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What's for Dinner?

Description

Food’s implication on culture and agriculture challenges agriculture’s identity in the age of the city. As architect and author Carolyn Steel explained, “we live in a world shaped by food,

Food’s implication on culture and agriculture challenges agriculture’s identity in the age of the city. As architect and author Carolyn Steel explained, “we live in a world shaped by food, and if we realize that, we can use food as a powerful tool — a conceptual tool, design tool, to shape the world differently. It triggers a new way of thinking about the problem, recognizing that food is not a commodity; it is life, it is culture, it’s us. It’s how we evolved.” If the passage of food culture is dependent upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations, the learning environments should reflect this tenability in its systematic and architectural approach.

Through an investigation of agriculture and cuisine and its consequential influence on culture, education, and design, the following project intends to reconceptualize the learning environment in order facilitate place-based practices. Challenging our cognitive dissonant relationship with food, the design proposal establishes a food identity through an imposition of urban agriculture and culinary design onto the school environment. Working in conjunction with the New American University’s mission, the design serves as a didactic medium between food, education, and architecture in designing the way we eat.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Growing a Greener Phoenix: Opportunities and Challenges for Urban Agriculture in the Phoenix Valley

Description

As an important part of the movement for local and sustainable food in our cities, urban farming has the potential to actively involve urban dwellers in environmental, social, and economic

As an important part of the movement for local and sustainable food in our cities, urban farming has the potential to actively involve urban dwellers in environmental, social, and economic issues of a global scale. When assessed according to a three-pillar model of sustainability, it can offer solutions to many of the major problems associated with the industrial food model that currently dominates the United States market. If implemented on a larger scale in the Phoenix metropolitan area, urban farming could improve overall environmental conditions, stimulate the local economy, and help solve food access and inequality issues. Through interviews with both amateur and established local urban farmers, this thesis attempts to identify and analyze some of the main barriers to the widespread participation in and incorporation of urban agriculture in the Phoenix Valley. Problems encountered by newcomers to the practice are compared with the experiences of more successful farmers to assess which barriers may be circumvented with proper knowledge and experience and which barriers specific to the Phoenix region may require greater structural changes.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-12

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Food Insecurity in America: An Analysis of Our Distribution Problem and the Potential of Urban Agriculture

Description

Food insecurity is defined as inadequate access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to maintain a healthy life. In 2013, 49.1 million Americans were food insecure. In a country where

Food insecurity is defined as inadequate access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to maintain a healthy life. In 2013, 49.1 million Americans were food insecure. In a country where there is an overabundance of food being produced, it is abnormal to think of food insecurity as a serious issue. Although we have the means to produce enough food to feed our population, one in seven households in America suffer from food insecurity every day. Although advances in modern agriculture have proven to increase food production, food insecurity continues to grow every year. To address this issue, this paper analyzes the implications of modern agriculture and its ability to solve food insecurity. Furthermore, an analysis of the capabilities of urban agriculture and the potential benefits to solving food insecurity is conducted. By comparing these two agricultural methods, a clear understanding of the proficiencies of urban agriculture for solving food insecurity is outlined. Traditional production and distribution methods are not enough to help solve this issue. Barriers of conventional agriculture need to be broken, and the potentials of urban agriculture need to be introduced. Implementing various instruments for change, such as food policy councils, zoning ordinances, and community gardens, is how urban agriculture will make its way into America's cities and start to solve the food insecurity issue.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Farming for what, for whom?: agriculture and sustainability governance in Mexico City

Description

City governments are increasingly incorporating urban and peri-urban agriculture into their policies and programs, a trend seen as advancing sustainability, development, and food security. Urban governance can provide new

City governments are increasingly incorporating urban and peri-urban agriculture into their policies and programs, a trend seen as advancing sustainability, development, and food security. Urban governance can provide new opportunities for farmers, but it also creates structures to control their activities, lands, and purposes.

