The urbanisation of controlled environment agriculture: Why does it matter for urban studies? - Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires et Sociétés Access content directly
Journal Articles Urban Studies Year : 2023

The urbanisation of controlled environment agriculture: Why does it matter for urban studies?

Abstract

This paper critically examines why urban studies should be interested in the emergence of controlled environment agriculture. Over the last decade, there has been significant commercial and urban policy interest in controlled environment agriculture systems for producing food in enclosed environments. Furthermore, there has been a significant expansion in research publications on urban controlled environment agriculture, stressing the novel character of these systems and the complex relationships with the conventional concerns of urban agriculture. The paper subjects these claims to critical scrutiny and then reconceptualises urban controlled environment agriculture as an emergent urban infrastructure of artificial, highly productive microclimates and ecosystems for non-human life designed to increase the productive use of 'surplus or under-utilised' urban spaces. We argue that controlled environment agriculture tries to secure food production through three spatial-temporal fixes: (1) the enclosure move-holding food closer by substituting the increasingly hostile outdoors for the controlled indoors in order to optimise yield, quality, efficiency and the 'cleanness' of the food; (2) the urban move-holding food closer to the city by substituting rural agricultural space for urban space to shorten supply chains and thereby help secure food production and improve its green credentials; and (3) combining 1 and 2, the urban interiorisation move-holding food yet closer still by moving food production into city buildings and intricate infrastructural systems, increasing control by securing total environments. In these ways, the paper shows how urban controlled environment agriculture selectively extends existing logics of urban and rural agriculture and identifies the future research challenges for urban studies.
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Dates and versions

hal-04237600 , version 1 (11-10-2023)

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Simon Marvin, Lauren Rickards, Jonathan Rutherford. The urbanisation of controlled environment agriculture: Why does it matter for urban studies?. Urban Studies, 2023, ⟨10.1177/00420980231200991⟩. ⟨hal-04237600⟩
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