Integrated sustainability assessment of social and technological innovations towards urban food systems

Participation in the ESP EUROPE 2018 regional conference

Next week the ESP Europe 2018 Regional conference “Ecosystem services in a changing world: moving from theory to practice” will take place in San Sebastian, Spain. Susturbanfoods will be present in the session B10b Urban agriculture and ecosystem services (K. Specht & M. Artmann). The experienced researcher of the project, Esther Sanyé-Mengual, contributes as co-author to the following presentations:

  • Urban agriculture and ecosystem services in a nutshell: A recent state of the art

ABSTRACT: Urban agriculture (UA) is increasingly proposed as an environmentally friendly practice and solution, which addresses global challenges including urbanization, public health, food security and climate change. UA can potentially have large environmental as well as societal benefits for cities, such as water regulation, improved food security, or air quality. First studies have investigated the impacts of UA on the quantity, quality, and stability of ES provided. Nevertheless, research on ES of UA is still on an early stage. So far, research on the contribution to ES has often addressed UA as a subtype of either “green infrastructure” or “agricultural production”. Still, existing research has shown, that as highly managed plant communities, UA can exhibit high levels of biodiversity, often exceeding that of other green space areas within the city and that it differs from other green urban infrastructure (e.g. in terms of provision of food, pollination, water management, socio-cultural services). Moreover, UA also shows distinct characteristics compared to agricultural production sites in peri-urban or rural areas and therefore potential provisioning and regulating services may largely differ. This paper critically reviews existing research on UA and their potential to support ecosystem services delivery.

  • Ecosystem services of urban agriculture in Bologna: a perception approach from the society to the manager level

ABSTRACT: During the last decades, the expansion of Urban Agriculture (UA) over European cities has been remarkable. UA has gained multiple functions and been used as a tool in the design of more sustainable cities, where the provision of environmental and socio-cultural ecosystem services (ES) has become a central discourse. Diverse studies have focused on the quantification of the ES provision by different types of UA in cities of developed countries (e.g., “food provision”, “biodiversity”) and some authors have also studied the perceived ES provision by users and gardeners (e.g., UA in Barcelona). However, little attention has been paid to the perception of the society as a whole. This study attempts to provide new knowledge in the evaluation of ES of UA by assessing how the provision of ES by UA in Bologna (Italy) is perceived from the point of view of the society of the managers of specific case studies. A non-monetary evaluation of the ES via a Likert-scaled survey was performed, including 14 environmental ES and 12 socio-cultural ES. The survey was compiled by the general public (n=380) and one manager for each case study (n=6). The expected results will provide data on perceived ES of UA from a global conceptualization in the society to the specific perception of managers of different types of UA. Results will be compared to data from the available literature to identify similarities and differences for different study areas and UA types.


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