Urban Agriculture i den hållbara staden : en fältstudie i Managua

University essay from SLU/Dept. Of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management

Abstract: The way we design our cities today will affect the living conditions for future generations. Planning as a discipline can become crucial to attain a sustainable urban development with an increased quality of life among the urban population and an improved environment. Urban Agriculture in the Sustainable City -a case study in Managua is a Diploma Work that deal with poverty issues, aspects of sustainability and development work. We have had a theoretical starting-point, but our focus has been on the case study i.e. the practical part, that we carried out in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. Today about half of the worlds 6,3 billion people live in cities. The demographic growth of the countryside has declined, while the population in the cities is considerably increasing. To create the requirements for a good quality of life among the urban population is a challenge, particularly in the developing countries. It is in these parts of the world that the most rapid urbanization is taking place and where the urban population will grow the most. The rapid urbanization has not only resulted in major environmental problems, but also in urban poverty and marginalization, unemployment, food insecurity and disease caused by an unbalanced diet. These factors are diminishing the chances of long-term development of the society. We have been studying how Urban Agriculture i.e. cultivation and keeping livestock in an urban area, can improve the life situation among the urban population. There is evidence that Urban Agriculture can become a key strategy for the urban poor. It has secured the access of food, the public health and the environment has been improved, the income possibilities has increased and the social belonging to the society has been strengthen. Urban Agriculture has therefore been an important contributor in the work on planning for and building the sustainable city. In spite of the fact that Nicaragua has plenty of natural resources such as agricultural land, energy reserves, forests and minerals etc., it is the second poorest country in Latin America. Today Managua is facing similar urban development challenges to other cities in the developing countries around the world, i.e. poverty alleviation, food security, enhancing the public health, income generation and preventing environmental pollution. Our task has been to study how one could introduce Urban Agriculture in Managua. We carried out informal interviews with architects, city- planners, teachers and students at the technical universities in the city and inhabitants of Managua. From this material we choosed to work with a school in barrio Grenada, one of the poorest districts in Managua. We did a site analysis of the barrio and the school yard, and put up a number of design criterions of how we wanted the site to be shaped and what function it should have. The work was carried out as a demonstration project and it was accomplished in co-operation with the municipality of Managua, the organization HABITAR, the technical universities UNI and RUPAP, and the inhabitants of Grenada. The purpose of the project was to integrate cultivation and knowledge about the environment and nutritions, in education. The yield will go to the school, which then decides whether they will keep the crops or sell them. From our own experiences and studies of similar projects in Havana, Cuba and Kampala, Uganda, we have then made a strategy of how one can continue to work with a further implementation of Urban Agriculture throughout the city. We have choosen to work on a small scale basis with school yards and lotes. Our intention is to show that you can achieve big results with small means. We have been focusing on the financing parts, supplying of knowledge, organization and responsability. We want to show that landscape architects can play an important role in city- planning in development countries. The project is add- ressing city- planners in Managua, but we hope that it will inspire students and landscape architects in Sweden to become engaged in planning issues in developing countries.

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