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Open Access Assessing the Spatial Connection between Urban Agriculture and Equity

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This paper investigates the relationship between spatial planning and urban agriculture (UA) – primarily community gardens and market farms – through an equity lens. Significant research has been done on the benefits and challenges associated with UA, focusing on community food security, social justice, and community development; however, the spatial distribution of UA projects and the relationship between their form and the fabric of the urban built environment requires additional research. Using data from the City of Philadelphia, this paper explores two questions. First, what is the spatial relationship between UA-projects and food-insecure neighbourhoods? Second, how does UA form and landscape fit within the urban built environment? Answering the first question involved GIS-based spatial analysis and statistical tests to explore the relationship between UA access and areas with high food insecurity. Answering the second question led to the development of a spatial-typology of UA projects based upon GIS analysis and a qualitative visual inspection process, allowing for discussion on how various forms of UA fit within urban landscapes. Results show that siting UA projects may lead to spatial mismatch issues, and most unstable or temporary UA projects are located in high food-insecure neighbourhoods. By exploring the connections between urban food production, land use, spatial planning, and the built environment, the design of more equitable urban spaces may be achieved.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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