Land, Food, and Power in the Global City: Shifting Landscapes of Urban Agriculture in Paris and New York

Authors: Kristin Reynolds*, , Ségolène Darly, Université Paris
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Urban Geography, Development
Keywords: urban agriculture, food sovereignty, land justice, global cities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Governor's Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The landscape of urban agriculture is ever-evolving throughout the Global North. Within the past decade, commercial urban agriculture (CUA) has rapidly gained significance. CUA often takes the form of rooftop farms, soil-less production, inside railroad containers, or intensive market gardening on interstitial vacant lots. The rise of CUA has been bolstered in some cities, including New York and Paris, by legislation or other government initiatives, often within a framework that seeks to enhance urban sustainability, resilience, or economic development. One may question whether, and to what extent particular forms of CUA serve these broad objectives. At the same time, these developments also raise important questions about socioeconomic power, including access to (and control of) land-, financial-, and material resources; as well as the meaning that urban agriculture holds for practitioners, beneficiaries, and supporters. These are questions that we take up in our research. Drawing on preliminary observations from an on-going, comparative study of CUA in Paris and New York City, we analyze changes in the urban agriculture landscape as resulting not only from dynamics of urbanization and the evolution of urban agriculture as a practice, but also as an expression of power dynamics in terms of the connection between access to land and urban agriculture space, social justice, food sovereignty, and power.

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