Feeding Cities through High-Tech Urban Agriculture: A Critical Exploration

Authors: Michael Hardman*, University of Salford, UK, Simon Cryer, University of Salford, UK, Richard Armitage, University of Salford, UK, Mags Adams, University of Salford, UK, Mark Stein, University of Salford, UK
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Urban Geography, Planning Geography
Keywords: Urban Agriculture, Food Security, Sustainability, Qualitative, Cities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Astor Ballroom II, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

With interest in Urban Agriculture at an all-time high, there is now a plethora of organisations exploring the potential to upscale activities and feed cities through the concept. High tech solutions, such as green roofs and walls, have been identified as one approach to redress the loss of green space in urban areas whilst enabling Urban Agriculture to be upscaled. Using hydroponics and aquaponics these schemes push the boundaries of urban growing and use somewhat complex systems to grow high yield in small spaces. Such projects can play a significant role in tackling food insecurity, building more sustainable communities, as well as promoting culinary diversity in urban areas.

Despite the growth in these schemes globally, little is known of their impact, how they are sustained and the predominant models employed. This paper provides a critical overview of this burgeoning sector: adopting a mixed methods approach to explore the practice and its potential to feed urban populations. We explore exemplars and draw on an extensive array of qualitative primary data with projects across the UK. We then proceed to focus down on Manchester, with a quantitative spatial analysis utilised to calculate the amount of space in the city centre that might be utilised for this practice. Through doing so, we demonstrate the potential for high tech urban agriculture projects and how they might contribute to greater urban food security.

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