Advertisement

Food Security

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 781–792 | Cite as

Exploring the production capacity of rooftop gardens (RTGs) in urban agriculture: the potential impact on food and nutrition security, biodiversity and other ecosystem services in the city of Bologna

  • Francesco OrsiniEmail author
  • Daniela Gasperi
  • Livia Marchetti
  • Chiara Piovene
  • Stefano Draghetti
  • Solange Ramazzotti
  • Giovanni Bazzocchi
  • Giorgio Gianquinto
Case Study

Abstract

The present work, focusing on the theme of food production and consumption in urban areas, analyses the relationships among three factors: city, human well-being and ecosystems. A case study was carried out addressing the quantification of the potential of rooftop vegetable production in the city of Bologna (Italy) as related to its citizens’ needs. Besides the contribution to food security of the city, the potential benefits to urban biodiversity and ecosystem service provision were estimated. The methodology consisted of: 1) experimental trials of potential productivity of simplified soilless systems in rooftop gardens (RTGs); 2) detection of all flat roofs and roof-terraces and quantification of the potential surfaces that could be converted into RTGs; 3) identification of the city’s vegetable requirements, based on population and diet data; 4) calculation of the proportion of vegetable requirement that could be satisfied by local RTG production; 5) identification of other benefits (improvement of urban biodiversity through the creation of green corridors and estimation of carbon sequestration) associated with the increased area of urban green infrastructure (GI). According to the present study, RTGs could provide more than 12,000 t year−1 vegetables to Bologna, satisfying 77 % of the inhabitants’ requirements. The study also advances hypotheses for the implementation of biodiversity roofs enabling the connection of biodiversity rich areas across and close to the city: these would form a network of green corridors of over 94 km length with a density of about 0.67 km km−2.

Keywords

Rooftop gardens Urban food security Green corridors Urban biodiversity Urban agriculture 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The present research was partially funded with the support of EU projects HORTIS (Horticulture in Towns for Inclusion and Socialisation) and HYBRID PARKS and with the support of Bologna City Council and the Emilia Romagna Region. This publication reflects solely the views of the authors, who are not responsible for any use to which the information contained therein is put.

References

  1. Altieri, M. A., Compagnoni, N., Cañizares, K., Murphy, C., Rosset, P., Bourque, M., & Nicholls, C. I. (1999). The greening of the “barrios”: Urban agriculture for food security in Cuba. Agriculture and Human Values, 16, 131–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antón, A. (2004). The use of life cycle assessment methodology to environmentally assess Mediterranean crops in greenhouses. PhD dissertation, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, A. F. (2003). Linkages in the landscape: The role of corridors and connectivity in wildlife conservation. Gland: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.Google Scholar
  4. Bolund, P., & Hunhammar, S. (1999). Ecosystem services in urban areas. Ecological Economics, 29, 293–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Braat, L. C., & De Groot, R. (2012). The ecosystem services agenda: Bridging the worlds of natural science and economics, conservation and development, and public and private policy. Ecosystem Services, 1, 4–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, K. H., & Jameton, A. L. (2000). Public health implications of urban agriculture. Journal of Public Health Policy, 21, 20–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buczacki, S., & Harris, K. (2005). Pests, diseases & disorders of garden plants. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  8. Burgio, G., Ferrari, R., Pozzati, M., & Boriani, L. (2004). The role of ecological compensation areas on predator populations: An analysis on biodiversity and phenology of Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) on non-crop plants within hedgerows in Northern Italy. Bulletin of Insectology, 57, 1–10.Google Scholar
  9. Davies, Z. G., Edmondson, J. L., Heinemeyer, A., Leake, J. R., & Gaston, K. J. (2011). Mapping an urban ecosystem service: Quantifying above‐ground carbon storage at a city‐wide scale. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48, 1125–1134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davis, S. (1998). Development of the profession of horticultural therapy. In S. P. Simson & M. C. Straus (Eds.), Horticulture as therapy: Principles and practice (pp. 3–18). New York: The Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  11. De Luca, A., & Dever, J. (2011). Italy tomatoes and products report 2011. Rome: USDA.Google Scholar
  12. DESA-UN (2012). World Urbanization Prospect. http://esa.un.org/unup/CD-ROM/Urban–rural-Population.htm. Accessed 9 April 2013.
  13. Comune di Bologna (2014). Iperbole. Bologna Welcome. Sito turistico Ufficiale. http://www.bolognawelcome.com/guida-turistica/indice-completo/params/Ambiente_2/Famiglia_2.01/ref/Localit%C3%A0. Accessed 4 March 2014.
  14. Drescher, A. W. (2004). Food for the cities: Urban agriculture in developing countries. Acta Horticulturae, 643, 227–231.Google Scholar
  15. EU-Environment. (2014). Communication from the commission to the European parliament, the council, the european economic and social committee and the committee of the regions Green Infrastructure (GI) — Enhancing Europe’s Natural Capital COM/2013/0249 final. Bruxelles: European Commission.Google Scholar
  16. Fraser, E. G. G., & Kenney, W. A. (2000). Cultural background and landscape history as factors affecting perceptions of the urban forest. Journal of Arboriculture, 26, 106–113.Google Scholar
  17. Gathmann, A., & Tscharntke, T. (2002). Foraging ranges of solitary bees. Journal of Animal Ecology, 71, 757–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Girardet, H. (1999). Toward urban sustainability. In United Nations Environment Programme’s Cultural and spiritual values of biodiversity (pp. 255–258). Nairobi: Intermediate Technology Publications.Google Scholar
  19. Global footprint network (2005). http://www.ecofoot.net. Accessed 4 March 2014.
  20. Glover, T. D. (2003). The story of the Queen Anne memorial garden: Resisting a dominant cultural narrative. Journal of Leisure Research, 35, 190–212.Google Scholar
  21. Grewal, S. S., & Grewal, P. S. (2012). Can cities become self-reliant in food? Cities, 29, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gurr, G. M., Wratten, S. D., Snyder, W. E., & Read, D. M. Y. (2012). Biodiversity and insect pests: Key issues for sustainable management. Chichester: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jim, C. Y. (2004). Green-space preservation and allocation for sustainable greening of compact cities. Cities, 21, 311–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kaethler, T. M. (2006). Growing space: the potential for urban agriculture in the city of Vancouver. School of community and regional planning. University of British Columbia. bitsandbytes.ca/sites/default/files/Growing_Space_Rpt.pdf. Accessed 4 March 2014.
  25. Khandaker, M. S. I. (2004). Rooftop gardening as a strategy of urban agriculture for food security: The case of Dhaka City, Bangladesh. Acta Horticulturae, 643, 241–247.Google Scholar
