Food is one of our fundamental needs. It is an integral part of the culture and the driving force to create human settlements.
Today, the distancing of the cities from the food production, and the food industry methods are strongly disputed, due to the natural resources degradation they cause, the food miles, the consumption of enormous quantities of energy and their contribution to the climate change. At the same time, the quality of food distributed to urban populations is poor , also the access to fresh healthy food products is very difficult for the people in many urban area of the planet.
Τhe reconnection of the cities with their food systems, is highlighted, not only as way to increase the access to fresh and healthy food, but as one of the basic characteristics of the sustainable urban settlements.
Urban Agriculture is a very old practice. It has been appeared the same time with the first tries of the man to dwell in settlements and cities. As a phenomenon has been more intense, in periods of crises. Urban Agriculture, during her long history, contributed to confront problems concerning austerity, quality of life; psychological sustention, social cohesion and combating criminality. Parallelly, the ground of the urban vegetable gardens has been a place in the city where politics, ideologies, resistance has been expressed. It is also a place in the metropolitan cities where cultural identities can be maintained.
Although food historically plays an important role in the cities, the architecture and design junction with the production and distribution of food in the urban system is a relatively new field of study. The built environment and the politics of food meet in places where architects and landscape architects integrate in the urban design farmers markets, edible landscapes, vertical food gardens and green roofs, green houses, community gardens and solutions for recycling and recovery of waste in the city and the urban garden.
Ηumanity is called upon to face the dramatic increase of urban populations in the world and the challenges of the Antrhropocene. Urban agriculture has been recognized as “a strong vehicle” for sustain urban resilience, not only because of the production of fresh food in the urban fabric, but because of its positive contribution on a range of urban issues, environmental, social, economic and cultural.
The purpose of the course is to present to the students the phenomenon of Urban Agriculture as it appears in the cities today and highlight the ways urban growing contribute to the urban sustainability and resilience. International examples and cases from the greek cities will be presented. The relation of urban agriculture and urban planning will be discussed, while international examples of “top down” and “bottom up” UA projects will be presented.