Contributions to the Discussion

Contributions AUGUST 21 - 24, 2000

From: Berg, dr. L.M. van den []
Sent: 22 August 2000 17:32
To: ''

Dear fellow-participants,

Let me try and propose some short (how difficult!) answers to the questions of Session One:

1(a). Does farming have a place in urban land-use planning?
Yes, but only in as far as such planning includes some kind of 'green belt' concept. Apart from earmarking such 'no urbanization' zones, urban planners tend to exclude agriculture from their terms of reference. The discussion paper provides good reasons why this should and could change, but present-day reality is, that urban planners have no constructive ideas about agricultural activities within around the city. They consider allotment gardening as 'recreation', animal husbandry as 'pets' and farms around the city as 'future urban areas'.

1(b). How does (urban and peri-urban) farming contribute to sustainable city development?
By providing jobs and / or food, ornamental plants and amenity (managed open space, fresh air) for the urban residents. In addition, if properly carried out, it could also help controlling floods, limit soil erosion, educate urban people about food production, recycle urban waste as well as CO2-gaz, etc. These are all functions that would otherwise involve long-distance transport. In order to contribute to sustainable city devlopment UPA needs to be more than just agriculture that happens to be in or next to built-up areas.

2(a). Where do UPA activities concentrate?
In and around the urban areas, respectively.

2(b). Why are they where they are?
Urban agriculture tends to be carried out on urban land that is not immediately needed or suitable for urban development (buildings and transportation). These include areas liable to (seasonal) flooding, areas zoned for public open space, land reserves along roads and railway lines for future widening, speculative land (to fetch higher prices for urban development). It depends on the determination of land owners (including governments) to get the maximum surface areas for construction and to develop and maintain public open space (parks), whether little or much land remains for urban agriculture. Soils are not important as UPA tends to generate 'man-made soils'. Likewise, water supply is hardly a problem as we are most frequently dealing with river valleys ('liable to flooding'). Almost by definition, markets are very near for UPA. To a large extent, UA (less so for peri-urban) emerges where land developers are facing difficulties.

Thesis: For UA to be sustainable it is essential that the farmers do not own the land; for PUA it is much better if they do!

3. What impact does UPA have on its neighbours?
It depends on how these agricultural activities are carried out, but provided it does not involve a lot of spraying, noise, bad smell and ugly buildings adjacent urban users tend to appreciate it (the 'amenity function' of UPA) and often willing to support the farmers against urban developers which would turn this nice viwe from the window or nearby pocket of quietness and fresh air into yet another building. Apart from such residential neighbours (especially apartment blocks) institutional or industrial land uses are also good neighbours. In their case not because of this 'amenity' but because UPA would give them scope for expansion if need be. UPA is a 'soft' landuse in the competition for urban land by different functions. It can, however, occasionally become very 'hard' for non-economic reasons provided these farmers have organized themselves and form a strategic alliance with surrounding residents (a good example of the latter are the allotment gardens on prime urban development land just north of The Hague Central Station).


Leo van den Berg
ALTERRA, Wageningen-UR

From: Marielle Dubbeling []
Sent: 22 August 2000 18:42
Subject: urban plannig-session1

Re: UPA-Planning / session1 / contribution from Marielle Dubbeling

My name is Marielle Dubbeling, Urban Agriculture Adviser and co-ordinating a Latin American and Caribbean Programme on Urban Agriculture and Feeding the Cities, aimed at working with local governments. The programme is carried out and financed by the Urban Management Programme (HABITAT / UNDP), IDRC-CFP and IPES (Peru).

Mi nombre es Marielle Dubbeling, Asesora en Agricultura Urbana y coordinando un Programa Regional sobre Agricultura Urbana y Alimentacion de las Ciudades de America Latina y El Caribe. El grupo meta incluye principalmente las ciudades y gobiernos locales. El Programa esta ejecutado por el Programa de Gestion Urbana (HABITAT / PNUD), IDRC-CFP (Canada) y IPES (Peru).

I would like to start discussing the first question placed by Axel Drescher: Does agriculture has a place with urban planning and development?

Quisiera empezar discutir la primera pregunta puesto por Axel Drescher: Hay un lugar para la agricultura dentro de la planificacion y el desarrollo urbano?

In Latin America, urban planning is often based on planning of the municipal territory, that means its urban, peri-urban and rural terrritory within municipal boundaries. Still many municipalities and even capital cities have access to a high percentage of agricultural land, mainly in peri-urban and rural areas:
- Municipality of Montevideo-Uruguay: 30 % agricultural land
- Metropolitan District of Quito-Ecuador: 60%
- Municipality of Curaca-Brazil: 80 %

However equally high is the potential of agricultural use of inner urban land (use of vacant and sub-utilised spaces):
- within urban area Santiago de los Caballeros- Dominican republic: 30%
- within Quito´s urban area: 40%

In the socio-economic context of descentralisation, of economic crisis (Ecuador), of natural disasters (Honduras), more and more municipalities are placing emphasis on urban food security (production for self-consumption) and employment generation (prodution for export) and acknowledge the potential role of UPA in this context.

The Municipality of Quito for example is presently investigating how to include UPA in its Strategic Development Plan Quito 2020 (and thus in its urban planning). The Municipality of Texcoco (Mexico) created in 1997 a Department for Rural Development, supporting agricultural production projects as to give new value to agricultural land use and decrease sale of land for urban construction. The Municipality of Cuenca- Ecuador started in 1998 a Municipal programme on Urban Agriculture, with the objective to promote local economic development and citizens participation in environmental management. (Summaries of the Texcoco and Cuenca experiences are availabale in English and Spanish at the conference information market).

Related points for discussion:

1) However, if we use their territorial concept of planning, then we should talk about agricultural activities (including livestock) at municipal level (including urban, peri-urban and rural zones). Or in other words, we might need to talk rather about municipal agriculture than urban agriculture! And what consequences does that have for its integration in urban planning??

2) If we talk about agricultural use of urban land (inner city) of course we are faced with the conflict of economic competition for land use. Agricultural land use however has social and ecological benefits that are scarcely given a monetary value and a city often has many areas unsuitable for construction (slopes, land under electricity lines) or available for temporary agricultural use (sites that will be constructed in 2 or 5 years time). Also a trend can be seen that more and more "natural areas" within a city are used in a multifunctional way, linking agricultural and recreational uses (river banks, urban panks).

I would like to discuss what land areas with the inner city territory are most suitable and least competitive for agricultural land use?

En America Latina, muchas veces la planificacion urbana se base en la planificacion del territorio municipal, o en otras palabras el territorio urbano, peri-urbano y rural dentro del territorio municipal. Hoy en dia muchas municipalidades y ciudades capitales tienen acceso a un porcentaje alta de suelos agricolas, principalmente dentro de la zona peri-urbana y rural:
- Municipalidad de Montevideo-Uruguay: 30 % suelo agricola
- Distrito Metropolitano de Quito-Ecuador: 60%
- Municipalidad de Curaca-Brasil: 80 %

Sin embargo, distitos estudios muestran tambien el potencial del uso agricola de suelo intra-urbano (uso de los espacios vacantes y sub-utilizados):
- dentro del area urbano de Santiago de los Caballeros- Republica Dominicana: 30%
- dentro del area urbano de Quito: 40%

En el contexto socio-economico de la decentralisacion, de la crisis economica (Ecuador), y de los desastres naturales (Honduras), mas y mas municipios buscan la seguridad alimentaria urbana (produccion para el autoconsumo) y la generacion de ingreso y empleo (produccion para la exportacion) y reconocen el rol potencial de la Agricultura Peri Urbana para esto.

Por ejemplo, el Municipio de Quito esta investigando como incluir la Agricultura Urabana en su Planificacion Urbana y el Plan Estrategico Quito 2020. El Ayuntamiento de Texcoco (Mexico) formo en 1997 el Departamento de Desarrollo Rura, apoyando proyectos productivos con el objetivo de dar un valor agregado al uso agricola de sus suelos y disminuir la venta de terrenos agricolas para su construccion. La Municipalidad de Cuenca creo en 1998 un Programa Muncipal de Agricultura Urbana, con el objetivo de promover el desarrollo economico local y promover la participacion de la ciudadania en la gestion ambiental. (Resumenes de las experiences de Texcocoy Cuenca estan disponibles en el mercado de informacion)

Puntos relativos para su discusion:

1) Si hablamos del concepto municipal de la planificacion, deberiamos hablar de actividades agricolas y pecuarias a nivel municipal (incluyendo sus zonas urbanas, peri-urbanas y rurales)?
O mas bien dicho: talves tengamos que hablar de agricultura municipal y no de agricultura urbana? Y que consecuencias tendra este concepto nuevo para la integracion de la agricultura dentro de la planificacion urbana?

