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Toward a systemic analysis of city-agriculture interactions in West Africa: A geography of arrangements between actors

Robineau O.. 2015. Land Use Policy, 49 : p. 322-331.

Despite the importance of urban agriculture in developing countries, urban agriculture is not well understood by public authorities. This lack of knowledge impedes its inclusion in public policies of urban planning. A substantial body of literature deals with urban agriculture but little research has analyzed the multidimensional city-agriculture interactions facilitating its enduring presence within the city. We suggest the hypothesis that informal processes are at the core of the persistence of urban agriculture and propose the concept of socio-spatial arrangements (SSAs) between the actors. To study urban agriculture in Bobo-Dioulasso, a West African city, we propose to develop a geography of arrangements to understand the social and spatial characteristics of SSAs and the way they influence urban agriculture development. Taking the example of market gardeners and pig breeders, we highlight how farmers overcome urban constraints through localized social networks. Results show that arrangements between the actors are at the core of the persistence of urban agriculture. We underline two different socio-spatial morphologies (SSMs) of urban agriculture according to differences in urban agriculture characteristics. These SSMs illustrate how market gardeners and pig breeders integrate differently into the urban space. The systemic approach of studying arrangements between actors helps us understand how urban farming activities function, and how they are connected to each other and to the urban and regional system, thus building a picture of an agri-urban system. We discuss the policy and theoretical implications of this research. This study is aimed at providing a better understanding of urban agriculture that can enhance its consideration as a viable component of the city. (Résumé d'auteur)

Thématique : Agriculture - Considérations générales; Sociologie rurale et sécurité sociale; Economie et politique foncières; Géographie

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