Modern cities are characterised by intense human interactions and economic activities that- in many cases- have little or no consideration of the surrounding environment. Every day, the process of urbanisation is becoming more resource-intensive, and the results are grave, including, climate change, the loss of natural fertility of farmland and the loss of biodiversity all over the world. High-consumption modern lifestyles are mainly fossil-fuel powered, relying on resources from the world’s ecosystems: a practice that increases the ecological footprints of cities. This paper aims at exploring means of decreasing the ecological footprints of cities: regenerative urban development practices being some of them. By concentrating on one of these practices, namely urban agriculture, the paper demonstrates how it would be possible to decrease the ecological footprints of cities through its integration on the city level.
It starts out by briefly defining the environmental problems our cities are facing today, then it moves on to explaining the concept of the ecological footprint. It shows how cities could decrease their ecological footprints through simple practices: such as those of regenerative urban development. This is done through demonstrating regenerative practices in different parts of the world, with a concentration on urban agriculture, as one of the most effective regenerative practices. It then moves on to explaining how it could be integrated within a comprehensive system in cities, so as to improve the environmental condition, to work on decreasing the ecological footprint and to start setting the stage for a regenerative city.
De Zeeuw H, Van Veenhuizen R and Dubbeling M. The role of urban agriculture in building resilient cities. Paper for the UK Foresight project on Global Food and Farming Futures. RUAF Foundation (www.ruaf.org)- Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security.
Girardet H. Creating Regenerative Cities. 1st ed. New York, NY and Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge; 2015.
Girardet H. Regenerative Cities. World Future Council, Commission on Cities and Climate Change. Hamburg: HafenCity Universtiy (HCU); 2010.
Hes D, Du Plessis C. Designing for Hope, Pathways to Regenerative Sustainability. 1st ed. New York, NY and Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge; 2015.
RGDU. Smart Cities and Urban Metabolism. Research Group of the Department of Urbanism, Delft University of Technology; 2017. Found in: https://urbanmetabolism.weblog.tudelft.nl
Woo F, Wortmann J, Schurig S, Leidreiter A. Regenerative Urban Development: a roadmap to the city we need. Future of Cities Forum. Hamburg: World Future Council, Climate and Energy Commission; 2014.
WWF, ZSL and Global Footprint Network. Living Planet Report 2016 (LPR 2016), risk and resilience in a new era. Gland, Switzerland; 2016.