2) Si hablamos del uso agrcola de suelos intra-urbanos, nos vemos enfrentado con el conflicto de competition economica del uso de suelo. No obstante, el uso agricola de suelo tienen beneficios sociales y ecologicas y muy pocas veces se contribuye un valor monetario a estos beneficios. Ademas una ciudad dispone de mucho terreno no apto para la construccion (laderas, terreno de bajo de las lineas de electricidad) y disponible para su uso agricola temporal (terrenos que seran construidos dentro de los proximos 2 o 5 anos). Finalmente se ve la tendencencia de que mas y mas "areas naturales" son usado en forma multifuncional, vinculando el uso productivo con el uso recreacional (terrenos a lado de rios, parques urbanos)

Quisera discutir con ustedes que espacios / terrenos intra- urbanos seran lo mas apto y menos competitivo para su uso agricola?

Saludos cordiales,

Marielle Dubbeling

Marielle Dubbeling
Asesora en Agricultura Urbana (IPES) Programa de Gestion Urbana, Coordinación Regional para América Latina y El Caribe (PGU-ALC / CNUAH-HABITAT / PNUD)
Urban Managment Programme, regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (UMP-LAC / UNCHS-HABITAT / UNDP)
Dirección: Garcia Moreno 751 entre Sucre y Bolivar Casilla 17-01-2505 Quito-Ecuador
Tel. / fax 593-2-583-961, 282-361/364/371

From: Gunther Merzthal []
Sent: 22 August 2000 23:21
Subject: Pregunta

Re: UPA-Planning / session1 / Question by Gunther Merzthal related to the contibution of Marielle Dubbeling

Estimados amigos

Dear friends

Mi nombre es Gunther Merzthal, y formo parte del Programa de Gestion Ambiental del IPES (Peru).

My name is Gunther Merzthal and I am a member of the Environment Management Program of IPES (Peru).

En la intervencion de Marielle Dubbeling se menciona la zona intra-urbana. Lo que no tengo claro es el concepto de zona intra-urbana. Cuando llamamos a una zona periurbana o intra-urbana?. Alguno de ustedes podria ayudarme con este concepto.

In the Marielle Dubbeling´s intervention the intra-urban area is menctioned. I don´t understand at all the concept "intra-urban area". What is the difference between this concept and the "peri-urbana zone" concept?. Could some of you help me with this concept?

Saludos cordiales

Gunther Merzthal
Programa de Gestion Ambiental
Instituto de Promocion de la Economia Social - IPES
Calle Carlos Krundiek 325. Urb. Santa Catalina. Lima 13 Peru
Telafax: (511) 4751325 - 4751690 - 4757173 - 2240296. Extension 110

From: Nadine Dulac []
Sent: 23 August 2000 11:01
Subject: contribution to discussion group on planning UPA

RE: UPA-Planning / session1 / Contribution from Nadine Dulac

At WASTE, we are involved in different projects related to urban organic waste management. In Bamako and Ouagadougou, West Africa, with other partners, we are exploring and developing effective and operational linkages between the urban and peri urban agricultural and urban waste management sectors through appication of urban organic waste products in agricultural production (project title: Potentials of Development of Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in Relation to Urban Waste Management in West Africa).

As stated in the discussion paper prepared by Axel W. Drescher, access to water and urban organic wastes and wastewater varies from time to time, according to the season, the primary collection service, the location of the temporary storage. There is also competition between users of organic waste, such as market waste.

Nevertheless, vegetable gardeners know very well what is available, where and when (at least 10 categories of raw organic materials available, including household waste, water hyacinth, manure, crop residual, waste from slaughterhouse). In both towns, farmers are eager to up-date their knowledge on how to improve the benefits of using organic materials as amendment or fertiliser, based on sources available.

In this case, the promotion of regular access to organic material seems to be only possible with regular primary collection and convenient temporary storage location.

Nadine Dulac
WASTE Advisers on Urbam Environment and Development
Nieuwehaven 201
2801 CW GOUDA, the Netherlands
Tel: +31-182-522625
Fax: +31-182-550313
E-mail general:, personal:

From: Beatriz Giobellina []
Sent: 23 August 2000 01:10
To: PLANEAMIENTO - FAO 2000; comida - FAO 2000
Subject: planeamiento y seguridad alimentaria

Urban-Planning / Session 1 / Contribution from Beatriz Giobellina

Urban-Food / Session 1 / Contribution from Beatriz Giobellina

Hola, celebro la posibilidad de discutir estos temas con personas de diferentes partes del mundo.

