Call for papers on “Critical perspectives on Edible Urban Landscapes”

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Cardiff, 2018

Session sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group

Session Convenors: Rebecca St. Clair (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Michael Hardman (University of Salford)

In recent years, Urban Agriculture (UA) literature has moved beyond an advocacy perspective with numerous critical and food justice scholars highlighting potentially problematic aspects of the practice (e.g. Heynen, Kurtz, & Trauger, 2012; McClintock, 2017; Tornaghi, 2014). Authors have drawn attention to the potential for UA initiatives to contribute towards the stimulation of gentrification and to further entrench neoliberal structures through the provision of services traditionally offered by the state (DeLind, 2014; Ghose & Pettygrove, 2014), while a characteristically heavy reliance upon volunteer labour has raised questions regarding the practice’s role in the development of a more socially just food system (Rosol, 2012). Furthermore, while UA is recognised for its associated therapeutic, health, community and social benefits, the significance of its impact on urban food systems has been questioned (Bell & Cerulli, 2012) and it is unclear whether cities – particularly those in the Global North – can effectively feed their citizens through the practice of UA.

This session seeks to explore critical perspectives of UA research and would particularly (but not exclusively) welcome presentations on the following areas:

  • The success of funded institution-led UA projects (as compared with grassroots activities)
  • The nature and use of dynamic city spaces – the potential for temporary or ‘meanwhile’ urban growing sites
  • Productive urban landscapes – the ability of UA to feed cities
  • UA and food poverty – the potential for productive urban landscapes to contribute towards a more just food system and to alleviate urban food insecurity
  • UA and volunteering – the role of UA in empowering communities (or otherwise)

Please send abstracts of a maximum of 250 words to Rebecca St. Clair ( and Michael Hardman ( by 4pm on Friday 9th February.


Bell, S., & Cerulli, C. (2012). Emerging community food production and pathways for urban landscape transitions. Emergence: Complexity and Organization, 14(1), 31.

DeLind, L. B. (2014). Where have all the houses (among other things) gone? Some critical reflections on urban agriculture. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 30(1), 3-7. doi:10.1017/S1742170513000525

Ghose, R., & Pettygrove, M. (2014). Urban Community Gardens as Spaces of Citizenship. Antipode, 46(4), 1092-1112. doi:10.1111/anti.12077

Heynen, N., Kurtz, H. E., & Trauger, A. (2012). Food Justice, Hunger and the City. Geography Compass, 6(5), 304-311. doi:10.1111/j.1749-8198.2012.00486.x

McClintock, N. (2017). Cultivating (a) Sustainability Capital: Urban Agriculture, Ecogentrification, and the Uneven Valorization of Social Reproduction. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 1-12. doi:10.1080/24694452.2017.1365582

Rosol, M. (2012). Community Volunteering as Neoliberal Strategy? Green Space Production in Berlin. Antipode, 44(1), 239-257. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8330.2011.00861.x

Tornaghi, C. (2014). Critical geography of urban agriculture. Progress in Human Geography, 38(4), 551-567.


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