The Potential of Urban Farming for Future Climate-proof neighbourhoods

More Info


Increasing burdens on the earth’s resource systems are affecting not only the well-being of the planet, but also affects human health, safety and security. The increasing population and the aggregation of people in dense urban pockets adds to the pressures on already complex and volatile global systems. Our systems need to adapt and be resilient to not only natural phenomenon such as climate change or the recent COVID crisis, but also resist socio-economic and geo-political disturbances. The global food system experiences many systemic bottlenecks making it susceptible to such disruptions. The dependency of urban populations on external food systems makes these populations vulnerable to systemic breakdowns. Food is a primary physiological need and essential to survival, and it is imperative that everyone world-over has access to affordable, fresh and nutritious diets. In line with this, this research investigated the potential of urban neighbourhoods to be self-sufficient by the introduction of decentralized food systems into these neighbourhoods. The study focused on a case study site in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. The research employed literature studies, data collection, and dynamic simulations to facilitate the creation of a methodology to assess the extent of self- sufficiency attainable. This research was conducted not only in the current context but also in a 2085 future context, to assess the adaptability of the systems to climatic and social changes. With the intent of a holistic approach, energy producing PV systems were introduced along with the food systems, to address its energy demands. The study concluded that the electricity demands of the neighbourhood in addition to the energy demands of the food producing systems, can be addressed by the PV installations. Furthermore, the surface areas afforded to intervention in the case study site were found to be sufficient to address the part of the diet considered in the study and the energy required to be produced to meet these demands. The study also provided insight into the energy demands of various vegetables and their corresponding yields. However, the study also found discrepancies in the results obtained in comparison to reliable scientific and academic literature.