Urban food security, urban resilience and climate change

Author: Paul Burton, Kristen Lyons, Carol Richards, Marco Amati, Nicholas Rose, Lotus Des Fours, Victor Pires and Rochelle Barclay
Year: 2013

Extreme weather events are the main source of major disruptions to urban food supplies. Viability and productivity of existing food production systems is also likely to be seriously compromised by local manifestations of climate change. This report contains a broad range of findings from a literature review and interviews with practitioners and policy makers from two case study areas: Melbourne and the Gold Coast. The two case study areas reflect different historical trajectories and patterns of urban growing, and consequently exhibit different opportunities and constraints on urban agriculture, and its potential to become more prominent. To help improve the productivity and quality of food grown in cities, detailed local studies of soil quality, the impact of airborne pollutants, water requirements and crop yields could provide great benefit in developing more detailed downscale projections of the impacts of climate change on food growing potential, in particular cities and urban areas. If integrated and comprehensive plans for building urban resilience are developed in Australia in similar ways to those now being implemented in other mature cities, then the potential of urban agriculture can be further enhanced. However, if urban agriculture is seen mainly as a marginal preoccupation among a green or metropolitan middle class minority, then many of the current barriers to its expansion will remain and it will not be capable of making a more significant contribution to greater urban resilience.

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