à réfléchir sur un plan politique à un projet pour la ville intégrant l’AUP (Plan de développement stratégique urbain).

Il serait utile aux participants de relire ces contributions afin de s’informer sur la façon dont, en pratique, l’AUP peut être intégrée à la planification et sur les avantages de cette intégration pour les municipalités. Nous devrions peut être utiliser davantage d’exemples pour faire comprendre les différentes approches dans les différents lieux. D’après Anne Bellows, dans sa réponse à Marielle Dubbeling, "il semble nécessaire de mettre en œuvre une législation, sur une plus grande échelle, qui puisse soutenir l’activité locale et renforcer les coutumes locales” à la place d’une simple régulation municipale susceptible de varier en fonction des élections et de changer de groupe de pouvoir.

Franz Greif souligne le fort potentiel de résolution des crises constitué par l’AUP (avis partagé par O. Moldakov pour la Russie) en se référant au rôle joué par l’AUP au cours de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Franz Greif fait allusion aux sites illégaux de stockage des déchets dans les villes sous l’appellation de "zones dégradées", et nous devrions y voir des preuves valables pour de nombreux pays notamment d’Afrique et d’Amérique latine. L’utilisation agricole des terres empêche la dégradation et l’exploitation des zones urbaines internes. Les résidents hésitent à se débarrasser de leurs déchets en ville, etc. Selon les expériences de Oliver Ginsberg à Berlin, la meilleure politique de soutien à l’AUP consiste à aider les agriculteurs et les maraîchers urbains à s’organiser et à former des coalitions puissantes qui puissent exercer le pouvoir politique. Cette conclusion peut s’appliquer à tous les pays du monde.

Pour avoir un résumé plus détaillé, nous vous renvoyons à la dernière contribution de vendredi de Leo van den Berg. Les contributions de cette semaine seront disponibles en début de semaine prochaine sur le site Internet . Pour conclure, nous aimerions vous remercier pour votre participation active et à la semaine prochaine !

Vos Modérateurs du groupe de discussion sur l’AUP et la Planification.


From: "Gerda R Wekerle" <> 
To: <
Subject: urban agriculture, planning, and politics 
Date: 09 September 2000 08:08

RE: UPA-Planning/Session2 Contribution from Gerda R. Wekerle

I would like to reinforce Oliver Ginsberg's observations about the importance of political mobilization, coalition building, and political activism as a means to institutionalize urban agriculture through urban planning or otherwise.

In cities in Canada and the U.S., vacant land tends to be viewed as land that should eventually be developed for industry, commercial uses or housing to increase the tax base and contribute to growth. When land is given over to urban agriculture it's viewed as temporary until a more profitable use comes along. In part, the use of the term, "urban agriculture" may contribute to this way of thinking, as agriculture is associated with commerce and, therefore, in competition with potential uses for the land.

Perhaps we can learn from the experiences of urban reform movements in the 19th century which convinced the public and politicians that cities should create urban parks. This was based in a wider urban reform movement that used arguments of public health, the needs of women and children, to forward its claims. It enlisted professionals and the middle class, rather than presenting parks as solely for poor and marginalized people. We need to find a concept and point of mobilization which might serve us today. Perhaps 'sustainability' which links issues and movements?

Urban agriculture, and, in particular, community gardens, in North American cities, can't rely on the planning process or enlightened planners to include them in land uses or protect them when there is contestation over the use of scarce land. The most recent issue of Community Greening Review (vol. 10, 2000) publishes an article by Pamela Kirschbaum, "Making policy in a crowded world: steps beyond the physical garden". This outlines the ways in which community gardeners in U.S. cities have engaged in the political process through building coalitions, and links with city government. Measures to preserve community gardens include nonprofit land trusts, ownership of garden sites by parks departments (thereby protecting them as parks), including community gardens in comprehensive plans, and drafting zoning ordinances to protect community gardens as open space.

An issue that I haven't seen dealt with during these discussions is how to encourage community gardens and urban agriculture on private property. In Toronto, high-rise buildings built during the 1960s and 1970s, often in the suburbs, were required to provide "landscaped open space" around the buildings. These are possible garden sites, but there are no policies and few models to encourage private land owners to make this conversion from grass to productive gardens.

In the new suburban low density housing developments which continue to be built on the edges of Toronto, often on prime agricultural land, there are no policies to encourage developers to set aside land for urban agriculture or for future community gardens, although there are requirements for public parks.

Private gardens are still predominant in Toronto. The city has instituted a few measures aimed at home gardeners: it has encouraged composting by making composters available at cost; it picks up yard wastes, composts it, and makes it available free. The city has also encouraged home owners to disconnect downspouts from the storm sewer and made rain barrels available at a low cost, thus also trying to reduce water consumption. The city has developed a campaign to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides by home gardeners, although there is no bylaw prohibiting their use, as there is in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Through yearly civic awards, the city has also encouraged the the development of front yard gardens as flower or vegetable gardens.

We have some experience and examples of how poor and marginalized urban residents have mobilized to create community gardens. We know less about how these might be preserved in the long run. And we know very little about how we might create political pressures to include land for urban agriculture in newly built suburban developments.

