Making the Edible Landscape: integrating urban agriculture into urban development and design
This project (2004-2006), that is coordinated by the Minimum Cost Housing Group- School of Architecture of the McGill University in Montreal, Canada, sought to creatively involve local authorities, architects and urban planners in a collaborative and participatory process to integrate urban agriculture (UA) in processes of neighbourhood improvement, slum upgrading and construction. The input of ETC-UA in this project concentrated on supporting local processes in the 3 participating cities (field coordination) and related capacity development activities, monitoring and evaluation.
The three-year global project involved local municipal, research, NGO and community partners in Rosario-Argentina (the Municipal Urban Agriculture Programme, the Public Housing Service, the NGO CEPAR, the Centre for Studies of the Human Environment- CEAH/National University of Rosario and community groups), Kampala-Uganda (the local authorities, Makerere University, the Kampala District Farmers Association and community members) and Colombo- Sri Lanka (the Municipal Department for International Relations, the Indigenous Health Department, the NGO Sevanatha and the Western Department of Agriculture).
In the course of the project, McGill University, ETC-UA and the local city teams coordinated:
- The production of practical tools for housing and neighbourhood designs including UA
- The development of prototypical site plans
- The demonstration and implementation of these tools through slum upgrading incorporating UA and/or the creation of new garden neighbourhoods, and
- The publication of project findings that will encourage design professionals to incorporate agricultural activities within urban development plans.
The main results of the project include:
- In Kampala-Uganda a new 33-acre “edible neighbourhood” was designed and plots were allocated to 120 selected households. Training in both appropriate production technologies as in self-help housing construction is ongoing and it is hoped that households will start to inhabit the site per 2007.
- Tenure and housing construction guidelines were formulated in Kampala, which integrate urban agriculture.
- In Colombo-Sri Lanka urban agriculture was integrated in upgrading plans for slum upgrading. Productive lane upgrading has already taken place as well as use of space-confined production technologies in private lots. The national government of Sri Lanka expressed interest in upscaling the project nationwide.
- In Rosario-Argentina several garden parks were established based on the multi-functional land use concept and incorporating community gardens; also designs for “a productive square” and “productive streets”’ were elaborated, while the first productive-square is being implemented.
- Local materials on each of the city processes have been developed.
- A project video was produced and presented to over 200 interested participants at the UN HABITAT World Urban Forum in Vancouver (July, 2006).
As a result of these activities, changes in attitude, vision and capacity of local governments, NGO’s s and specifically urban planning and design professionals regarding use of urban space for agricultural purposes can be observed and multi-functional land use (productive use of urban parks, urban green areas, urban river and roadside margins) is enhanced as well as integration of urban agriculture in new housing schemes.
Funding: IDRC- Canada, UMP-LAC/UN-HABITAT, McGill University and contributions by the city partners