A4. Productive urban landscapes – benefits, co-benefits and new modes for planning

Werner Rolf (Technical University of Munich), werner.rolf@tum.de

Simona R. Grădinaru (University of Bucharest)


In this symposium, we want to explore how landscape ecology can provide knowledge for better addressing the relationship between agriculture and the urban environment. We encourage contributions which focus on functions and processes related to productive landscapes, as well as the role of spatial planning on how to address them.


Across Europe, agricultural land use dominates the open spaces. However, impacted by population growth and rapid urbanization, the peri-urbanity undergoes a dynamic of chaotic development. In the context of increasing concerns over the depletion of food providing areas and raising awareness on human well-being, it is imperative to generate more and better knowledge on the dynamics of services, disservices, trade-offs and conflicts at the interface between cities and agricultural land.

Linked in subnational regional settings, the urban and agriculture can affect each other in negative as well as positive ways. On the one hand, urban growth leads to land consumption at the cost of productive agricultural land. Between 2000 and 2018, 70% of all land converted to artificial surfaces was farmland, a trend that is expected to continue. On the other hand, agricultural land is increasingly integrated within cities. That is because food provision is not the only service that agricultural lands provide. Co-benefits such as habitat for wildlife and recreation spaces for urban dwellers are equally important. Thus, urban and peri-urban agriculture offer promising pathways to promote transformation towards sustainable development. However, agricultural land may not always be welcomed by urban dwellers and conflicts may arise.

In this symposium, we want to explore these different perspectives on changes, effects and mechanisms to manage them. We want to address how landscape ecology can provide knowledge on the relationship between agricultural and cities, with the aim of supporting sustainable land use developments. Contributions are encouraged to address the following questions:

  • What are services, disservices, trade-offs and conflicts of agricultural land and farming in peri-urban contexts?
  • What are the benefits of agroecological transition, ecological intensification and diversification approaches for cities?
  • What are the benefits and shortcoming of integrating farmland into the urban agenda?
  • Which formal and informal instruments do cities adopt for integrating agriculture in their agendas?
  • What are new modes of food production with co-benefits in peri-urban landscapes and for alliances between urban and rural partners?
  • What are new modes to organize collaboration between public agencies, farmers and the public?

The discussions will be structured in two slots based on the following topics:

  • (A) New relations between farming for food production with co-benefits,
  • (B) New modes for planning to support such settings in peri-urban area.


The symposium will exchange ideas and initiate collaboration between researchers of different disciplines involved in landscape management. Pending on the interest of participants a special issue publication could be another output.