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Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2097; doi:10.3390/su9112097

Fostering Multi-Functional Urban Agriculture: Experiences from the Champions in a Revitalized Farm Pond Community in Taoyuan, Taiwan

1
Department of Landscape Architecture, Chung Yuan Christian University, 200 Chung-Pei Road, Chung-Li District, Taoyuan City 32023, Taiwan
2
Department of Cultural and Creative Industries, Hung Kuang University, 1018 Sec. 6, Taiwan Boulevard, Shalu District, Taichung City 43302, Taiwan
3
Liberal Arts Center/Department of Nursing, Da-Yeh University, 168 University Road, Dacun, Changhua 51591, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 11 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
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Abstract

Urban agriculture (UA) with its multi-functional roles has recently become a globally important topic, as it is considered as an approach to address the emerging challenges to societies seeking greater sustainability. In Taiwan, the Hakka community of Gaoyuan in Taoyuan City, where a traditional farm pond was recently transformed into a public, multi-functional UA resource, is widely regarded as the first successful bottom-up, community-led, farm-pond-based UA in Taiwan, yet its actual performance is rarely explored in any depth. Little work has been done to provide details on the socio-ecological benefits of UA in the community redevelopment process. Through in-depth interviews, fieldwork, and participant observation, this specific qualitative study aims to explore the community champions’ experiences in the transformation leading to a revitalized community. First, by linking nearby nature to people, a green network of diverse spaces, low-impact landscaping, and an agricultural-community-like pondscape, the specific landscape character that makes UA in Gaoyuan distinctive is formed. Second, through active engagement, participation, and the agency of local people, the UA implementation process features cooperative working, mutual learning, and experience-sharing. Third, UA plays a crucial role in building social cohesion that promotes people’s participation in community affairs, and strengthens the community’s social network, which involves agricultural life, crop production, the ecological environment, and community care. It is revealed that the farm-pond-based UA with its multi-functional roles acts as a catalyst for the Gaoyuan community’s progress toward sustainability. The desired end-state of the agricultural landscape, as a synthesis of natural features and human interventions, is a more sustainable, characteristic, well-maintained and united place to fulfill people’s needs and enhance people’s overall health and well-being. View Full-Text
Keywords: agriculture landscape; green infrastructure; health; social cohesion; well-being agriculture landscape; green infrastructure; health; social cohesion; well-being
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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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Chou, R.-J.; Wu, C.-T.; Huang, F.-T. Fostering Multi-Functional Urban Agriculture: Experiences from the Champions in a Revitalized Farm Pond Community in Taoyuan, Taiwan. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2097.

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