Quisiera exponer algunas ideas en torno a la AUP:

1- El primer tema es una reflexión en la escala internacional: creo que es preocupante que científicos y funcionarios de organismos internacionales discutamos -desde nuestras cómodas y modernas computadoras- sobre cómo contribuir a la supervivencia de los pobres urbanos por medio de la AUP. Ni con toda la tierra puesta a producir de las ciudades podremos parar la creciente desigualdad entre pobres y ricos del mundo. El hambre no se soluciona con AUP sino con reglas de juego más equitativas entre los países más desarrollados y los países pobres; y, al interior de las ciudades, con políticas de redistribución de la riqueza entre los que se benefician del modelo económico vigente y los que están condenados a vivir cada vez más en la miseria. Temas como la deuda externa de los países pobres, el drenaje de sus recursos naturales para los países industrializados, y la deuda histórica -no reconocida- del colonialismo que permitió una acumulación de riqueza en los actuales países ricos, deberían ser los princ pales temas en debate para atenuar la pobreza y el hambre en el mundo.

2- El segundo tema es una reflexión en la escala nacional: también es preocupante el avance de las corporaciones internacionales agro-químicas-alimentarias con su estrategia de generación de mayor dependencia en el uso de semillas transgénicas y de agroquímicos; frente a la falta de aplicación del principio de precaución de gobiernos como el de Argentina (segundo productor de alimentos transgénicos del mundo); que sin ningún estudio previo, apostó el 100% de su producción de granos (como la soja, principal rubro de su exportación) a las semillas transgénicas. Otro ejemplo es el caso de productores tabacaleros de Tucumán (noroeste de Argentina, provincia con el más alto índice de desocupación del país y hasta un 50% de población NBI en algunas partes) que -sin saberlo- plantaron tabaco transgénico y ahora deben quemar toda su producción. Si bien esto no es AUP, muestra la vulnerabilidad de pequeños, medianos y grandes agricultores frente a los intereses de las grandes corporaciones internacionale que tienen la capacidad de avanzar sobre la población y sus economías; por lo tanto, pone en crisis estrategias locales de seguridad alimentaria, cuando la del país está peligrando. Creo que la seguridad alimentaria del mundo peligra (y no solo de los países pobres), si no se definen leyes y regulaciones transnacionales para estas estrategias de las corporaciones. Son las universidades, las ONGs y los organismos internacionales, con capacidad de investigaciones dependientes, quienes tienen más posibilidad de producir evidencias que sirvan para legislación internacional sobre los impactos de estas estrategias (agroquímicos, transgénicos) en la salud y en la seguridad alimentaria del mundo.

3- El tercer tema es una reflexión en la escala local:
quienes estamos preocupados por la población urbana pobre, a veces manejamos hipótesis de alternativas para una ciudad sustentable (más allá de los cambios necesarios a nivel de políticas internacionales antes mencionados). Quisiera conocer opiniones -y ejemplos si existieran- sobre una posible estrategia de involucrar a población desocupada urbana -cuyo origen sea de áreas rurales, o sea que tenga cultura campesina- en programas de escala intermedia de tipo granjas ecológicas o producción agropecuaria especializada (para segmentos de consumidores con poder adquisitivo, sea del mercado local o global); cuyo objetivo vaya más allá de la mera supervivencia familiar, y sea una posibilidad real de alternativas de empleo e ingreso doméstico. La pobreza y la seguridad alimentaria requiere resolver problemas estructurales de la pobreza; por ello, la alternativa de AUP con valor de cambio y conducida por los gobiernos como estrategias e desarrollo sustentable para pobres urbanos, con políticas de comercialización en todas sus escalas, puede tener efectos sinérgicos:
- genera trabajo y por lo tanto ingresos familiares, lo que significa un desarrollo humano integral
- sustrae a una porción de población de las villas de emergencia urbanas de un destino de miseria, desocupación, violencia, mala calidad de vida, marginalidad social.
- permite una descompresión de las ciudades en términos de desocupación, violencia, políticas asistencialistas, migración rural-urbana, etc.
- genera producción de alimentos frescos, orgánicos, o controlados para evitar impactos en salud
- atiende a una demanda creciente de productos sanos
- arraiga a la población a la tierra y contribuye al mantenimiento y desarrollo de la cultura campesina ancestral, modernizándola y aportándole las ventajas de desarrollos tecnológicos.
- permite salvar y reforzar a los pequeños y medianos campesinos de zonas urbanas que -al no estar valorada la AUP en el planeamiento ni en las políticas urbanas- está desapareciendo al ritmo que avanza el crecimiento urbano insustentable.
- permite frenar el avance descontrolado de las urbanizaciones sobre el recurso no renovable del suelo fértil, pudiendo generar anillos, archipiélagos o áreas de emprendimientos rurales protegidos y regulados de este tipo que no puedan ser aniquilados por el mercado inmobiliario
- permite proteger ecosistemas vulnerables, al priorizarse su ubicación en lugares estratégicos con valor ecológico
- permite invertir en políticas sociales que no sean meros paliativos, sino que contribuyan a una solución eficiente a la pobreza, generando -en el largo plazo- un ahorro social al buscar soluciones. Obviamente con una inversión inicial mayor.

Un gran saludo a todos los participantes.

Arq. Beatriz Giobellina
Esp. Ordenación Territorio y M. Ambiente
Laboratorio de Investigaciones para la Gestión y el Desarrollo del Hábitat y el Medio Ambiente
Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo
Universidad Nacional de Tucumán
Casilla de Correo 143 - (4000) Tucumán - Argentina
Tel.: 54-381-4364093 Int. 722 / 723
Fax: 54-381-4364141

From: Julian Briz []
Sent: 24 August 2000 12:49
Subject: Naturacion y agricultura urbana

Estimados amigos,

Consideramos de gran interes el debate que se esta produciendo sobre la agricultura urbana. No obstante seria conveniente establecer una demarcacion entre conceptos tales como agricultura urbana y periurbana, naturacion, objetivos y protagonistas en cada caso. Entendemos que puede haber unos beneficions mutuos intecambiando experiencias aunque la problematica difiere notoriamente segun el nivel de vida de las ciudades, habitos y costumbres. A continuacion paso a darles algunas infomaciones especificas sobre nuestra organizacion esperando recibir informacion similar de otros colegas.

Dentro de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid hemos constituido la Asociación Española para la Promoción de la Naturación Urbana y Rural (PRONATUR) que agrupa a investigadores y empresarios. Entre nuestros objetivos destaca la incorporación de la naturaleza (incluida la agricultura) en la sociedad.

No obstante, y ante algunos de los planteamientos que vienen surgiendo en las animadas discusiones deseamos puntualizar

1.. Bajo el concepto de naturación urbana incluimos toda forma de incorporación de la naturaleza al medio urbano. Puede tomar diversas formas, desde la agricultura como abastecimiento de alimentos a objetivos ornamentales, estéticos,..

2.. Dada la gran heterogeneidad de intereses entre los diversos centros urbanos y rurales debemos adaptarnos a los diversos segmentos de la población.

3.. La incorporación de la agricultura a la naturación urbana tiene diversos enfoques. Para áreas en vías de desarrollo puede ser una fuente importante de abastecimiento y tenemos ejemplos de éxito en ciudades como la Habana, que logran un elevado porcentaje del mercado en hortalizas frescas. En otras ciudades se relaciona más con el ocio y se enfoca hacia plantas ornamentales, jardinería, especies aromáticas y condimentos.

En cuanto a nuestra organización les expongo a continuación algunos aspectos de la misma.

1.. Constituimos una red de instituciones sin ánimo de lucro, vinculadas a las universidades y otras instituciones, en lo que denominamos RICEN (Red Internacional de Ciudades en Naturación), y en la que participa PRONATUR.

2.. En estos momentos se está desarrollando en la Universidad de Chapingo (México) un Curso de Maestría sobre "Naturación de Areas construidas y desarrollo sustentable de ciudades" donde participan 20 estudiantes de postgrado y una serie de especialistas.

3.. Tenemos una serie de terrazas experimentales donde se obtienen datos sobre una serie de variables (temperatura, humedad, radiación solar, etc.) que permiten evaluar el ahorro energético, contaminación etc.

