Green Neighbourhoods

Urban farming

Urban farming

Image credit: Wolbert van Dijk

Reserve space for community/allotment gardens

Conduct a survey of the demand, and use this inventory to provide spaces of varying size throughout the city for people to grow their own food. By scattering gardens across the city, people are able to garden closer to home, exchange ideas and seeds with neighbours, and stimulate others to participate

Claim land in the city for urban farming

Cities can encourage and educate residents about the temporary development of vacant lots into green oases of food and flowers, they can sponsor events and plants, or they can support community gardening that emerges from resident initiatives. This not only provides healthy food for residents, gets them active and engaged in healthy outdoor activities, but also helps buffer water runoff in neighbourhoods and beautifies otherwise empty holes in the urban landscape. When development does eventually reclaim the land, the city can help residents find a new parcel to garden. Larger parcels of land on the edge of the city where traditional industry is declining can provide more space for market gardens and allotment gardens.

Provide areas for edible green in public parks

Involve nearby residents in the design and maintenance of public green spaces and allow them to share in the harvesting of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Only provide edible plant beds if neighbouring residents are enthusiastic, and keep the design flexible so changes can be made to the gardens as residents and needs change over time.

Reach residents who do not participate directly

Demonstrations for children, programs for the homeless, and food production for shelters are all ways to spread the benefits of urban gardening. Farmers markets bring local producers and consumers in contact with each other, something that city people really appreciate

Provide opportunities for urban residents to grow their own food within the city limits or even within their own neighbourhood.

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Did you know?

Urban farms give more children the opportunity to learn where their food comes from.


Benefits of urban farming

  • A place to grow safe fresh food with lower “food kilometres”
  • Children and adults learn where food comes from
  • Opportunities for social projects for marginalised or socially excluded groups
  • A social element that brings residents from different backgrounds and cultures together

“In Detroit, urban farming has immense potential to catalyze change within the city, create thousands of greatly needed jobs and provide vast quantities of fresh, locally grown produce for the remaining citizens. However, urban farming is only a piece of what creates a successful green and self-sufficient city, and must be integrated with various forms of sustainable development in order to provide a desired result.”

Griffin Felski, Landscape Architect

In new and existing developments


In new development:

Provide space in the city for community gardens and make them an integral part of urban development.

In existing development:
Create temporary community gardens or allow crops to grow on unused parcels of land in the city. This will either stimulate development of the unused lots or act as a catalyst to green more areas of the city.