Gerda R. Wekerle,Professor 
Faculty of Environmental Studies 
York University 4700 
Keele Street 
North York ON M3J 1P3 
ph: (416)736-2100 ext. 22636; fax (416)736-5679 


From: "Gisèle Yasmeen" <
To: <
Subject: Contribution on UA in India 
Date: 09 September 2000 08:09

Re: UPA-Planning/Session2 Contribution from Gisèle Yasmeen

Dear UA & Urban Planning Participants,

I am a food researcher and consultant currently on contract with the International Development Research Centre's South Asia Regional Office putting together a scoping/background document on UPA in India. The report will be available soon and I will advise you all when it is released. I have found the discussions thus far very informative. (NB: Pour les participants francophones, ç'a me ferait plaisir de communiquer avec vous en français.

I'm no longer sure of the exact questions for Session 2 but understand the goal is the following:

Session 2: Identification and evaluation of needs and policies to address them.

I would like to contribute a few thoughts based on my current work on India:

SPACE: As indicated by one of the previous contributors, access to space is a critical issue - particularly in peri-urban areas. It makes one realise that times have not changed much since Milton Santos wrote L'espace partagée/Shared Space in the early '70s. An example is Delhi. Growing vegetables/fruit on the urban periphery is a very profitable industry when it comes to serving a wealthier urban clientèle.Prof. D.S. Bhupal of the Agricultural Economics Research Centre, University of Delhi has indicated that much commercially oriented peri-urban agriculture is being conducted by poor and marginal farmers who rent their land and even their bullocks thus reducing their profitability long term livelihood prospects in UPA. This is quite a contrast to the larger landowners growing vegetables for the urban market who employ migrant labour and have all the inputs, extension services etc. at their disposal. Bhupal therefore points to the importance of land reform, access to good credit etc.

The scenario described above is quite different than the "UPA activists" in, say Mumbai/Bombay who have engaged in large scale experimentation in horticulture and vermi-composting (where from what I can see India is a world leader). The successful efforts of Dr. R.T. Doshi, Kisan Mehta of Prakruti and Shantanu Shenai of the Green Cross Society have been part of a public mobilisation which has influenced city authorities when it comes to land-use and waste management.

WATER INPUTS: One interesting finding I have come across concerns the technologies used in Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad by Dr. Doshi, the Institute of Natural and Organic Agriculture etc. Given water scarcity, urban dwellers (even those in flats) are growing their crops in plastic bags, pots, 45 gallon oil drums etc. where minimal water is needed. The bottom of the container is covered in biomass (often sugar cane juicing residues). The results are spectacular: mangoes, guavas, even rice being grown successfully on the terraces of bungalows, rooftop gardens etc.

There is plenty of other information but I will stop there for now.


Gisèle Yasmeen, Ph.D. 

Research Associate University of British Columbia, 
Vancouver, BC, Canada <> <>
Principal, Agora Associates Food Research & Consulting <>


From: "Marielle Dubbeling" <
To: <
Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2000 11:29 PM 
Subject: benefit for municipalities?

Contribution from Marielle Dubbeling, Urban Management Programme (UNCHS-HABITAT /PNUD)

Let me try to give an answer to Leo vd Bergs interesting question. How do local governments politically benefit from UPA?

I like Anne Bellow's reaction to Marielle Dubbeling with her story about Polish pro-UPA city officials losing elections afterwards because they were accused that "all they thought about were carrots". I think that the 'strategic coalitions' mentioned under '1' above should take care of  providing politicians with the right arguments for supporting UPA in the  face of temptations such as making money with the land by turning all of it  into building sites. These arguments need to be kept upt-to-date all the  time. Perhaps Marielle or others could give us examples of how local  politicians have benefited (politically!) from supporting UPA.

I do not have a straightforward answer to that. I´ll attach below a series of statements made by Mayors on why they are supporting UPA (nB the WG or Working Group they refer to is an City Working group on Urban Agriculture and Food Security set up in April 2000 in Quito. The corresponding Quito declaration is available on the info market):

** Raimundo Marcelo Carvalho da Silva, Maranguape (Fortaleza): UA so far hardly has been discussed locally and there are still no public policies for it. UA in Maranguape UA is largely informal, an activity brought into the city by migrants. I now understand that UA needs to be part and parcel of municipal planning, of the master plan for urban development. I am convinced that UA was not considered by the consulting firm. I will see that it is included in our municipal planning, with people's participation in order to democratize the exercise. We already have a 12 ha pilot project with an association of retirees that we can disseminate elsewhere. UA can provide some subsistence and also generate income and jobs (floriculture). We can guarantee a market for the produce through arranging for some UA to supply our school meals program for instance. We are planning to set up an institute of permaculture in Cachoeira.

** Raul Martin Pulmar Vilchez, Villa El Salvador (Lima), Peru: We see UA as a means to improve our quality of life. We think the WG should assist us in ways to intensify production, to upscale technology adoption and to sensitize other city mayors (not only those already convinced of UA's benefits).

** Carlos Carignano, Camilo Aldao, Argentina: UA is a way to help settle people in small cities by helping them to resolve some of the problems which push them to migrate to larger cities and aggravate their problems. UA enables people to apply their capacities in a constructive way, helping them to overcome serious crises. UA is one way to overcome poverty (youth, schools, education); it helps to ensure food security. The WG should show how deficiencies and adversities of UA practices can be corrected. Camilo Aldao wishes to be considered as possible coordinator of the WG.

