Land use and urban policy analysis for implementing urban agroforestry, a cross-border analysis in European cities



Publication Date

August 2022


As agroecology movements are emerging in the world to mitigate economic, social and environmental vulnerability it has become urgent to search for long term tools and regulations to create sustainable agroecosystems well adapted and integrated in the landscape. This paper assesses the different problematics and challenges in implementing agroforestry systems in the urban landscape. Agroforestry is defined as the deliberate plantation of woody perennials with non-woody perennials on a same unit of land for ecological and economic purposes (Nair R., 1993). If the tree plantations and movements to plant food in the cities contribute to creating attractive cities and providing a good image of the city, they often depend on political parties and decision-makers' will to adapt cities to climate change and increase green spaces and biodiversity in the cities. There is a need to assess how agroforestry systems can be part of urban planning policies and agendas and complex projects for greening cities with multifunctional green spaces. Greenways appear to be good agendas to include agroforestry projects in. Indeed greenways are systems and/or networks of protected lands that are managed for multiple uses including: nature protection, biodiversity management, water resources, recreation, and cultural/historic resource protection (Ahern J., 1995). This paper suggests a cross-border analysis of regulations, policies, environmental constraints and land use changes for implementing agroforestry in cities through -the case of Rennes, Nantes, Donzdorf, Liege and Budapest. Field trips in urban and peri-urban agroforestry community gardens helped understand the functions of this practice in cities and its benefits such as waste management, regeneration of urban soils and dynamising under-managed landscapes, crop and production diversification and protection of seed, assessment of new plantations and tree species according to the climate change scenarios and the need in growing local food and materials with less dependency on importations. Participative designs, community bonding, reflection on policies, consumption, governance systems and lifestyles and exchange of knowledge. Besides these benefits, urban agroforestry can contribute to creating therapeutic green spaces and social inclusion. This article also assesses how agroforestry projects could contribute to a greenway system? The methodologies used are questionnaires, interviews, maps and policy analysis. The results are that agroforestry systems in greenways can help in providing equal access to productive green spaces in the cities and link them to the peri-urban areas. This paper concludes with a call for more cooperation in agroecological landscape planning and management for creating agroecological landscape networks with social inclusion through public participation and the inclusion of civic organisations and citizens in the planning process and governance system.