4.. Entre nuestras actividades habituales tenemos algunas publicaciones como el libro "Naturación Urbana" (Mundiprensa 1999. 390 páginas. ISBN 84.7114.829.3)

5.. Nuestra organización, PRONATUR, ha propugnado una serie de seminarios y declaraciones con otras ciudades como Berlín, México, Río de Janeiro, la Habana, etc., con el enfoque genérico de naturación urbana.

6.. A título de ejemplo informamos que tenemos una serie de Declaraciones de ciudades como Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Puerto Rico y Berlin, entre otras que podrán consultarse en la página Web: que tenemos preparada para los próximos días y donde se aportan detalles sobre nuestra organización.

Felicitando a los organizadores y esperando mantener un fructífero debate

Profesor Julián Briz
Presidente de PRONATUR

From: David Iaquinta
Sent: 24 August 2000 10:40

RE: UPA-Planning / session1 / contribution from David Iaquinta

Participants and friends.

My name is David Iaquinta and I am Chair of the Department of Sociology-Anthropology-Social Work at Nebraska Wesleyan University in the United States. In 1998-99 I spent the year at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization working on a collaborative effort in Urban and Periurban Agriculture and Policy Studies. Since that time I have continued to work closely with Dr. Drescher in this area.

I have two comments to make up front. First, I have greatly appreciated the comments submitted thus far. In addition the paper by van den Berg is a lucid description of many of the facets of UPA. Second, I would like to offer a possible framework for clarifying the discussion we are having before we get too far along.

While the questions our moderator has posed for us serve as an excellent point of departure, it is clear that our many interests lead us in a wide variety of rich directions-all of which are valuable. But I already begin to see some key areas that may help clarify our overall discussion.

1. There remain many issues surrounding the need for, the legitimacy of, and the viability of UPA. Concerns of this nature are voiced less often by those of us working in the area than by policy makers, planners, and others not directly involved in the phenomenon. Our personal phrase for this is "Just gardening" comments.

2. Many of us are working on actual field sites and program implementation in the area of UPA. These are the voices often left out of academic proceedings and conferences, but which are so very important to understanding what is really happening. It is my hope that these voices will be strongly represented in this present e-mail conference.

3. Some of us are working at developing "thinking frames" and typologies aimed at helping to synthesize information on UPA and field experiences. Our hope is that such tools for organization will help us determine more effective policies and systems of support for practitioners. At their best such schemes are practical and not just theoretical.

4. Finally, there are important contextual contributions of the nature of that submitted by Beatriz Giobellina. She raises many important points concerning the potentially destructive impacts of GMOs on farmer's well being. Her points placing poverty in the context of international power arrangements are equally valid. These should be kept in mind as we discuss UPA more specifically.

What I have tried to do so far is simply identify some of the intellectual "scale" issues that we are already engaging in discussing. I think it will be important to identify which of these areas we are primarily addressing in each of our comments. Hopefully this will eliminate some confusion and facilitate our goal of understanding and advancing UPA as a locally designed but globally connected set of solutions to household food security.

For myself I am clearly mostly involved at present with the third area above. To this end I have sent for posting on the web site a copy of a recent paper presented in Rio at the Tenth World Congress of the International Rural Sociology Association. The paper addresses some of the confusion surrounding the definition of periurban; hopefully it will answer some of questions raised by Gunther Merzthal.

Central to our conceptualization of UPA and the environment of interest is the idea of rural-urban linkages already raised by the first two contributors. For us the geography is a lumpy continuum. But underlying this view is the key assertion that the processes that create the environment are "organic", dynamic, reciprocal, transformative and evolutionary. Periurban is not just an area surrounding a city. The larger metropolitan frame of reference is more appropriate since many "periurban" environments lie at large distances from the actual city, but are intimately connected in the form of markets and suppliers. These long-distance daily connections involve commercial organizations, producers collectives, and individual family / kinship networks. They are complicated but they are important components in urban food security. They differ substantially from the relations in other periurban environments and from the relations of UA (i.e., food production within the city proper) more specifically.

Such ideas are not antithetical to those suggested by van den Berg or to Mustafa Kok (elsewhere), but incorporate yet another level of examination of UPA. What is important to us is that we begin to push our analysis and understanding of UPA beyond the generic "what works in the city" or "what works in this particular city/culture". I think we are now at the level where we want to assess what works in terms of a more fine-grained understanding of the metropolitan area as a patchwork of environments. Marielle Dubbeling's questions are right on target in this regard.