** Fernando Correa (in lieu of Ivan Piedra Abril), Cuenca, Ecuador : Cuenca's experience in UA is closely articulated with that of La Habana (a Cuban project leader advised the Cuenca authorities on designing its own UA program). UA's benefits are felt beyond Cuenca's city limits. Ancestral know-how was being lost; the unemployed and the low-income people rediscover their own self through engaging into UA. As a result of municipal decentralization, Cuenca is now directly responsible for managing the environment, health and traffic. We understand health as well- being and UA is a therapy against loneliness and for self-esteem. We now have 270 groups working in UA in Cuenca, while not so long ago we did not believe we could generate such a fruitful alternative. We have the will to facilitate the rescue and valuation of lost expertise. Cuenca wishes to be candidate itself to the coordinatorship of the WG. Food security is within our reach and we should target the most vulnerable groups.

** José Lisardo Montoya, El Carmen de Viboral, Colombia: Although we have had agricultural programs for some time, until now we had not taken UA seriously into account. My first move, when I return to my city, will be to initiate UA programming as soon as possible, as a city member of the WG. The WG should support the establishment of programs throughout the region. In each city, the will to pursue such initiatives must outlive that of the current mayor, if it is to be sustained over time. Other mayors will need to be sensitized to the role of UA for food security.

* Jorge de la Vega Membrillo, Texcoco, Mexico: We leave this seminar, strongly motivated to pursue our work in UA. Since the La Habana meeting last year (AGUILA assembly in Nov99), we have been trying to use this concept of UA to protect peri-urban agriculture against urban expansion. We see that one needs not to conflict with the other and that it is important to integrate one with another. We submit our candidacy for the coordinating role of the WG.

** Washington Ipenza, Villa del Triunfo (Lima), Peru: The municipal government's structure, in its human development department, has UA as a distinct sector of activity (we have an agronomist and promoters). Our activities in UA concentrate on resolving the following problems: commercialization, raise the competitiveness or quality of products, reduce local production costs, keep local wealth circulation local, diagnose discrepancies between supply and demand and correct these (production, marketing, processing), strengthen groups involved through promoting associations; when formulating norms, consider also small retailers as an important stakeholder group, not only the producers.

I know that in 2 of the above cases, the leading party (Texcoco) and the Mayor of Cuenca have been re-elected over the last 2 months, partly because of their efforts to improve the quality of life and local economic development, efforts of which UPA was a part. They certainly have not lost because they were only dealing with carrots or guinee-pigs. We´ll however take the question up in our future work and include it in the monitoring of the project impacts, as more information can provide us with insight in how to discuss UPA with local governments.

On the comments of Anne Bellows regarding the termination of municipal support when the local governments changes after elections, of course that is reality. Such as it is reality that NGO´s might quit UPA support when their external funding for is halted.

In generally, the governments UMP is working with are quit aware of this. To such an extent that in Cuenca for example assuring the political sustainability is one of the objectives of the municipal UPA programme itself. We find 2 distinct strategies to strengthen this sustainability: a) Forming of associations between the Municipality and other urban ("more permanent") actors (NGOs, research institutes, schools, community organisations). b) Institutionalizing the UPA programme in laws or inclusion in strategic land use plans. Laws and City Strategic Plans are less likely to be totally change when the government changes after elections.

We however would welcome other experiences (Dar es Salaam ?) to understand how "political sustainability" of UPA can be assured

Thanks again for the stimulas to respond to your questions and with all participant address these important aspects.


Marielle Dubbeling 

Asesora en Agricultura Urbana PGU-ALC/IPES 
Dirección: Garcia Moreno 751 entre Sucre y Bolivar Casilla 17-01-2505 
Tel./fax 593-2-583-961, 282-361/364/371 


From: "Eugènio Manuel Bilstein de Menezes de Sequeira" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, September 11, 2000 9:53 AM

UPA-Planning/session2 Contribution from Eugènio Manuel Bilstein de Menezes de Sequeira, reaction to Boywer-Bower and Fraser

Dear participants of UPA-planning group 

My name is Eugénio Sequeira. I am a soil scientist and land use planning expert.

 I do not agree with the comment of Tanya Bower Bowers comments pointed that UA reduced ground water recharge. Comparing with forest certainly, but we are comparing paved - urban areas with UA areas with vegetation, The UA soils received a lot of organic matter, have high infiltration rate. I agree with the demand of ground water, and also on nitrate pollution, but the sewage from slams also increase nitrate level and ground water salinity. The same for erosion and catastrophic floods. Paved areas increase the probability os floods downstream. The areas covered with vegetation, normally avoid runoff, and sediment transport, so, erosion is not a problem of UA areas. I agree with the comments and all the suggestions of Evan Fraser 

All the best 

Eugénio Sequeira


From: Tanya Bowyer-Bower <>
Sent: Monday, September 11, 2000 7:22 PM
Subject: environmental implications of UPA re planning

UPA-Planning/session2 Tanya Bowyer-Bower answer to Fraser & Sequeira

- Evan Fraser's comments of 8/9/00, and
- Eugenio Sequeira's comments of 11/9/00,
- and emphasising the need for environmental implications to be incorporated into future UPA policy and planning:

