Programme Workshops Urban Agriculture: A Growing Field of Research

Urban Agriculture: A Growing Field of Research

Urban Agriculture – growing food within urban and peri-urban spaces (Smit, Ratta et al. 1996) – is not a new phenomenon, and in fact was the norm until a combination of factors diminished its popularity. These factors include: rising land value and population density in cities (Nugent 2000); industrialisation of food production; and improvements in transport, refrigeration, processing, and storage of food (Mendes, Balmer et al. 2008).

A renewed interest in urban agriculture has seen it rise in a number of different forms including: backyard gardening, windowsill herb growing, rooftop gardening, allotment gardening, community gardening, city farms, and vertical farms. These different types of local food production depend upon different types of communities, from online communities of practice supporting backyard gardeners (e.g. Cityfood Growers  in Australia,; to organisations formed to turn local flood plains into farmland to generate awareness of what and how to grow (e.g. Hackney City Farm  in London, to guerrilla gardening, or organised neighbourhood garden ‘blitzing’ (e.g. Permablitz,

There is a growing interest in exploring design opportunities for urban agriculture in the domain of HCI (E.g. Bohlen and Tan 2004, Odom 2010). Until now the focus has typically been on the more general food and technology experience, where this workshop hopes to move forward the domain of the specifics of growing food and growing communities. The area of urban agriculture presents challenges and opportunities in space and place, safeguards for public health, and environmental stress (Mougeot 1994). Technology has many opportunities to play in the different aspects of growing, and HCI innovations are well positioned to understand and respond to the challenges of the environment in which people grow food.
For more information and how to participate, see the Workshop Website: