Title: Literature review on the potential of urban waste for the fertilization of urban agriculture: A closer look at the metropolitan area of Barcelona / Urban agriculture (UA) activities are increasing in popularity and importance due to greater food demands and reductions in agricultural land, also advocating for greater local food supply and security as well as the social and community cohesion perspective. This activity also has the potential to enhance the circularity of urban flows, repurposing nutrients from waste sources, increasing their self-sufficiency, reducing nutrient loss into the environment.
On July 2023, URBAG participated at the X International Conference of Life Cycle Assessment in Latin America (CILCA 2023) with the presentation "Unlocking the potential of municipal solid waste compost for urban and peri-urban agriculture: Nutrient recirculation in metropolitan areas". It was the tenth edition of this conference, which is intended for users of tools based on life cycle thinking at different levels.
On July 2023, URBAG participated at the International Conference of Industrial Ecology (ISIE) with two presentations. Juan David Arosemena presented his research which aims to determine the capacity and environmental impacts of supplying macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium from composting organic municipal solid waste. Gara Villalba presented the A decision approach to evaluate the design and implementation of green infrastructures in urban environments.
On the 17th of March 2023, URBAG conducted a workshop session in the second Edible City Network Conference held in Barcelona. The session was focused in presenting a comprehensive vision of the current urban agriculture challenges and opportunities, by considering both social and environmental perspectives, while employing the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona as case study.
Agricultural perspectives in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona: results from co-creating desired scenarios and the pathways to achieve them7 March 2023
The agricultural land of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona has been reduced from 20% to 8-9% over the past decades, despite urban gardening being supported by municipal actions. Urban agriculture constitutes a nature-based solution to several societal challenges.
Title: Mapping direct N2O emissions from peri-urban agriculture: The case of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona / Geographically explicit datasets reflecting local management of crops are needed to help improve direct nitrous oxide (N2O) emission inventories. Yet, the lack of geographically explicit datasets of relevant factors influencing the emissions make it difficult to estimate them in such way.
Title: Extended use and optimization of struvite in hydroponic cultivation systems / Hydroponic systems are an attractive form of urban agriculture due to their low weight load, inert substrate conditions, and overall better control of plant nutrition and growth. However, gaining urban food sovereignty cannot be at the cost of increasing environmental impacts.
The COVID-19 pandemic unveiled the fragility of food sovereignty in cities and confirmed the close connection urban dwellers have with food. Although the pandemic was not responsible for a systemic failure, it suggested how citizens would accept and indeed support a transition toward more localized food production systems.
Housing estates, that is, mass social housing on middle‐ and high‐rise apartment blocks, in urban areas are found all over the world with very similar constructive patterns and a multiplicity of environmental and socio‐economic problems. Boosting new urban spaces of resource production involves citizens in sites which face social and economic needs.
The Covid-19 pandemic newly brings food resilience in cities to our attention and the need to question the desired degree of food self-sufficiency through urban agriculture. We argue in this essay that this development has widely taken place due to three blind spots in urban planning.
Urban agriculture, while being a promising solution to increase food sovereignty in cities, can lead to an unprecedented discharge of nutrient and fertilizer-related emissions into the urban environment. Especially relevant are nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), due to their contribution to marine and freshwater eutrophication.
Optimizing urban resources through circular economy principles offers the opportunity to close loops and improve production systems, but an assessment of these systems through a combination of circularity and environmental tools is missing from the literature.