Exploring prospective pathways to scale up urban agriculture: the case of Detroit region.

Authors: Dimitrios Gounaridis*, University of Michigan, Joshua Newell, School of Environment and Sustainability
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: Urban agriculture, Urban resilience, scenarios, earth observation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Congressional B, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Detroit is a city-region in renewal, after decades of socio-economic recession and urban decline. The Detroit region has abundant vacant and abandoned residential, commercial, and industrial land and there are ambitious plans to demolish properties and ‘shrink’ the city by concentrating stabilization efforts in target neighborhoods. One emerging strategy to enhance resilience and adaptive capacity is to expand urban agriculture (UA). Nowadays we are experiencing an agricultural renaissance in US cities and studies indicate that virtually all of our food could potentially be grown within 100 miles of the city center. We hypothesize that scaling up UA in the Detroit region will significantly reshape the socio-economic reality and the current food, energy, and water nexus. Therefore the purpose is to valuate the impacts of scaling-up UA and to identify pathways that are sustainable and resilient. Existing UA will be identified by devising a multi-seasonal, multi-sensor approach, employing auxiliary variables, spectral controlling and the Random Forests algorithm. Training (70%) and validation (30%) samples of UA sites will be collected, on the census tract level, via image visual interpretation against imagery from Google Earth, following a stratified sampling scheme. Next, a scenario-based analysis will be employed as a research mechanism (to integrate social, political and cultural factors) and as an outreach tool (to enable stakeholders to make informed decisions). Scenarios will reflect spatially explicit prospective pathways to holistically evaluate if, where, and how to scale-up UA, taking into account the multi-functionality along with the plethora of socio-economic benefits.

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