Did you say urban agriculture in Ghent? (Charlotte Prové): An exploratory case-study

  • Joost Dessein (Promotor)

    Activiteit: OverigeAndere soorten (prijzen, externe en andere activiteiten) - (Co)promotor masterthesis


    The renewed attention and growing enthusiasm for urban agriculture in Western European cities is echoing the pressing need for an increased resilience of our city regions. Urban agriculture is often promoted as a means to confront social, ecological, economic and political challenges. However, ur-ban agriculture is subjected to the local context determining its importance. It appears in many shapes with a wide array of functions. In the process of understanding this amalgam of initiatives and ideas, each city region merits a closer look.
    In this work, which role urban agriculture is playing in Ghent, Belgium will be explored, as it is today and how it will continue in sustainable development. It is asked whether urban agriculture is finding steady ground for a long lasting trend, rather than merely enjoying the attention from a short-lived hype. Is urban agriculture embedded in society through ecological modernization or is it offering al-ternative structures? In order to find out how it can be employed in building environmental resilience, we first need to know how the pioneers and advocates define urban agriculture. They are the thriving force behind the phenomenon and consequently a deciding factor of the urban agriculture landscape. In a second step, it is questioned whether urban agriculture - in its current manifestation - can contrib-ute to a more sustainable development of the city.
    In this exploratory study a content analysis of relevant documents and twenty in-depth interviews with key informants were conducted. The results show that in the initial phase of development the focus is currently more on the presence of urban agriculture than the goals it could fulfill. Although Ghent seems to be a favorable location for urban agriculture, the lack of shared vision and identity of urban agriculture currently do not guarantee continuity and inhibit a significant contribution to the sustaina-ble development of the city region. It is argued that actors should elaborate on the phenomenon hori-zontally as well as vertically.
    Gehouden opUniversiteit Gent, België