Urban agriculture connects agricultural food production to urban needs for energy, health care, recreation, waste disposal and management of urban green spaces. Where urban agriculture connects multiple functions it contributes to optimal use of space in the city.
The main characteristics of urban farming are multifunctional, cross-sectoral and scale binding. Existing examples cover the whole range from small-scale vegetable gardens and city farms to high-tech greenhouses that supply energy to the adjacent residential area. Connected to local production, urban agricultural products and services deliver vital resources to the city and its dwellers. Urban farming differs from conventional agriculture in its social, economic and ecological relationship with the environment. It is not so much the scale or appearance that distinguishes urban agriculture from conventional agriculture; rather, the difference lies in its solidarity with the environment.
Witteveen+Bos assisted the city of Antwerp by informing officials and municipalities about the concept of urban agriculture. Furthermore, a study was conducted in which all urban agriculture initiatives were listed and investigated. Based on the results of this study and in combination with an analysis of the city’s actual cultural and physical characteristics, a strategy was formulated to further improve urban agriculture and facilitate entrepreneurs in urban farming.