Urban Agriculture in the Gauteng City-Region’s green infrastructure network
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As cities in developing countries contend with the challenges of urbanisation, they need to ensure that urban planning and development cater for growing populations without compromising urban environments and social development. A green infrastructure approach can help cities meet infrastructure and service needs while ensuring the proper functioning of natural ecological systems. As part of a green infrastructure network, urban agriculture can create multifunctional green assets in the form of urban farms and food gardens. When planned accordingly, urban agriculture can contribute to addressing a range of issues in the Gauteng City-Region (GCR).
This occasional paper is the result of a research partnership between the GCRO and University College London (UCL), with the support of research consultant Hannah Benn. It aims to gain a better understanding of urban agriculture within the green infrastructure network in the City of Johannesburg. The analysis in this paper adopts a multi-method modelling approach to: (1) identify the interlinkages between urban agriculture and social, economic and environmental systems in the City of Johannesburg; (2) validate these critical interlinkages with stakeholder input and ground-level experience of urban agriculture; and (3) visualise these interlinkages through a spatial analysis of food gardens in the city. The analysis demonstrates the range of ecosystem services that could be delivered when maintaining and investing in these assets.
Productive and carefully planned food gardens may enhance food security, furnish economic opportunities, and support a range of ecosystem services that help address climate change and build disaster resilience through flood management and carbon capture. Of course, urban agriculture will not deal with any of these challenges in their entirety, but as part of a wider green infrastructure approach it has the potential to contribute significantly if mainstreamed into municipal development processes. The paper concludes with recommendations for strengthening policy, management, planning and operational support for food gardens in the GCR.