Assessing Ecosystem Services and Job Opportunities in Peri-urban Agriculture Start-Up Projects

Ambrogio Zanzi*, Federico Andreotti, Valentina Vaglia, Sumer Alali, Francesca Orlando, Stefano Bocchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Significant socio-economic changes have occurred in the last decades: among all, increased migration from rural to urban areas. It appears clear that there is a need for resilient cities, capable of combining economic and environmental sustainability. Agroecological practices, as a reduction in agrochemicals input and extended use of living fences and tree rows, can improve environmental quality, assuring ecosystem services and urban food systems, and foster local productions and socio-economic tissue, improving the overall quality of life. That is the approach of the “Urban Innovative Action” OpenAgri project, aimed at the restoration of a 35-ha peri-urban area in Milan (Italy), thanks to the creation of a start-up incubator focused on food production and at the agroecological transformation of the area. This work focuses on the quantification and the evaluation of strategies for enhancing ecosystem services and investigating their link with job opportunities. Thanks to the Pareto Front algorithm and Principal Component Analysis, we were able to understand which start-up approach could provide both new job positions and better ecosystem services. In the research, OpenAgri emerges clearly as one of the first case studies which combine urban requalification with socio-economic issues, representing a scalable strategy in other areas, to solve the increasing need for sustainability. Our results highlight that a multidisciplinary approach is needed, both to stay on the market and to supply ecosystem services, combining productive, social and environmental initiatives, resulting in the more suitable solutions to enhance the value of urban and peri-urban ecosystems, while addressing the actual socio-economic themes and creating new jobs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Forms of Urban Agriculture: An Urban Ecology Perspective
EditorsJessica Ann Diehl, Harpreet Kaur
ISBN (Electronic)9789811637384
ISBN (Print)9789811637377
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2022


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