  26. Kingsley, J., Townsend, M., & Henderson-Wilson, C. (2009). Cultivating health and well-being: Members’ perceptions of the health benefits of a Port Melbourne community garden. Leisure Studies, 28, 207–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kuo, F. E., & Sullivan, W. C. (2001). Environment and crime in the inner city: Does vegetation reduce crime? Environment and Behavior, 33, 343–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. La Greca, P., La Rosa, D., Martinico, F., & Privitera, R. (2011). Agricultural and green infrastructures: The role of non-urbanised areas for eco-sustainable planning in a metropolitan region. Environmental Pollution, 159, 2193–2202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Leclercq, C., Arcella, D., Piccinelli, R., Sette, S., Le Donne, C., & Turrini, A. (2009). The Italian national food consumption survey INRAN-SCAI 2005–2006: Main results in terms of food consumption. Public Health Nutrition, 12, 2504–2532.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lundgren, J. G. (2009). Nutritional aspects of non-prey foods in the life histories of predaceous Coccinellidae. Biological Control, 51, 294–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Maas, J., Verheij, R. A., Groenewegen, P. P., De Vries, S., & Spreeuwenberg, P. (2006). Green space, urbanity, and health: How strong is the relation? Journal of Epidemiol Community Health, 60, 587–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mahmoud, N., & Mohammed, G. (2012). Green infrastructure connectivity within social sustainability: Case studies around the world. Canadian Journal on Computing in Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 3, 225–232.Google Scholar
  33. Malcevschi, S., Bisogni, L., & Gariboldi, A. (1996). Reti ecologiche ed interventi di miglioramento ambientale. Milano: Il Verde Editoriale.Google Scholar
  34. Matsuo, E. (1995). Horticulture helps us to live as human beings: Providing balance and harmony in our behavior and thought and life worth living. Acta Horticulturae, 391, 19–30.Google Scholar
  35. McClintock, N. (2010). Why farm the city? Theorizing urban agriculture through a lens of metabolic rift. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 3, 191–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Milà i Canal, L. L., Muñoz, I., Hospido, A., Plassmann, K., & McLaren, S. (2008). Life cycle assessment (LCA) of domestic vs. imported vegetables. Case studies on Broccoli, salad crops and green beans. Surrey. UK: University of Surrey, CES.Google Scholar
  37. Miller, J. R. (2005). Biodiversity conservation and the extinction of experience. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 20, 430–434.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Noss, R. F. (1987). From plant communities to landscapes in conservation inventories: A look at The Nature Conservancy (USA). Biological Conservation, 41, 11–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Okvat, H. A., & Zautra, A. J. (2011). Community gardening: A parsimonious path to individual, community, and environmental resilience. American Journal of Community Psychology, 47, 374–387.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Orsini, F., Kahane, R., Nono-Womdim, R., & Gianquinto, G. (2013). Urban agriculture in the developing world. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 33, 695–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Osborne, J. L., Martin, A. P., Carreck, N. L., Swain, J. L., Knight, M. E., Goulson, D., Hale, R. J., & Sanderson, R. A. (2008). Bumblebee flight distances in relation to the forage landscape. Journal of Animal Ecology, 77, 406–415.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Peck, S. (2003). Towards an integrated green roof infrastructure evaluation for Toronto. The Green Roof Infrastructure Monitor, 5, 4–7.Google Scholar
  43. Peck, S., Callaghan, C., Kuhn, M. E., & Bass, B. (1999). Greenbacks from green roofs: Forging a new industry in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.Google Scholar
  44. Perito, M. A. (2006). La distribuzione moderna e il global sourcing: l’acquisto di prodotti orto-frutticoli dai Paesi Terzi del Mediterraneo. Economia Agroalimentare, 3, 1–9.Google Scholar
  45. Ratta, A., & Nasr, J. (1996). Urban agriculture and the African urban food supply system. New York: TUAN.Google Scholar
  46. Roy, P., Nei, D., Okadome, H., Nakamura, N., Orikasa, T., & Shiina, T. (2008). Life cycle inventory analysis of fresh tomato distribution systems in Japan considering the quality aspect. Journal of Food Engineering, 86, 225–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Saldivar-Tanaka, L., & Krasny, M. E. (2004). Culturing community development, neighborhood open space, and civil agricultural: The case of Latino community gardens in New York City. Agriculture and Human Values, 21, 399–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sanyé-Mengual, E., Cerón-Palma, I., Oliver-Solà, J., Montero, J. I., & Rieradevall, J. (2013). Environmental analysis of the logistics of agricultural products from roof top greenhouses in Mediterranean urban areas. Journal of Science Food and Agriculture, 93, 100–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Saunders, C., Barber, A., & Taylor, G. (2006). Food miles - comparative energy/emissions performance of New Zealand’s agriculture industry, research report no. 285. Città: Lincoln University.Google Scholar
  50. Savvas, D., Gianquinto, G., Tüzel, Y., & Gruda, N. (2013). Chapter 19. Soilless culture. In M. Quaryoti, W. Baudoin, R. Nono Womdin, C. Leonardi, A. Hanafi, & S. De Pascale (Eds.), Good agricultural practices for greenhouse vegetable crops. Principles for Mediterranean climate areas (AGP series, Vol. 217). Rome: FAO-UN.Google Scholar
  51. Seyfang, G. (2006). Ecological citizenship and sustainable consumption: Examining local organic food networks. Journal of Rural Studies, 22, 383–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Shin, D. H., & Lee, K. S. (2005). Use of remote sensing and geographical information system to estimate green space temperature change as a result of urban expansion. Landscape and Ecological Engineering, 1, 169–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shrewsbury, P. M., & Leather, S. R. (2012). Using biodiversity for pest suppression in urban landscapes. In G. M. Gurr, S. D. Wratten, W. E. Snyder, & D. M. Y. Read (Eds.), Biodiversity and insect pests: Key issues for sustainable management. Chichester: Wiley. doi: 10.1002/9781118231838.ch18.Google Scholar
  54. Simons, L. A., Simons, J., McCallum, J., & Friedlander, Y. (2006). Lifestyle factors and risk of dementia: Dubbo study of the elderly. The Medical Journal of Australia, 184, 68–70.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Tei, F., Benincasa, P., Farneselli, M., & Caprai, M. (2010). Allotment gardens for senior citizens in Italy: Current status and technical proposals. Acta Horticulturae (ISHS), 639, 51–55.Google Scholar
  56. Tidball, K. G., & Krasy, M. E. (2007). From risk to resilience: What role for community greening and civic ecology in cities? In A. E. J. Wals (Ed.), Social learning towards a sustainable world: Principles, perspectives and praxis (pp. 149–164). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  57. Tixier, P., & de Bon, H. (2006). Urban horticulture. In R. van Veenhuizen (Ed.), Cities farming for the future – Urban Agriculture for green and productive cities (pp. 316–347). Leusden: RUAF Foundation, IDRC and IIRR.Google Scholar
  58. Uslu, A., & Shakouri, N. (2013). Chapter 17: Urban landscape design and biodiversity environmental sciences. In M. Özyavuz (Ed.), Advances in Landscape Architecture. Winchester: InTech Open. doi: 10.5772/55761. ISBN 978-953-51-1167-2.Google Scholar
  59. USP-BO. (2013). Popolazione residente al 31/12/2012 nei comuni della provincia di Bologna per sesso ed età. Ufficio di statistica della Provincia di Bologna su dati delle Anagrafi comunali. Bologna: Comune di Bologna.Google Scholar
  60. Vergnes, A., Le Viol, I., & Clergeau, P. (2012). Green corridors in urban landscapes affect the arthropod communities of domestic gardens. Biological Conservation, 145, 171–178. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.11.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wackernagel, M., & Rees, W. (1996). Our ecological footprint: Reducing human impact on the Earth. Philadelphia: New society publisher.Google Scholar
  62. Wakefield, S., Yeudall, F., Taron, C., Reynolds, J., & Skinner, A. (2007). Growing urban health: Community gardening in South- East Toronto. Health Promotion International, 22, 92–101.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wichrowski, M., Whiteson, J., Haas, F., Mola, A., & Rey, M. J. (2005). Effects of horticultural therapy on mood and heart rate in patients participating in an inpatient cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, 25, 270–274.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wilby, R. L. (2003). Past and projected trends in London’s urban heat island. Weather, 58, 251–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yi-Zhang, C., & Zhangen, Z. (2000). Shanghai: Trends towards specialised and capital intensive urban agriculture. In N. Bakker, M. Dubbeling, S. Guendel, U. Sabel Koschella, & H. de Zeeuw (Eds.), Growing cities, growing food, urban agriculture on the policy agenda (pp. 467–475). Feldafing: DSE.Google Scholar
  66. Zhang, L., & Wang, H. (2006). Planning an ecological network of Xiamen Island (China) using landscape metrics and network analysis. Landscape and Urban Planning, 78, 449–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zhao, T., Brown, D. G., & Bergen, K. M. (2007). Increasing gross primary production (GPP) in the urbanizing landscapes of southeastern Michigan. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 73, 1159–1168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zurbuchen, A., Landert, L., Klaiber, J., Müller, A., Hein, S., & Dorn, S. (2010). Maximum foraging ranges in solitary bees: Only few individuals have the capability to cover long foraging distances. Biological Conservation, 143, 669–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and International Society for Plant Pathology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Orsini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniela Gasperi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Livia Marchetti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chiara Piovene
    • 2
  • Stefano Draghetti
    • 1
  • Solange Ramazzotti
    • 3
  • Giovanni Bazzocchi
    • 1
  • Giorgio Gianquinto
    • 1
  1. 1.DIPSAUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.BiodiverCityBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Faculty of Bioscience and Technologies for Food Agriculture and EnvironmentUniversity of TeramoTeramoItaly

Personalised recommendations