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Urban agriculture in the transition to low carbon cities through urban greening

Department of Geography, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines, Ontario, L2S3A1, Canada

Special Issues: Urban Greening for Low Carbon Cities

Urban agriculture presents an opportunity to extend food production to cities. This could enhance food security, particularly in developing countries, and allow for adaptation to growing urbanization. This review paper examines current trends in urban agriculture from a global perspective as a mitigation-adaptation approach to climate change adaptation in the midst of a growing world population. Employing vegetation as a carbon capture and storage system encapsulates a soft-engineering strategy that can be easily deployed by planners and environmental managers. In this review, urban agriculture is presented as a land-use solution to counteract the effects of urbanization, and as a means to establish a continuum between cities and the countryside. It espouses the usefulness of urban agriculture to enhance food security while sequestering carbon. As part of urban greening (including newer approaches, such as green roofs and gardens as well as more established forms of greening, such as forests and parks), urban agriculture offers traditionally rural services in cities, thereby contributing to food resources as well as working to alleviate pressing social issues like poverty. It also provides a way to reduce stress on farmland, and creates opportunities for employment and community-building. As part of greening, urban agriculture provides a buffer for pollution and improves environmental (and well as human) health and well-being. This review begins by addressing the physical factors of adopting urban agriculture, such as climate change and development, land use and degradation, technology and management, and experimental findings as well as human factors investigated in the published literature. As such, it presents an integrated approach to urban agriculture that is part of a social-ecological perspective.
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Keywords climate change; mitigation-adaptation; gardening; green roofs; land use; social-ecological resilience; sustainability; urban food production

Citation: Mary Thornbush. Urban agriculture in the transition to low carbon cities through urban greening. AIMS Environmental Science, 2015, 2(3): 852-867. doi: 10.3934/environsci.2015.3.852

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