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Urban agriculture as a basis for human flourishing and sustainability transition in Norwegian cities



Cultivating Public Space: Urban agriculture as a basis for human flourishing and sustainability transition in Norwegian cities.

The project aims to contribute knowledge for a sustainable compact city development by providing insights on how urban agriculture can enhance the quality of life in a compact city, and be systematically integrated in urban public spaces in Norway.

NMBU in cooperation with the Science Park Campus Ås, Fragment, Nabolagshager, University of Copenhagen, Malmö University, Coventry University, London Metropolitan University, Aachen University, the County Governor of Oslo and Akershus, The Oslo’s Municipality Agency for Urban Environment, and the Norwegian Farmers’ Union present an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented project addressing the potentials of urban agriculture (UA) as a driving force of a sustainability transition in contemporary Norwegian cities.

The compact city model, dominant in Norway and Europe elsewhere, typically creates a strong alliance between climate abatement objectives and urban economic development, frequently overlooking concerns related to the quality of life and social justice. Our project addresses this challenge. We believe that UA can substantially improve the quality of life in Norwegian cities. It can empower local communities and individuals by giving them an opportunity to directly influence their environments while providing access to green, inclusive public spaces. It can provide hands-on learning arenas for educating people about resource use and food production cycles, as well as encourage environmentally-friendly consumption choices. Furthermore, UA-initiatives can be an important arena for health promotion, through increased physical, social and contemplative activity. UA can also enrich urban landscapes with innovative landscape architecture/urban design and functional solutions. Its potentials for produce and entrepreneurship can strengthen urban economy by facilitating innovation and creating inclusive, environmentally-friendly working places.

In order to maximize the above mentioned benefits of UA, the opportunities to engage in UA practices should be widely accessible to all segments of urban population across the city. Integrating UA in already existing and planned public spaces seems to be an effective strategy to achieve this objective. Our project will support this process by developing a set of policy, functional, and design recommendations for urban agriculture in Norway. We will also develop a vision for urban agriculture in Norwegian cities, identify supporting and hindering forces of a transition toward this vision, and propose an action plan for change. The project includes a wide international and interdisciplinary cooperation among researchers and actors from the private – and the public sector.

Illustration: Fragment

Cultivating public space is a project funded by: