urban farming

Urban agriculture: the arm of ecological urban planning?

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How should urban agriculture be integrated into the planning of tomorrow's sustainable city? How are urban agriculture projects beneficial to this planning, and in what ways should they be integrated? What are the limits to the implementation of these projects?... All these points are addressed in the white paper "Plan de relance de l'agriculture urbaine". The book is intended to demonstrate how urban agriculture can be seen as the arm of ecological urban planning in many respects. Published by Merci Raymond - an eco-responsible company and pioneer in greening and urban agriculture. (1) This white paper contains several case studies (both successes and failures).

The benefits of urban agriculture are undeniable, and are ecological, social and educational in nature: creating social links, reconnecting with the living world, preserving biodiversity, creating green spaces, soil decontamination...; it helps to meet certain urban planning challenges and combat urban sprawl, but the development of these projects is limited because they are not integrated into global strategies for urban ecological transition, due to technical, environmental and governance limitations. Possible tools for integrating urban agriculture into public policies include specific funding, adaptation of PLU, SCOT and PAT...

The research in this white paper is therefore focused on understanding how urban agriculture can be integrated into the planning of tomorrow's sustainable city. To do this, we must first demonstrate the benefits of these installations for the city and its inhabitants. These are numerous, not only from an ecological point of view, but also from an educational one, creating social links and integration, as well as adapting the city to new challenges such as de-industrialization or the reduction of artificialization.

Nevertheless, it has to be said that urban agriculture is not really integrated into city planning. Projects are still being developed on a limited scale. To understand the reasons for this observation, we need to set out its limitations. They are numerous: ecological, technical, but above all economic and legal.

In this paper, these various limitations are illustrated by examples of failed UA projects. Following an international study of the integration of UA into urban planning, the analysis proposes solutions to encourage the development of UA in the city fabric, based on the benefits it offers for the city's sustainability, while seeking to overcome the detailed limitations. These solutions lie in "bottom-up" governance, in training elected representatives to choose sustainable, impactful projects, in supporting aesthetic, inclusive projects, in new financing methods, but also and above all in revising existing legal mechanisms, such as PLUs.

This study is therefore a synthesis and analysis of academic documents assessing the impact of urban agriculture on urban planning, from a geographical, economic, ecological and sociological point of view.

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A comparative, multidisciplinary and international study of academic works on urban agriculture has enabled us to list the benefits of this practice for sustainable city planning, as well as the limiting factors to its development in recent years. These academic documents were validated, supplemented or qualified by interviews with French players specializing in the field. This in-depth study of the discipline, accompanied by case studies of projects around the world, has enabled us to list a number of solutions.

So, to truly integrate urban agriculture into the planning of tomorrow's sustainable city, we need to support inclusive, aesthetic urban agriculture, but also modify existing legal tools and economic financial support to better adapt them to the specificities of the practice, set out in this study.

These recommendations have remained global, as each plan is specific to its territory, and the importance of supporting UA projects "from below" clearly shows that each recommendation must be adapted to local contexts. In the coming years, this study could be pursued by analyzing the impact of the bioclimatic PLU on the development of UA projects: is this recent initiative a vector for better integration of sustainable urban agriculture projects?

White paper available on Merci Raymond website

(1) Founded in 2015, Merci Raymond is an eco-responsible company specializing in urban (re)greening and the development of urban agriculture. With Greater Paris as its first field of application and a first regional office set up in Marseille in early 2022, then in Bordeaux, Merci Raymond is now spreading throughout France. Since its creation, Merci Raymond has carried out over 700 projects, stimulated 25,000 green thumbs, and planted more than 150,000 plants. Its most emblematic achievements include the greening of the Wojo coworking spaces, the creation of the 1st green cube dedicated to natural disconnection at Station F, the Green Borne project in Grigny (Essonne), the greening of 3,000m2 of productive roofs at the Metal 57 - BNP Paribas headquarters, landscaping to reintroduce biodiversity at the Hôtel Rosalie... as well as several projects for public tenders, such as Réinventer Paris 2, Parisculteurs "Houblon" season 2, Parisculteurs season 3. Merci Raymond was recently awarded two Trophées de l'Agriculture Urbaine and has published a book entitled "Tous acteurs de la Révolution Verte", to be published by Hachette in 2019.

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