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Growing a Sustainable City? Urban agriculture offers promising solutions to many different urban problems such as blighted vacant lots food insecurity storm water runoff and unemployment These objectives connect to many cities' broader goal of sustainability but tensions among stakeholders have started to emerge in cities as urban agriculture is incorporated into the policymaking framework Growing a Sustainable City offers a critical analysis of the development of urban agriculture policies and their role in making post industrial cities sustainable Christina Rosan and Hamil Pearsall's intriguing and illuminating case study of Philadelphia reveals how growing in the city has become a symbol of urban economic revitalization sustainability and increasingly gentrification Their comprehensive research includes interviews with urban farmers gardeners and city officials and reveals that the transition to sustainability is marked by a series of tensions along race class and generational lines The book evaluates the role of urban agriculture in sustainability planning and policy by placing it within the context of a large city struggling to manage competing sustainability objectives They highlight the challenges and opportunities of institutionalizing urban agriculture into formal city policy Rosan and Pearsall tell the story of change and growing pains as a city attempts to reinvent itself as sustainable livable and economically competitive

  • Hardcover
  • 208 pages
  • Growing a Sustainable City?
  • Christina D. Rosan
  • 09 May 2015
  • 9781442650619

3 thoughts on “Growing a Sustainable City?

  1. Andrew Andrew says:

    Growing a Sustainable City? The uestion of Urban Agriculture by Christina D Rosan and Hamil Pearsall is an examination of urban agriculture policies and politics in the city of Philadelphia This book looks at urban agriculture through its development in the city going through the history of agriculture and urban agriculture in the city The authors note that urban agriculture has the perspective of being new and hipster but in reality many of the thought processes including using vacant land and urban agriculture as a tool to increase property value have existed for many decades into the past Think Victory Gardens as WWII policy for example The authors then move into a political perspective of urban agriculture in Philadelphia discussing the growth of discourse on the subject from the 1990's to modern times It is interesting to see the discourse change from one that promotes land value to a mixed approach where considerations of use value are present Even so there have been many controversies where City Council had sold land that was under urban agricultural development to private investors with little public input This dynamic also shows the playoff of NIMBYism where some neighbourhoods support agriculture and some do not This raises particular issues with Ward Councillors in Philadelphia who have councilmanic prerogative a concept as a Canadian I was unfamiliar with This is where councillors have veto power over any approved developments in their own ward if there is a lot of public backlash Although this shows an abundance of democracy it also leads to many issues An example of a cancelled training farm project which would have connected a local high school with city agencies to create a training ground for young enthusiasts was vetoed by the respective ward councillor because it would change the character of the neighbourhood This area was primarily wealthy and white and the benefits of the project would have been for urban black youth and the impoverished Clearly in this case democracy was discriminatory and this form of councillor veto has too much ad hoc power and contributes to the scourge of NIMBYism that is present in many local political initiatives Another interesting political dynamic is the growth of sustainability initiatives in the minds of politicians The land value vs use value debate is interesting Many city politicians and bureaucrats maintain the drive to increase land value and taxable revenue to the City increasing City coffers by adding new residents or increasing the market value of the land and therefore increasing the tax base While this can be a noble goal as it can encourage tax rates to remain lower by finding new sources of revenue not increasing the percentage base of the tax it also overlooks the use value of the land This is the value that residents ascribe to the land and is difficult to calculate based on a numerical or measurable figure Residents may value the recreational and educational value of developing vacant lots into urban gardens as well as the aesthetic value of a green neighbourhood These considerations are difficult to calculate but can have just as much of a positive impact on the well being of citizens including their financial and economic well being think of ease of food access for food deserts the value of gardening knowledge learned through practice the value of forging social connections and networking and so on This use value I would just call it cultural or community development is imperative for individuals and communities to cherish their living spaces and is an important part of city planning A discussion on new urban farmers vs traditional farmers follows This short discussion shows that younger urban millennials are flocking to urban farming as a hobby as a tool for sustainability and as a way to reduce food shortages in impoverished communities However these millennials are demographically white and often financially secure than existing residents Their urban farms are hobbyist in nature and although egalitarian in concept may have issues of privilege status issues and racial bias Existingtraditional urban farmers often farm to make up for food shortages and their farms are utilitarian in nature There have been clashes within the urban farming community as sustainability and hobbyist urban farmers clash with those seeking social activism and food stability These competing interests are not incompatible but do present an issue when the millennial hobby farms are approved by city council or added to the Land Bank and urban farms of a utilitarian nature are bulldozed for development in gentrifying campaigns All in all an interesting case study on urban agriculture in Philadelphia The conflicts and solutions found in this book could be applicable to many cities globally in some form and offer an interesting case study for comparison This book was concise in content well sourced and well written and is an excellent read for those looking to learn some basic information on the playoffs between urban agriculture politics and policy making social justice and sustainability Worth a read for sure

  2. Rita Costa (Lusitania Geek) Rita Costa (Lusitania Geek) says:

    Really good book it really shows off the issues we are facing the solution that we can work out to improve a better lifestyle to the population who lives in urban areas without suffering too much on pollution high rates of vegetables and make agriculture even greater by value the professionals For example alternative food for students and employees in big commercial areas such as factories and shopping centers; who many are vegetarians or make diverse health options to make a better health life Agriculture has grown so fast due to technology so i guess we should use that growth and expand in urban agriculture; food garden on shopping rooftops or community gardens around the world to get healthy choices which leads to a better life to people and a big rise in economy improvement in their houses savings food and gasoline less pollution I recommend to any professional in agriculture industry gardeners and landscape designersarchitects to get this book I'm still learning a lot by using this book which will certainly give a great help in future projects 5 stars

  3. Marlena Kalafut Marlena Kalafut says:

    Dry but informative I really appreciated the chapters that discussed race power dynamics and how urban agriculturists can contribute to communities without unknowingly hurting those they want to help

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