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


Module 7

How to successfully integrate UA in compact city development in Norway in terms of innovative ICT solutions?

Module leader:  Solveig Arnesen/ The Research Park Campus Ås

In this module we will develop an application for smart phones for urban farmers and citizens interested in UA in Norway. The individuals getting engaged in UA often have limited knowledge about soil, plants and cultivation. Starting up an UA-project triggers a lot of questions related to horticulture; like what plants can I grow? Where do I get seeds and fertilizers? When and how much to water? In addition, beginners will have questions related to the social networking aspects of UA, like where to find others with whom to share engagement, cooperate, share seeds, tools and knowledge, and about what types of UA initiatives can be found in the neighborhood.

We will create an application that will function as a useful toolbox for the urban farmer, giving answers to beginners and advice for maintenance, as well as serve as a meeting platform for new and experienced UA-users knitting the UA-community closer together with shared resources. The application will also be useful for public dialog between relevant authorities and people engaged in UA-projects across the city. The application will have interactive features that facilitate dialog and make it engaging. More specific functionality in the application will be determined in the course of participatory workshops, gathering local urban farmers, and other actors interested in UA in Norway. We will also learn from other, already developed applications for UA in Europe. The functions will be divided into maintenance, social networking, and learning categories.

Foto: Credit

Methodologically: This module is based on a participatory process of software development. The first step in the development of the UA application will be workshops/focus group interviews to gather information about the expectations of potential users and different functions to be prioritized in the application. The software and content development of the application will be developed by Vitenparken and tested in UA-projects at Campus Ås and Oslo. Vitenparken has previously developed other site specific applications. The developers of the UA app will follow the overall research project closely, and the programming will be done by employees at Vitenparken. In this way we will maintain a strong connection between research outputs of different modules and the necessary needs to be covered by the app.

Functionality in the application might include: Profile with description of garden, dimensions, shade issues, photos of the space and list of other attributes such as composting system; an overview over available parcels in a given area; a list of what plants or seed one has in surplus for trade; an automatically generated list of best food producing vegetables and plants for a given region, and best times to sow and likely harvest times; a possibility to enter pest reports and have links to potential solutions generated; mapping of free mulch and compost sources (restaurant waste, yard waste etc.); a map showing where other users are located so one can exchange experiences and resources; a calendar with locations and links for any garden clubs or meetings; chatting feature for all members working on a specific project/location. A website allowing for access to similar features will be also established.

Projects within module 7

Cultivating public space is a project funded by: