Global urbanization and food production in direct competition for land : Leverage places to mitigate impacts on SDG2 and on the Earth System

Barthel, S. and Isendahl, C. and Vis, B.N. and Drescher, A. and Evans, D.L. and van Timmeren, A. (2019) Global urbanization and food production in direct competition for land : Leverage places to mitigate impacts on SDG2 and on the Earth System. The Anthropocene Review, 6 (1-2). pp. 71-97. ISSN 2053-0196

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Global urbanization and food production are in direct competition for land. This paper carries out a critical review of how displacing crop production from urban and peri-urban land to other areas – because of issues related to soil quality – will demand a substantially larger proportion of the Earth’s terrestrial land surface than the surface area lost to urban encroachment. Such relationships may trigger further distancing effects and unfair social-ecological teleconnections. It risks also setting in motion amplifying effects within the Earth System. In combination, such multiple stressors set the scene for food riots in cities of the Global South. Our review identifies viable leverage points on which to act in order to navigate urban expansion away from fertile croplands. We first elaborate on the political complexities in declaring urban and peri-urban lands with fertile soils as one global commons. We find that the combination of an advisory global policy aligned with regional policies enabling robust common properties rights for bottom-up actors and movements in urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) as multi-level leverage places to intervene. To substantiate the ability of aligning global advisory policy with regional planning, we review both past and contemporary examples where empowering local social-ecological UPA practices and circular economies have had a stimulating effect on urban resilience and helped preserve, restore, and maintain urban lands with healthy soils.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
The Anthropocene Review
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The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, The Anthropocene Review, 6 (1-2), 2019, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2019 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the The Anthropocene Review page: on SAGE Journals Online:
?? croplandeconomic globalizationfood securityglobal southglobal sustainabilityhuman resiliencesocial-ecological teleconnectionsoil healthurban and peri-urban agricultureurbanization ??
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Deposited On:
29 Aug 2019 08:05
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 19:39