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Special Issue "Assessing the Sustainability of Urban Agriculture: Methodological Advances and Case Studies"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 February 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Esther Sanyé-Mengual

Research Center on Urban Environment for Agriculture and Biodiversity (ResCUE-AB); Agricultural Sciences Department; Bologna University Alma Mater Studiorum
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39 0512096677
Interests: urban agriculture; plant physiology; abiotic stresses; food security

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue calls for papers that contribute to the assessment of the sustainability of urban agriculture, both by advancing methodological approaches and by providing results from case studies. Cities have been identified as an essential element in addressing global concerns, particularly due to the growing population, and food flow is key in the urban metabolism and in the design of future sustainable cities. Resulting from the environmental awareness of the globalized food system and urban social and economic gaps, urban agriculture has grown in recent years aiming at increasing food security while coping with climate change. Urban agriculture ranges from socially-oriented initiatives, which address social gaps (e.g., social inclusion, food deserts) employing low-tech techniques and educational programs, to high-tech for-profit farms, which focus on maximizing yields (e.g., rooftop greenhouse, aquaponics). The sustainability profile of such diverse forms of urban agriculture might consistently vary and contribute differently to the three dimensions of sustainability: Environment, society, and economy. To date, the environmental benefits of urban agriculture as a local production system, the ecosystem services of urban gardens (both environmental and socio-cultural services) or contribution to food security have been evaluated in specific case studies. However, studies covering sustainability assessments of social and economic aspects are limited, as are integrated methods for assessing urban agriculture.

This Special Issue aims at covering this gap by considering papers that evaluate the sustainability of urban agriculture, proposing new methodological approaches, and assessing new case studies that provide new data on the diverse nature of urban agriculture. New methods and data are essential to support decision- and policy-making for the design of sustainable cities. The consideration of the three dimensions of sustainability, integrated analyses, and quantitative approaches are of particular interest.

Dr. Esther Sanyé-Mengual
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • environmental sustainability

  • social sustainability

  • economic sustainability

  • urban gardening

  • rooftop agriculture

  • life cycle assessment

  • ecosystem services

  • sustainable development goals

  • multicriteria analysis

  • social metabolism

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Fostering Multi-Functional Urban Agriculture: Experiences from the Champions in a Revitalized Farm Pond Community in Taoyuan, Taiwan
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2097; doi:10.3390/su9112097
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 11 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
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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
[...] Read more.
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. Full article

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