Environmental Benefits and Burdens of Urban ...

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GRØN DYST 2014 Technical University of Denmark

Environmental Benefits and Burdens of Urban Agriculture Relative to Conventional Agriculture
Author:I.M. Valentin Christiansen (DTU Environment, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark)
Date: 2014-06-27     Track: Main     Session: 1

The goal of this project is to generate a comparison of urban agriculture and conventional (rural) agriculture by evaluating the similarities and differences. The different types of urban agriculture systems are divided into four archetypes covering all from rooftop greenhouses to allotment gardens. These archetypes are then compared to similar types (i.e. producing the same or similar crops) of conventional agriculture. The project is divided into two phases. The first phase and the primary objective of the project is to compare the inputs (pesticides, fertilizer etc.) and outputs (grey water, yield etc.) to/from the agricultural systems. The impacts of the different inputs and outputs on the surrounding environment are then estimated yielding a rough picture of what happens when e.g. waste streams and emissions are moved from rural areas into an urban environment. The second phase is an evaluation of the potential effects on human health posed by crops produced in an urban environment. Phase two will be undertaken by evaluating crop uptake of selected pollutants in soil and air (through a literary study) combining it with knowledge about the human diet. This will give an estimate of the potential human health challenges posed by farming in polluted urban areas. Lastly the two phases are compared allowing a multi-angle discussion of the pros and cons of urban farming.