A framework for integrating agriculture in urban sustainability in Australia
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Rapid urbanisation all over the world poses a serious question about urban sustainability in relation to food. Urban agriculture can contribute to feeding city dwellers as well as improving metropolitan environments by providing more green space. Australia is recognised as one of the most urbanised countries in the world, and achieving urban sustainability should be high on the policy and planning agenda. A strong consensus exists among policymakers and academics that urban agriculture could be a tenable way of enhancing urban sustainability, and therefore, it should be a vital part of planning processes and urban design as administered by local and state governments. However, in recent decades, planning has overlooked and failed to realise this opportunity. The most significant constraints to urban agriculture are its regulatory and legal frameworks, including access to suitable land. Without direct public policy support and institutional recognition, it would be difficult to make urban agriculture an integral part of the development and planning goals of Australian cities. Developing and implementing clear planning policies, laws and programs that support urban agriculture can assist in decreasing competing land demands. This study analyses the policy and planning practices that can support integrating urban agriculture into city land-use planning. It examines current practices and identifies existing opportunities and constraints. An integration framework for urban agriculture for Australian cities is presented. If implemented, such a conceptual framework would allow improved sustainability of cities by bringing together the advantages of growing food within a greener urban environment.
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