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Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 356; doi:10.3390/su8040356

Toward Sustainability: Novelties, Areas of Learning and Innovation in Urban Agriculture

1
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, Institute of Socio-Economics, Eberswalder Straße 84, Müncheberg 15374, Germany
2
Faculty of Life Sciences, Humboldt University of Berlin, 10099 Berlin, Germany
3
agrathaer GmbH, Eberswalder Str. 84, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tan Yigitcanlar
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract

Given the search for new solutions to better prepare cities for the future, in recent years, urban agriculture (UA) has gained in relevance. Within the context of UA, innovative organizational and technical approaches are generated and tested. They can be understood as novelties that begin a potential innovation process. This empirical study is based on 17 qualitative interviews in the U.S. (NYC; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago, IL, USA). The aim was to identify: (i) the most relevant areas of learning and innovation; (ii) the drivers of innovation; (iii) the applied novelties and their specific approach to overcoming the perceived obstacles; (iv) the intrinsic challenges that practitioners face in the innovation process; and (v) the novelties’ potential to contribute to sustainability and societal change. As the results of the study demonstrate, learning and innovation in UA occur predominantly in four areas, namely, “financing and funding”, “production, technology and infrastructure”, “markets and demands” and “social acceptance and cultural learning”. The described novelties include approaches to enhance the positive impacts of practicing agriculture within urban areas, and some of them have the potential to contribute to societal change and open up opportunities for social learning processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: societal change; drivers of innovation; intrinsic challenges; urban farming; qualitative interviews societal change; drivers of innovation; intrinsic challenges; urban farming; qualitative interviews
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Opitz, I.; Specht, K.; Berges, R.; Siebert, R.; Piorr, A. Toward Sustainability: Novelties, Areas of Learning and Innovation in Urban Agriculture. Sustainability 2016, 8, 356.

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