Scenario planning for sustainable urban food production: A case study of Tucson communities

Authors: Qing Zhong*, University of Arizona, Daoqin Tong, Arizona State University, Courtney Crosson, University of Arizona, Yinan Zhang, University of Arizona
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Agricultural Geography, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: food desert, rainwater harvesting, reclaimed water, urban agriculture, scenario planning
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Studies have projected that we will experience a more arid climate and higher risk of water shortages in the United States Southwest over the coming century. While water resources become scarce, population in Arizona has grown considerably in the past decades and the growth is expected to continue. Currently, Tucson, the second largest city in Arizona, is experiencing serious food access and security issues with widening areas of urban food deserts. Persistent drought and increased urbanization challenge Tucson’s food production. Strategies need to be developed to devise a cost effective, equitable and sustainable water supply while addressing the food needs for a growing population. This study examines different planning scenarios to identify and test sustainable strategies for localized food production in Tucson’s urban communities to address the upcoming water supply-demand gap and current urban food deserts issues. By expanding the decentralized passive and active rainwater harvesting system and reclaimed water systems and adopting native plants, this study finds the optimal strategies to cultivate underutilized municipal land to address health food access issues in the region.

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