Below is part of what I have already contributed to the Health And Environment discussion group of this conference (31/8/00), which I now raise here as a planning and policy issue with regard to the above comments:

Why land-environmental impacts of UA should be accommodated in planning and policy considerations of UPA, illustrated by the Harare case study:

[Proviso: of course not every environment is going to respond the same as the Harare case study, but every environment will undergo a 'behaviour change' when one land use substitutes for another, the nature of which can probably be determined by a simple Environmental Impact Assessment study, and so my point is that the need to manage positively potential physical environmental impacts should be part of UPA planning policy, and what form this should take in any one city could be determined by a simple and appropriate EIA study of some sort.]

i) Because in Zimbabwe, the land area of Harare is 55,900ha, 41% of which is vegetated open space land (of course to greater and lesser extents - but note not paved, etc.), of which in 1994 (the last time this was measured – the practice is considerably more widespread today), 33.5% was being cultivated. - i.e. a significant land area in the city.

ii) Because it is reasons of a negative land-environment impact (e.g. soil erosion, causing a sedimentation of the cities water bodies, etc) that were given by the city council for actively, consistently and persistently trying to ban the activity (as recorded in the minutes of the meetings of the city council going back over the last 30 years or so - their efforts were to slash crops prior to harvesting – but their slashing was never complete due, amongst other things, to a lack of city council resources, which is why such widespread cultivation persisted both before independence in 1980 and since, despite all the efforts of the authorities to put a stop to it). These reasons of negative land-environment impact, however, were based largely on conjecture rather than field research. Hence our study into the actual environmental impact of UA:

An outline of the findings of our research into the impact of UA on the land-environment:

75% of the land area cultivated was for maize (the main subsistence crop). A further 15% was sweet potatoes (the remainder mostly green beans, tomatoes, and a variety of others). All cultivation was using direct rainfall input (plus storm runoff) only as its water supply. A variety of techniques were used to compare land infiltration rates and land erosion rates on each soil type under each crop type in Harare by comparing measures of these factors for non- cultivated vacant city land and comparing these with the same measures for cultivated city land.

In summary, our research determined that UA decreased land infiltration by 18-50% (depending upon soil type and cultivation technique used). This meant that groundwater recharge in the vicinity of the city was being affected.

It was also determined that the UA was increasing land surface runoff by as much as 7 times (depending upon soil type and cultivation technique used). This meant, for example, that there were instances of storm sewers being unable to cope with the inundation of runoff during rainfall events and thus flooding resulting in areas where UA was taking place which would not have occurred if the vacant land had been left uncultivated, etc.

UA also increased the sediment load of surface runoff very significantly (by 100% - 2000% depending upon soil type and cultivation technique used). Where the runoff drained into a water course or water body (such as a stream, storm sewer, or reservoir), this water course or water body thus became more liable to siltation, than if the UA had not been taking place.

Importantly, our research determined further, however, that simple indigenous water and soil conservation measures (such as the use of ridges and furrows, contour bunding, avoiding cultivating the steepest slopes, reducing cultivation plot length, etc), if they had been implemented, could have mitigated much of even the worst of these effects.

In Harare, however, with the cultivation being illegal, there was no technical support or guidance available for the cultivators, and the uncertainties of any future meant little incentive by the farmers to invest more labour than was necessary for a quick harvest.

This information is crucial in suggesting what type of action the planners need to incorporate into their plans for accommodating UPA in a city – in terms of: - what type of land should best be targeted, - what type of cultivation practices should best be targeted, - the advantages of a defined tenure over the land for the cultivators, - the advantages of agricultural extension services being available to support the cultivators, etc., to optimise the positive contribution UPA can make to any city.

I welcome feedback on i) whether other people also think that actual and potential land-environment impacts should be included in UPA planning and policy considerations, ii) if there are other examples of this being so, iii) whether where this is so, the environmental impacts are based on conjecture or actual field research.

Tanya Bowyer-Bower, 

Lecturer, researcher and consultant, 
Department of Geography
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), 
University of London,

P.S. For anyone interested, further details of our environmental impact research are given in:

Bowyer-Bower T A S and Drakakis-Smith D (1996) The needs of the urban poor versus environmental conservation: conflict in urban agriculture. Final report of ODA Project R5946.
Bowyer-Bower T A S (1996) Criticism of environmental policy for land management in Zimbabwe. Global ecology and biogeography letters, 5, 7-17.
Geographical Journal of Zimbabwe Number 28, December 1997: includes a number of papers on UA in Harare.

***** NOTE: New Telephone and Fax numbers *****
Dr T A S Bowyer-Bower, Lecturer in Geography, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H OXG. Tel Direct Line: 020-7898-4574 Switchboard: 020-7898-4000 FAX: 020-7898-4599 E_Mail:


From: "Lena Jarlov" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, September 11, 2000 10:18 PM
Subject: Need for a new planning theory

UPA-Planning/session2 contribution from Lena Jarlov

Dear participants!

I would like to discuss one of the questions in session 2: What policies allow secure use of under-utilized public lands for UPA? I think this sentence contains one of the key assumptions in modern western town-planning philosophy. namely that UPA is something that only can be given place on under-utilized land, where there are no other competing interests. And, as many contributions have shown, as something that can temporarily be located on an area, until something more important will be developed there.

