Urban Agriculture in Asia: A Review

Authors: Melody Lynch*, McGill University, Sarah Turner, McGill University
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Urban Geography, Asia
Keywords: urban agriculture, sustainability, food security, food safety, urban development, Asia
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 45
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Since just 2019, more than half of Asia’s population has been living in cities. The unparalleled scale and pace of urbanization in this region has led to increased pressure on food systems. While urban agriculture (UA) is not a new phenomenon, literature on the subject has only recently started to explore the potential of UA for sustainable urban development. This paper presents the results of a systematic review of the literature on the human dimensions of UA in Asia. Evidence from the literature reveals diverse motivations and aspirations behind UA initiatives. Findings indicate that while some UA projects are supported by local governments, other UA initiatives require strategic maneuvers to circumvent the various barriers to farming on urban lands. Results suggest that UA can provide farmers with access to healthier foods in some cases, while polluted urban environments can lead to the contrary, particularly for people on the margins. There is no consensus on whether UA can or should be part of sustainable urban futures. Regardless, many cities have begun supporting UA activities in recent times. This is the first in-depth, qualitative review to focus on UA in the region, and the results are essential to identify the challenges and opportunities for UA in contemporary Asia.

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