Peri urban agriculture in Casablanca : a multifunctional solution to a sustainable urban food supply?
Abstract: The urbanisation in the world today is at its highest pace so far in history. More than half of the world’s population is already living in cities. In the developing countries the cities and mega regions are expected to grow in the coming decades (United Nations, 2014). With the growing metabolism of these mega regions in terms of food consumption, waste handling and infrastructure solutions, the pressure grows on urban planners and politicians to adapt and design the cities for the growing needs of its inhabitants (FAO, 2006). Instead of strictly separating the agriculture and the city, a more desired path today is to incorporate some of the cities food production within the city and its peri urban proximity. Small-scale ecological agriculture or agroecology has shown to be one model that fits this criteria of urban agriculture, in favour of large scale monoculture agriculture that is less compatible in an urbanized context. This approach has shown to have many benefits mostly due to its multifunctional nature (Gliessman, 2006). Urban vegetation and agriculture can be used for cleaning storm water, handling heat island effects, serve as local meeting places and parks, add to the aesthetics of neighbourhoods, produce food locally with no transportation needs and many more. The positive effects of the urban agriculture approach for the city and its inhabitants have shown to be found in many areas: economic, social as well as environmental. Especially for the urban poor urban agriculture has proven to be beneficial. A challenge for UAs implementation as green infrastructure for cities is to prove its long-term benefits in favour of other land uses that have more market focused uses such as heavy industry.
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