I think we have to analyze the prevalent planning philosophy in order to see what basic principles it consists of. In the western industrialized world, one of the main basic assumptions for the physical planning is that most people in a town earn their living by an employment. Separate housing areas are planned, where people are supposed to reproduce themselves, relax, eat and sleep. They are supposed to buy their food in a store. They are supposed to be consumers.

But, in fact, in many parts of the world, these assumptions are false. In many cities, thousands of families have no income, hardly no money to use for consumption, no employment to go to. They have to stay in the housing area, often a densely built township, without any place to grow food or make some enterprise. But they are not consumers. They ought to be given possibilities to at least produce some food. According to these preconditions, housing areas in cities where lots of people are unemployed should be planned not only for consumption but for production. Areas for agriculture as well as other small scale production, community gardens and back yard gardens on big plots where the families could grow food in secure circumstances, without having to carry their children, tools and crops long ways.

As I have written in my paper about urban agriculture in the planning of Port Elizabeth (see the info site), the unemployment rate in PE is very high. In many townships and informal settlements, a vast majority, probably 60-90 percent, are unemployed. And this will not change within the foreseeable future. For Port Elizabeth an estimation was made 1998 of a population growth from approximately one million to 2.3 - 2.9 millions by the year 2020. At the same time the increase of the employment in the formal sector was estimated to 95 000 - 285 000 persons, depending on the economic growth rate (3% or 6%). The higher economic growth rate the larger population. That means that even with the high growth rate, the majority of the inhabitants in these townships will be without work and income.

Yet, in the comprehensive urban plan for Port Elizabeth, the same town-planning principles were used as in rich countries with low unemployment rate. The planners were struggling to get as dense housing areas as possible. Urban sprawl was seen as the same horror here as for example in the USA, where it in fact means something totally different because of the cars. In the townships of Port Elizabeth very few people own a car.

This is not simple. There are concerns about economy, sanitation etc. But I think that there is a need for a new planning theory and new concepts for towns where people have to be producers because they are unemployed. And this theory should be learnt in the planner's education. Many planners in the developing countries get their education in some western country. In the planning theory there, infrastructure is an important concept. It means communications, water and energy supply, sewerage but hardly ever food supply. If food supply was seen as an important part of the city's infrastructure, then agriculture should not have to be reduced to something that only can be given space on under-utilized areas, where no competing interests exist.

I know that this may sound idealistic, that powerful stakeholders may be conducting the development of the cities and that perhaps some of them prefer hungry people as more willing and cheap labour than less dependent urban farmers. But I think that the planners really can play a vital role by either facilitate or interfere with a certain development. Therefore the schools for planners all over the world are important places to be informed about UPA.

Greetings Lena Jarlöv 

Dalarnas forskningsråd
P.O. Box 743
79129 Falun


From: "GREIF, Franz" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 10:43 AM
Subject: Systematic of UA and PUA

UPA-Planning/session2 Contribution from Franz Greif

Dear colleagues,

because of being overburdened with the issue of Eastern European agriculture (in the context of EU-Eastern enlargement) I cannot participate in this conference as intensively as I would like to. Especially the situation in and around fast growing cities in developing countries is of highest topicality. So, what I can contribute is one more statement to the systematic of "these types" of agriculture.

Urban agriculture I understand as that primary (or open) land use which is directly related to the urban structure or a part of it. That comprises agriculturally used open space within agglomerations ("in expectation of construction"), residential areas and particularly emergency homes with gardens, and other zones with unplanned or irregular land use (by immigrants, landless, poor) inclusive all forms of subsistent "agricultural production" with or without land. Let us take this as agricultural use or use of open space "caused by the urban structure or development process". So f.i. I would classify viticulture areas as "urban agricultural" if they form part of the urban economy (example Vienna), or horticulture producing flowers in the vicinity of great cemeteries within the urban fringe. Also the wonderful example of "Tanya"-settlements around big Hungarian cities, owned by urban citizens and which are (traditionally) inhabited during spring and summer months I would range in this category.

Peri-urban agriculture up to my understanding is that (partly or completely) agriculturally used zone around cities or agglomerations which is "before" the process of urbanization, but more or less intensively influenced by the vicinity of a city. One sign for that influence is given by the differentiation of peri-urban regions by zones of "agricultural intensity". Types of peri-urban agriculture due to this definitory trial are the three inner parts of H. v. Thünens "belts of intensity", the (market oriented) horticultural zone, the former "milk and wood producing belt", and the zone of crop rotation, all three of course with variations and manifestations due to actual specialization. More or less out of primary use but part of the peri-urban land use pattern areas of landscape protection (and "city forests") can be found.

Let me add some words to Leo v.d. Bergs remarks to my meaning, that in Europe there cannot be found the American phenomenon of "urban blight areas": I think Leo v.d. Berg is right when he claims for the acknowledgement of zones of decay in European industrialised urban agglomerations. Nobody would deny the appearance of such regions in crisis - be they caused (first) by the "industrial revolution" which had huge impact on former areas of manufacturing, or by (later) steps of technological innovation. But it seems to me that the rise of these zones of decay caused by economic crises, decrease or other important changes has not been accompanied by a synchronic occupation of untouched open space in that dimension as it happened in the history of great American cities. Slums in Europe were mostly planned and constructed "as slums". Blight areas in the U.S. I understand to a great extent as (former) high standard residential and manufacturing zones which became abandoned because they got worn out - with the significant consequence of re-occupation by lower classes of the population (especially coloured). So I think the difference I mean is caused by different conditions in the U.S. and Central Europe for the access to "new land".

With my best regards to all participants - 

Franz Greif


From: Stefan Dongus <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 11:59 AM
Subject: Use of GIS for mapping UPA

Re: UPA-Planning/session2 Contribution from Stefan Dongus

Stefan Dongus submitted a paper mentioned below. This paper is available in English and Spanish soon on the infomarket. It can also be obtained by email
through, writing: submit paper Dongus English or Spanish.

Your Moderators

My name is Stefan Dongus, I am a final year student of Geography and Mathematics at the University of Freiburg in Germany. 

As a reaction to Marielle Dubbeling's questions, and to supplement the contributions of Malongo Mlozi and Petra Jacobi from Tanzania, I would like to give a technical example from Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) of one possible way to integrate urban agriculture in urban planning processes: The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for mapping urban agricultural activities and open space in cities. Probably not all participants of this discussion know about GIS. 

To keep it short: GIS is a computer software which can be used for analysing spatial data, so it is no surprise that it is a very common tool in planning institutions. For example, GIS can be used for the creation of maps (digital and paper) and the analysis of remote sensing data like satellite imagery and aerial photographs. 

A very useful feature of GIS is the possibility of map overlays. The aim of a survey which I carried out in Dar es Salaam end of 1999 was to create an inventory of all existing open spaces in Dar es Salaam's urban area that are used for vegetable production, and to visualise the results in a map. The idea for this survey was brought up by the "Urban Vegetable Promotion Project" of the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ). 

The Sustainable Cities Programme for Dar es Salaam (UNDP/HABITAT), which has as one goal "Managing Open Spaces, Hazard Land and Urban Agriculture", was also very interested in the outcome of this survey and is currently using it in the GIS department. At the time the survey was carried out, it was obviously the most detailed and comprehensive existing mapping of urban agriculture, but hopefully more cities will follow. I know from Leo van den Berg that similar mappings on the basis of high resolution satellite imagery (IKONOS) and aerial photographs are currently carried out for Bamako and Ouagadougou. In my opinion, it makes much sense to create similar digital databases on UPA for cities all around the world, provided that the planning authorities are equipped with GIS software (which is probably the case almost everywhere in the meantime). 

Once the extent and spatial distribution is known, there is a big chance to give UPA a better place in planning processes. Another effect might be that actually LOOKING at a map showing the areas where agricultural production takes place in a city raises the awareness about the role of UPA immensely. This applies particularly for cases, where it is possible to map the development and the changes over a certain period of time, as it was done for Dar es Salaam. The statistical results of the survey are that almost 650 ha of the urban area of Dar es Salaam are currently used for vegetable production on open spaces, which is equivalent to 4% of the whole surveyed area, offering employment for over 4000 farmers. From these 650 ha, 12% are privately owned land, 48% are institutionally and 40% publicly owned. Caused by growing pressure on the land through increasing population, the general tendency is a decrease in area used for open space production. Over 200 ha of agricultural open spaces vanished during the last seven years. But despite this pressure, 120 ha newly emerged. This shows the viability of urban agriculture as one survival strategy for the urban poor and gives an indication about the importance and function of open space production in the urban area of Dar es Salaam. The map showing: "Vegetable production on open spaces - Spatial changes from 1992 to 1999" and further results of the survey can be viewed at 

This link can also be found on the Information market of the Conference

Another paper concentrating on the methodology of the survey and its transferability to other cities called "Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for mapping urban agricultural activities and open space in cities" by Stefan Dongus & Axel Drescher (presented in Quito, April 2000) will be submitted to the Information market. 

Looking forward to further discussion, 

Stefan Dongus 

University of Freiburg, Germany
Institute of Physical Geography
Section on Applied Physiogeography of the Tropics and Subtropics (APT)


From: "Drescher, Axel (SDAR)" <>
To: "Urban Planning" <>
Subject: UPA-Planning/session2 Paper submissions by Jerry Kaufman & Martin Bailkey and Stefan Dongus & Axel Drescher
Date: 12 September 2000 13:28

Dear Participants of the UPA-Planning Group,

a paper submitted by Jerry Kaufman and Martin Bailey on "Farming Inside Cities: Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture in the United States" has been placed on the information market in the section The paper just announced by Stefan Dong's (Stefan Dong's & Axel Drescher "Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for mapping urban agricultural
activities and open space in cities") is already available in English in the same location.

Your Moderators


Jerry Kaufman and Martin Bailey
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Working Paper

Farming Inside Cities: Entrepreneurial Urban Agriculture in the United States


Most people think of farming as an activity occurring almost exclusively on rural land. This report, however, takes a look at cities in the
United States -especially those affected more substantially by economic changes and population losses over the past several decades-
as a new and unconventional locus for-market farming ventures. The setting for food growing in these cities is the abundant vacant
land left in the wake of people and economic activities moving from central cities to the suburbs.

