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Project

The Resilience of Urban Agriculture in Industrialising Societies: a social-agrosystemic approach applied on 19th-century Belgium.

Urban agriculture in periods of rapid urban growth is confronted with the encroachment of urban open space, but also with more mouths to be fed. Previous studies could not explain why urban agriculture disappeared in some areas and survived in others, because they either focused on one aspect of it (like market gardening) or studied only one city and ignored household economics. My hypothesis is that a fuller understanding of urban agriculture can only be obtained by accounting for the social organisation of urban food production. Therefore, I propose the analytic tool of 'Social Urban-Agricultural Systems' (SUAS), in which income strategies of different categories of urban food producers in correspondence to several macro-conditions, determined the resilience of urban agriculture in a particular urban context. 19th-century Belgium as the first industrialising country on the Continent is an ideal case to study urban food production strategies in different types of cities. The SUAS-concept will be tested by scrutinising the impact of macro-conditions (access to land, size and shape of a city, a city's economic orientation, type of nearby agro-system, transport improvements and market access) at country-level (based on census data), and further clarified by a micro-investigation at household level (by probate inventories in sample years and cities) to explain how different configurations of urban food production answered the challenges and opportunities of urban growth. -
Date:1 Oct 2016  →  28 Feb 2018
Keywords:URBAN AGRICULTURE
Disciplines:Economic history, History