Vulnerability Analysis of Urban Agriculture Projects: A Case Study of Community and Entrepreneurial Gardens in the Netherlands and Switzerland

Ladina Knapp, E.J. Veen, Henk Renting, J.S.C. Wiskerke, Jeroen Groot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Small-scale bottom-up urban agriculture (UA) initiatives have a large potential
to improve the quality of life in cities through their impact on ecological and
social processes. However, it is unclear which criteria determine their successful
establishment and continuity. We assessed these criteria for 29 projects in
the Netherlands and Switzerland using a vulnerability analysis framework. We
analyzed biophysical and socio-institutional criteria for project establishment by
conducting interviews with project leaders. Projects were scored for their exposure
to perturbations and their sensitivity and resilience after a perturbation,
resulting in an overall vulnerability score per project. We found that the vulnerability
of UA systems depends strongly on local circumstances. The main perturbations
and causes of vulnerability originate from social-institutional and human
conditions, such as the institutional sphere, assistance of local authorities, and
the determination of project leaders. Different sources of resilience were found,
such as social protest, and project leaders’ adaptation to local circumstances. Biophysical
factors were of less influence as the adaptive capacity of projects provides
resilience against such perturbations. As perturbations are case-specific, targeted
policies would be desirable to support these promising initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalSitopolis : Urban Agriculture and Regional Food Systems
Volume1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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