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Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy, Sustainable Places [Paperback]

Kimberly Hodgson , Marcia Campbell , Martin Bailkey

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Book Description

April 16 2011 Planning Advisory Service Report
Urban agriculture is rising steadily in popularity in the United States and Canada-there are stories in the popular press, it has an increasingly central place in the growing local food movement, and there is a palpable interest in changing cities to foster both healthier residents and more sustainable communities. The most popular form of urban agriculture, community gardening, contributes significantly to developing social connections, building capacity, and empowering communities in urban neighborhoods. Older, industrial cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, and Buffalo, with their drastic loss of population and their acres of vacant land, are emerging as centers for urban agriculture initiatives-in essence, becoming laboratories for the future role of urban food production in the postindustrial city.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: American Planning Association (Planners Press) (April 16 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932364919
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932364910
  • Product Dimensions: 27.7 x 21.3 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #527,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Kimberley Hodgsonis manager of APA's Community Health Research Center

Marcia Caton Campbellis the Milwaukee director of the Center for Resilient Cities 

Martin Bailkeyteaches in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful for a select audience April 16 2011
By P. Troutman - Published on Amazon.com
The new APA report on urban agriculture is something that a select audience of policy-makers might find useful in their day jobs. I emphasize day jobs in hopes that the people who would benefit have access to their employer's book budget because it's hard to justify its cost if you had to pay out of pocket. (The `product details' on this webpage seem pretty accurate: it's not a big book and it has a lot of glossy pictures, so the cost per page is substantial.)

The book really has three main parts. The first is an overview of urban agriculture, which probably isn't going to be that informative to people engage in policy on the subject (but can serve as a credible introduction to those that aren't). One of the things that really became clear to me in reading this argument for urban ag is just how thin the research in support of it is. It'll probably be up to academics to (someday) provide a rigorous analysis of whether this is really an effective and sensible strategy to improving cities.

The second part is on how urban ag can be incorporated into local municipal policies. To those engaged in local planning, this is unlikely to hold many surprises: it's a matter, on the public sector side, of working urban ag into plans, zoning codes, etc., and on the private or non-profit side (usually), of documenting the local foodshed , with all sectors working to establish a vision. But again, I could imagine if I had a huge budget, that there are some people that I work with that I'd like to give copies of this report to make sure that we're all on the same page.

The third part is the best. It includes 11 moderately brief case studies of Canadian and US cities' policy experiences with urban ag. A couple of points shine through: first, most of what has happened has actually happened in the last several years. Some progressive cities like Seattle have been doing things for years, but it's only been recently that there's been a serious bandwagon effect. What I like about these case studies is that they mostly lack the cheer-leading mentality of so many planning case studies and instead are realistic about the challenges of doing urban ag policy. (It seems like the wall that a lot of places run into is a deep aversion to freeing up regulations covering _commercial_ urban ag efforts enough that they can actually thrive.)

The report also has a number of appendices that can point the reader toward municipal urban ag policies throughout the US and Canada, though for the ones that I've looked at previously I'm not sure I'd emphasize the same points that they put in their short summaries. Just knowing what cities to look at, however, can be pretty useful and the time saved by them is probably the biggest justification for purchasing this.

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