The report investigates the nature and characteristics of for-market city farming, obstacles to such activities, and ways of overcoming
these obstacles. It also offers proponents of urban agriculture suggestions to advance the cause of city farming in environments where
many are either uninformed of the multiple benefits of entrepreneurial urban agriculture, disinterested, or sceptical about its durability
and longer lasting significance. Certain important groups -local, state and federal governments, local foundations, and community
development corporations- who could lessen obstacles to entrepreneurial urban agriculture, if they so choose, are also targets for
suggestions on ways they could be more proactive in support of city farming.

More than 120 people served as informants for this study. Some 70 entrepreneurial urban agriculture projects in United States cities
were found. The initiators of these projects are a very diverse group - community garden organizations, community development
corporations, neighbourhood organizations, inner-city high schools, social service organizations, church-affiliated groups, youth service
agencies, farmers with a special interest in in-city food production, university extension services, animal husbandry organizations,
homeless agencies, public housing tenants, and private sector businesses. Just as the sponsors of for-market urban agriculture
ventures varied, there were differences among the projects across several important dimensions, such as the form of urban agriculture
practiced, sources of funding, resource capacities of the responsible organizations, staffing arrangements, scale of operations, types of
production techniques used, market outlets, and locations. Detailed case studies of Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia probed the
institutional climate for urban agriculture and investigated fifteen for-market urban agriculture projects in these cities.

The study found both supporters and sceptics of entrepreneurial urban agriculture. Obstacles to such activities were generated from
the interviews conducted. These are discussed under four broad categories - site-related, government-related, procedure-related and
perception-related. Among the more prominent obstacles mentioned were site contamination, site vandalism, government and
non-profit community development group scepticism, inadequate financing, and staffing problems. Ways of overcoming these
obstacles are discussed, premised on the possibility that governments at all levels, local and national philanthropic foundations, and
community development corporations can offer stronger support for entrepreneurial urban agriculture. Actions that specific groups
could initiate to be more proactive towards the nascent movement of for-market urban agriculture are presented.


Stefan Dong's & Axel Drescher
University of Freiburg/Germany

Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for mapping urban agricultural
activities and open space in cities(originally presented at the UMP-LAC Workshop on Urban Agriculture in the 21th Century,
Quito, April 16-21, 2000).


For the purpose of mapping agricultural activities an open space in cities, the use of GIS has some obvious advantages: GIS will allow
planners to monitor changing urban food production trends more easily as cities continue to undergo rapid changes. Hall (1998)
explains major advantages of GIS in a few words: 'Geographic Information Systems are capable of integrating geographical data with
other data from various sources to provide the information necessary for effective decision making in planning sustainable
development. Typically a GIS serves both as a tool box and a database. As a tool box, a GIS allows planners to perform spatial analysis
using its geo-processing or cartographic modelling functions such as data retrieval, topological map overlay and network analysis. Of all
the geo-processing functions, map overlay is probably the most useful tool for planning and decision making - there is a long tradition of
using map overlays in land suitability analysis. Decision makers can also extract data from the database of GIS and input it into different
modelling and analysis programs together with data from other database or specially conducted surveys'. The use of GPS also proved
to be quite useful for measuring big agricultural open spaces. Even more effective is the use of remote sensing data such as aerial
photographs, and in case it is accurate enough, satellite imagery.


From: Eduardo Spiaggi
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 12:40 AM
Subject: contribution to the conference

UPA-Planning/session2 Contribution from Eduardo Spiaggi

Estimados colegas, coordinadores, y organizadores:

He venido siguiendo las discusiones y comentarios en relación a la situación de la AUP, y deseo el siguiente aporte:

Los contextos en los que se desarrolla la AUyP son muy distintos: en los países pobres del mundo en desarrollo, en general está ligada al acceso a la comida y la eventual comercialización de excedentes.

En la Argentina las primeras acciones sistemáticas de AU surgieron en el marco de un Programa nacional "Pro-Huerta" (1989-90) que fue implementado como reacción ante el aumento incesante de la pobreza urbana y la exclusión; consecuencia de los ajustes estructurales y politicas neoliberales que se aplican en nuestro país desde hace más de 2 décadas. Como primera consclusión podemos afirmar que la AU en nuestro país no surge como política de desarrollo sino como acciones para paliar efectos de la política económica.

Los decisores póliticos en general no ven a la AU como una herramienta de desarrollo local, sino más bien como señales de atraso (de lo rural como opuesto a lo urbano=progreso) dentro de las ciudades. Aunque es verdad que cada vez hay más ejemplos locales e internacionales que parecen ir revirtiendo esta tendencia. (Los casos citados por M. Dubbeling, por ej.).

Nuestra experiencia en la ciudad de Rosario, Argentina, en los últimos 3 años de trabajo nos ha demostrado que la AU enmarcada en un proyecto de desarrollo local sustentable puede ser una herramienta poderosa. Pensamos a la AU, no solo como la aplicación de tecnologías para la producción de alimentos, sino también como elemento de mejora del habitat urbano como aporte al aumento de la diversidad bio-cultural.(La AU como símbolo de integración-inclusión social). Otro punto importante es el aspecto de género: más del 65% de los participantes son mujeres, que encuentran en la AUuna puerta hacia el crecimiento personal y elevación de la autoestima.

En este proyecto trabajan 50 familias que además de obtener alimentos están comercializando excedentes (de verduras, plantas aromáticas y medicinales, y lombrices para pescadores), a través de la lombricultura se están procesando 2 toneladas año de residuos orgánicos, esperando llegar a las 5 toneladas a fin de este año. De hacerse masivas estas prácticas en una ciudad como Rosario donde 200.000 personas viven en villas miseria el impacto socio-ambiental podría ser muy positivo.

Algunos de los puntos críticos mencionados por varios autores, los encontramos también en nuestra ciudad: -una presión muy fuerte sobre el recurso suelo (hay un flujo incesante de migrantes de las zonas rurales), - en la mayoría de los casos la gente no es propietaria de las tierras con lo cual se hace difícil planificar a futuros, - las tierras utilizadas en muchos casos han sido antiguos basurales o fábricas abandonadas, con los consiguientes riesgos de contaminación.

Finalmente creo que es central el rol de la sociedad civil y la participación ciudadana, para incidir en la formulación de las políticas locales, y nacionales que reviertan las acciones desvastadoras del neolibralismo que se aplica en nuestros países donde ha quedado demostrado que crecimiento económico no es sinónimo de desarrollo social. La AU puede ser una herramienta poderosa pero en un contexto de políticas de desarrollo sustentable, sino permanecerá como simplemente como acciones paliativas a situaciones de crisis.

Eduardo Spiaggi
Centro de Estudios Ambientales
Fac. Cs. Veterinarias (UNR)
CC 166 (2170) Casilda. SFE
Tel-Fax: 54 3464 422050 423377 420077


From: "Tanya Bowyer-Bower" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 6:28 PM
Subject: cont to Q for Part 2 from UA Harare case study

UPA-Planning/session2 Contribution from Tanya Bowyer-Bower

Contribution from Tanya Bowyer-Bower to the questions set for this Part 2 of our Planning discussion based on the Harare UA case study:

The Harare UA case study is an example of what can happen to UA when it is not integrated into urban planning, and what happens when the spontaneous use of under- utilised public land is not secure but instead forbidden, and when as a result, policy for agriculture is not incorporated into urban activities:

Further details of how this has happened and what the result has been are given in two short papers of mine both published in the Geographical Journal of Zimbabwe in 1997:

"The potential for UA to contribute to urban development in Africa - dilemmas of current practice and policy."
"Conflicts for resolution and suggestions for consensus: legalising UA in Harare".
Copies of which are being posted on the infomart today.

What is needed with regard to UA in Harare are clear decisions from the authorities as to: i) who is to undertake UA ii) where it should be undertaken iii) what the potential negative and positive environmental impacts are, and knowledge of how the positive effects can be optimised, and the negative effect mitigated. What is then needed is to legislate agreed terms for UA which would need to include: a) security of tenure over use of land; b) policy on who is to be allowed to undertake UA and where; c) implementation of suitable and effective agricultural extension guidelines to limit negative environmental impacts and maximise gains.

I think Beacon Mbiba has been involved in progress with regard to some of the above, and so I look forward to further input from him into this discussion.

In my view the biggest need for UA in Harare is for it to be a self-help strategy for the urban poor vis a vis enhancing poverty reduction, enhancing self reliance, reducing dependence on state, relieving dependence on dwindling employment, buffering impacts of increasingly worthless incomes, helping to protect against rampant inflation, etc. It is obvious from contributions to the discussions that in some other cities UA probably is needed more to fulfil other goals. A clear view of the agreed goal(s) for any one case study are essential at the planning level if contributions from the practice of UPA to, for example, sustainable urban development / enhancing urban livelihoods, etc., are to be maximised - by planning, policy and management appropriate and relevant to the goal in hand.

I hope these contributions to the questions are useful. Feedback welcome.

Tanya Bowyer-Bower
Lecturer, researcher and consultant
Department of Geography
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), 
University of London,

****** NOTE: New Telephone and Fax numbers *****

Dr T A S Bowyer-Bower, Lecturer in Geography,School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),
University of London,Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H OXG.
Tel Direct Line: 020-7898-4574 Switchboard: 020-7898-4000FAX: 020-7898-4599 E_Mail:


From: "a brown" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 6:18 PM
Subject: Planning - Commercialisation of UPA

UPA-Planning/session2 Contribution from Allison Brown

My name is Allison Brown. I am a horticulturist who has been working in UPA for over 20 years, primarily in Asia and the USA. Most recently I have been studying local market structures for commercial UPA. I believe that some of the most profound and lasting effects planners can have on UPA are to be seen in their role as regulators of the development and management of marketing channels for local products. This power is exercised at the national, regional, municipal and neighbourhood levels. Because planners are often unaware of the indirect consequences of their actions, the effect of planning is too often negative. In the name of modernity, sanitation, efficiency and beauty, planners make seemingly beneficial decisions which result in the strangulation of trade in the Market Garden Zone surrounding a city. Strangulation of trade has negative effects on the economy and food supply of the community. Growers leave agriculture. Neighbourhoods are deprived of sources of fresh produce. Brokers are left in control of the market. Product availability and range go down, prices in some neighbourhoods go up. There are at least 16 ways of trading horticulture products, some of which are only possible when producers are physically near consumers. Market gardening is most successful at providing the widest range of products at the most competitive prices when growers have easy access to as many market channels as possible. Zoning, trade licensing and the management of physical market structures are critical to most market channels, bringing them into the purview of planners. I will gladly extend this discussion if participants in this conference are interested in exploring aspects of commercial UPA.