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


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Module 2


How different types of UA initiatives are facilitated in public spaces in contemporary European cities based on experiences from northern Europe? How do they contribute to the development of capabilities of urban farmers and non-involved public space users?



Module leader: Melissa Murphy

In this module we will examine different models of facilitating UA in publicly accessible spaces in Northern Europe, testing the valuation framework elaborated in Module 1. Cases will be chosen based on different manners of municipal facilitation of UA – including current facilitation programs like in Aarhus, Denmark, abandoned programmes like in Rotterdam, and contentious ones like in Malmo and parts of the UK. The cases will be selected for illuminating different ways UA can interact with public spaces and affect the quality of life of their users (both these directly involved, and non-involved public space users). We will also examine UA strategies of respective cities.

Copenhagen and Malmö are cases that will be covered by our international partners on the project - chosen to secure a platform for communication with our ongoing DEMOSSPACE project1, as well as for representing different approaches for enabling UA initiatives. Malmö has a strong reputation for integrating UA into public spaces, with their municipal roads department being responsible for partnering with local NGOs and community groups. In this manner, the municipality supports a wide series of initiatives integrated within public parks, rooftops, residential spaces and new urban development plans as a strategy towards mitigating urban-rural tensions and the loss of productive land in the urban periphery. Copenhagen’s public sector primarily supports disparate, privately-initiated UA efforts in various manners, for instance through local funding given by district offices. The multicultural district of Nørrebro focuses upon UA support as a central part of their urban renewal plan. The municipality further shows an increase of support and interest in UA by incorporating it in their new City Nature Strategy. Malmö and Copenhagen offer relative comparability to Oslo as mid-sized cities within Scandinavian social democratic systems. Our partner in the UK can offer a contrasting perspective and context - having seen several unfulfilled large-scale UA visions and plans, some private stakeholders have been supported by various mayoral administrations to start, run and make UA projects locally profitable as a strategy for local business development. Together, these cities hold a range of UA strategies, planning and design solutions, successes, and failures that can inform how Oslo/Akershus’s public sector might consider further cultivating democratic aspects of public space.




1 Governing private provision of public space: developing governance models and urban design that ensure inclusive, democratic public space” (DEMOSSPACE) Funding Agency: The Research Council of Norway, DEMOS programme, 2016-2018








Methodologically: The design and facilitation of different types of UA initiatives will be documented through mapping studies, observation, and semi-formalinterviews structured around the major themes of the valuation framework elaborated in module 1. The interviews will include initiative-starters, UA participants and non-involved public space users. In addition, the role each municipality plays in the facilitation of the UA initiatives will be analyzed through interviews with municipal actors and document reviews. Addressing planning processes we will utilize the findings of the DEMOSSPACE project on urban governance and policy contexts of Malmö and Copenhagen. We will supplement this knowledge by highlighting the aspirations that each municipality visited connects to UA and comparing municipal goals for UA in the examined cities.









Projects within Module 2


Cultivating public space is a project funded by: