This project will address the environmental sustainability of food systems in the context of urban settings and through the analysis of resource flows. The primary goal will be to better understand the potential for the reduction of overall material and energy flows through the development of urban agriculture and the provision of safe and high quality food to urban residents. The methodological approach involves the development and refinement of a hybrid urban-metabolism Life Cycle Assessment methodology (UM-LCA) to be employed as a means of quantifying environmental impacts of the overall urban food systems as well as novel urban agriculture typologies.
Major elements of the project are to develop a classification scheme for the different typologies of urban agriculture; further development of the UM-LCA model to improve its quantification power through the incorporation of hybrid economic-input-output LCA (EIO-LCA) model properties; to develop an improved understanding of how urban agriculture can affect the urban ecology of cities and which types of urban agriculture (e.g. integrated, organic, conventional) and urban agricultural production forms (e.g. community gardens, vertical farms, etc.) are best suited for various urban environments.
Thus, the project offers specific technology and policy recommendations that target the most effective pathways toward resource efficient, safe and economically viable urban agriculture typologies.