Why do we keep losing agricultural land to the city?

14 June 2019

Urban Food Futures’ blog raises questions about how peri-urban agriculture can exist with expanding cities.

Urban Food Futures presents some of the thinking discussed in a paper by researchers from France-based think-tank IDDRI and research centre CIRED in the journal Land Use Policy.

Some key messages include:

•The phenomenon of urbanisation and its effect on agriculture is well documented, but the relative weight of drivers are largely unknown.

•Drivers of urban sprawl include economic growth, demographics and migrations and policies such as transport planning.

•Key features that are keeping peri-agriculture alive are high agricultural land prices, profitability, high productivity and low parcel fragmentation.

•Re-thinking density can have a key impact. Cities face dilemmas, for example balancing access to green space in city developments with minimising sprawl.

•Local planning can help but urban sprawl needs to be tackled at the national or regional levels.

Read the full blog post here.


Leon Ballin
Sustainable Food Cities

Sustainable Food Cities is a partnership programme run by

Soil Association

Food Matters

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Sustainable Food Cities is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk 

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