An analogy here might help. Van den Berg has made an excellent case concerning the paucity of information about "urban soils". In fact he has argued that our definition of urban causes us to intentionally "lose" information, which was on hand, once an area is defined as urban. Thus, we need to both "recover" this information and to consider how to use it in incorporating UPA in urban planning schemes within a given metropolitan context. Similarly, we should be asking how different types of periurban environments create institutional contexts that pose unique solutions and challenges to UPA. Here is the reason that the voices of those working in the field are so valuable. They know a great deal more about the conditions in their specific environment. I for one would like to hear a great deal more from them about what they do, how they do it, the challenges they face, the things that work for them, and the nature of their particular situation / environment. Certainly, the Havana conference was a great clearinghouse for many of these voices.

Lastly, I would greatly appreciate more commentary from urban planners. We all know that urban planners have not historically been receptive to the idea of UPA. I think we likely agree that urban planners need to make to modifications in this thinking to incorporate-at a minimum:
(1) the recognition that UPA is a potential solution to many urban "problems" (e.g., waste management and highly perishable food supply come immediately to mind) and
(2) that UPA is an important sector which must be planned for in its own right.

Having said this I hasten to add that little good can come from vilifying urban planners or blaming them for limited support for UPA historically. What would be most constructive would be to hear from some urban planners about the difficulties they have in incorporating the changes I have suggested above into their own thinking or into the offices they represent.

Enough for now. Let other voices speak.

David Iaquinta
Chair, Sociology / Anthropology / Social Work
5000 Saint Paul Avenue
Nebraska Wesleyan University Lincoln, Nebraska 68506-2796
Tel. (402) 465-2426
Fax: 402/465-2179

From: Gender Unit UNCHS(Habitat) []
Sent: 24 August 2000 10:20
Subject: urban agriculture and planning

RE; UPA-PLanning / session1 / Contribution from Diana Lee-Smith

Dear colleagues,

I would like to introduce an additional question, or rather a concept, to those already posed. That is the question of gender, urban agriculture and land-use planning. I am making this contribution from my role as Gender Focal Point of UNCHS (Habitat). We have been discussing our approach in-house and several colleagues from UNCHS (Habitat) are following the discussion. The subject touches on several key areas within our work programme, which is based on implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

It is true that planners do not normally consider UA as a land use and we should focus our attention on this as L.M vandenBerg does. However, in those few cases where it does become a planned (or at least recognised) land use, as in the case of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, lack of a gender perspective in planning can have negative consequences for women farmers and the urban poor in general.

In African cities in particular (or at least in East and Southern Africa) urban farmers include more women than men and most food is produced for subsistence consumption. The Dar-es-Salaam case has shown (Mascarenhas 1999) that the encouragement of UA as an urban land use has squeezed out the poor women subsistence farmers and encouraged larger, commercial production on undeveloped urban land.

From what I observed in 1998, the approach adopted in South Africa, which allocates undeveloped urban land to farming, the urban poor who need subsistence food tend to be given preference. I saw mostly women farming there.

In other countries, I have also observed that many women are involved in urban farming. This includes places like Canada.

I suggest that urban planning for UA should always exmine the gender profile of urban famers as well as taking a definite stand on alleviation of urban poverty through better food security for the urban poor.

Diana Lee-Smith
Coordinator, Women and Gender, Norms and Policies
Urban Secretariat UNCHS (Habitat) M-221
P O Box 30030 Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 254-2-623987
Fax: 254-2-624250

Sent: 24 August 2000 14:52
To: ''
Subject: UPA-Planning / session1 / Paper submission by David Iaquinta

Dear participants of the planning group,

David Iaquinta submitted a paper on : "Defining peri-urban: Understanding Rural-Urban Linkages and Their Connection to Institutional Context", 26 pp., figures and tables, presented at the Tenth World Congress of the International Rural Sociology Association, Rio de Janeiro, August 1, 2000.

"There is an increasing perception that rural, periurban, and urban environments operate as a system rather than independently and that rural development and urban planning are necessarily linked activities. Activities or interventions in one arena have consequences in the other, often negative. On the other hand, creative policies can turn liabilities into resources and bridge the rural-urban divide".

The paper tries to give a new perspective of the understanding of urbanisation processes by looking at the institutional context of the peri-urban environments.

The paper will soon be available on the information market

Those who would like to obtain the paper by mail please write an email to

Submit paper Iaquinta

From: Oliver Ginsberg []
Sent: 24 August 2000 17:54
Subject: urban planning - gender and children aspects

RE: UPA-Planning / session1 / contribution from Oliver Ginsberg

My name is Oliver Ginsberg, I'm a trained landscape architect at present working for the 'Bund der Jugendfarmen und Aktivspielplätze' (Federation of (urban)youth farms and adventure playgrounds as an educational consultant.

I would like to contribute some thoughts, adressing themes that some of you have encountered before and adding a new perspective that I think is crucial and very often neglected in the sustaiable urban development discourse.

Let me start with some background experience and a historcial review

The first time I encountered urban farming was in 1984, when I was still studying landscape architecture at Technical university of Berlin. I was taking a look at the social use of urban open space in disadvantaged neighborhoods and one day a friend told me about a "children's farm" which was established in 1981 on a squatted piece of land (some 2,5 acres next to the former wall in the district of Kreuzberg - a neighborhood characterized by high migration - mostly of turkish origin).

The group who took care of the project, which at that time had a hard struggle against the local authorities' idea to evict, consisted mostly of women, most of them being the head of a single parent family with one two or more children to take care of. The women could be defined as poor by German standards, even though the social system generally does provide for basic needs such as food and shelter, the farm. The basic motives of these women start and run the farm however was not about food or nutrition. It was about having a place to meet and some natural environment for their children to grow up, play in safe environment and experience, what many children in Western metropolitan areas have virtually no contact to: farm life! Animals such as horses, a donkey, sheep, goats, pigs, chicken, ducks, geese, rabbits and guinee pigs in this project had a much higher importance than crops, even though part of the land was also used for gardening and fruit trees. The project was very much inspired by youth farms, kinderboerderijen and city farms that exist mostly in middle and northern European countries.

During my ongoing reflection on this theme I found that also the origin of Schreber gardens (as many allotment gardens are called in Germany) in the second half of the 19th century was not the provision of food to the poor, but rather play provisions for children. Gottlieb Moritz Schreber was a pediatrist stating as soon as 1861 that urban development was detrimental to children's health and therefore demanded the development of play areas and facilities for children, garden areas were added later on for "educational reasons" and only with the occurance of economic crises were mainly used for productive reasons. Children never regained their central position in these gardens even after food supply of the poor had ceased to be a major problem and until today serve more the esthetic demands and recreational purposes of adults than children. Special play facilities for children on the other hand also mutated to mere exercise structures designed to a high degree according to taste of adults rather than to the developmental needs of children.

It was only in 1931, that a Danish landscape architect pointed out, that these play facilities were not sufficient and demanded the planning of what came to be known later on as "adventure playgrounds", many of which have developed into what could easily be defined as "urban children farms". Meanwhile the situation for children growing up in cities has in many cases improved economically and from an educational point of view, but not as far as play and nature experiences are concerned. Cars now outnumber children 3 to 4 times. The space they take in streets and parking lots is about 50 times biger than that of play areas for children. These numbers are true for Berlin, but they should be similar in other cities of industrialized countries.

I made this somewhat lengthy statements (more details soon available on the following web-site: ) to point out that, if adressing the urban agriculture and sustainable urban development topic on an academic level, which I figure most of you do, it is absolutely necessary, to use a broader perspective and not narrow it down or let it be dominated by food supply aspects - even though I understand, that the topic of food supply has a higher ranking in countries with a less developed social welfare system and increasingly has so with the development of the global economic system.

To summarize and add some points for further discussion:

1. The social meaning of urban farms/gardens (not only in terms of fresh air and green space, but in terms of social contacts, community identity and community culture) and the (play) needs of children as well as the role of women are very much neglected in the present global discussion.

2. Even with poor people the motives for urban farming are much more complex than generally assumed.

3. In very densely populated areas the social meaning is higher than in periurban / suburban settings.

4. To be included in planning process urban farms can be adressed as community and youth service as well as educational infrastructure and not only as "agricultural land". In fact under some circumstances it may be easier to promote their inclusion in the urban planning process if treated as the former rather than the latter.

I want to add another result from my own comparative research among some 90 European city farms or farm like adventure playgrounds:
Animals in these projects often have more importance than crops, especially in densely populated areas and they are very important "social mediators" especially in districts with cultural diversity.

Looking forward to the ongoing of the discussion

Oliver Ginsberg
BdJA educational consultant
Admiralstrasse 16
10999 Berlin