This study focused on Mexico City, which is celebrated for its agricultural traditions and policies. The study examined: 1) the functions of urban and peri-urban agriculture that the Government of Mexico City (GMC) manages and prioritizes; 2) how the GMC’s policies have framed farmers, and how that framing affects farmers’ identity and purpose; and 3) how the inclusion of agrarian activities and lands in the city’s climate-change adaptation plan has created opportunities and obstacles for farmers. Data was collected through participant observation of agricultural and conservation events, informal and semi-structured interviews with government and agrarian actors, and analysis of government documents and budgets.

Analysis of policy documents revealed that the GMC manages agriculture as an instrument for achieving urban objectives largely unrelated to food: to conserve the city’s watershed and provide environmental services. Current policies negatively frame peri-urban agriculture as unproductive and a source of environmental contamination, but associate urban agriculture with positive outcomes for development and sustainability. Peri-urban farmers have resisted this framing, asserting that the GMC inadequately supports farmers’ watershed conservation efforts, and lacks understanding of and concern for farmers’ needs and interests. The city’s climate plan implicitly considers farmers to be private providers of public adaptation benefits, but the plan’s programs do not sufficiently address the socioeconomic changes responsible for agriculture’s decline, and therefore may undermine the government’s climate adaptation objectives.

The findings illuminate the challenges for urban governance of agriculture. Farms do not become instruments for urban sustainability, development, and food security simply because the government creates policies for them. Urban governments will be more likely to achieve their goals for agriculture by being transparent about their objectives, honestly evaluating how well those objectives fit with farmers’ needs and interests, cultivating genuine partnerships with farmers, and appropriately compensating farmers for the public benefits they provide.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Underutilized Spaces and Marginal Lands for Sustainable Land Use: A Multi-Scale Analysis

Description

Drawn from a trio of manuscripts, this dissertation evaluates the sustainability contributions and implications of deploying underutilized spaces for alternative uses at multiple scales: urban, regional and continental. The first

Drawn from a trio of manuscripts, this dissertation evaluates the sustainability contributions and implications of deploying underutilized spaces for alternative uses at multiple scales: urban, regional and continental. The first paper considers the use of underutilized spaces at the urban scale for urban agriculture (UA) to meet local sustainability goals in Phoenix, Arizona. Through a data-driven analysis, it demonstrates UA can meet 90% of annual demand for fresh produce, supply local produce in all food deserts, reduce areas underserved by public parks by 60%, and displace >50,000 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions from buildings.

The second paper considers marginal agricultural land use for bioenergy crop cultivation to meet future liquid fuels demand from cellulosic biofuels sustainably and profitably. At a wholesale fuel price of $4 gallons-of-gasoline-equivalent, 30 to 90.7 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels can be supplied by converting 22 to 79.3 million hectares of marginal lands in the Eastern United States (U.S.). Displacing marginal croplands (9.4-13.7 million hectares) reduces stress on water resources by preserving soil moisture. This displacement is comparable to existing land use for first-generation biofuels, limiting food supply impacts. Coupled modeling reveals positive hydroclimate feedback on bioenergy crop yields that moderates the land footprint.

The third paper examines the sustainability implications of expanding use of marginal lands for corn cultivation in the Western Corn Belt, a commercially important and environmentally sensitive U.S. region. Corn cultivation on lower quality lands, which tend to overlap with marginal agricultural lands, is shown to be nearly three times more sensitive to changes in crop prices. Therefore, corn cultivation disproportionately expanded into these lands following price spikes.

Underutilized spaces can contribute towards sustainability at small and large scales in a complementary fashion. While supplying fresh produce locally and delivering other benefits in terms of energy use and public health, UA can also reduce pressures on croplands and complement non-urban food production. This complementarity can help diversify agricultural land use for meeting other goals, like supplying biofuels. However, understanding the role of market forces and economic linkages is critical to anticipate any unintended consequences due to such re-organization of land use.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020