Urban Agriculture Projects in Iran: Categories, Challenges and Opportunities
Urban Agriculture and Future Cities
Allameh Tabataba’I University
The urban-agriculture approach is an attempt to reconcile the artificial and natural systems in cities. Especially in today’s socio-economic conditions, the initiation of this activity not only has an environmental and ecological function, but has also become one of the most important urban management measures to increase cultural and social capital as well as the mental and physical health of citizens by providing an arena for the social relations of the urban residents, the exchange of goods and information among citizens, consciousness-raising through the engagement of people from different age groups in processes like planting, growing and harvesting, and so on. Urban agriculture in Tehran was commenced in a scattered manner and in the form of local initiatives, either by official institutions, such as the municipality, with the aim of creating green landscapes and inducing a sense of belonging to the place, or by informal actors, such as farmers, with the aim of entrepreneurship in the area of agro-tourism. Given the occurrence of the Coronavirus crisis and the following shut-down of activity centers and the seclusion of most residents in residential units in cities, citizens are expected to be more attentive to local green spaces, especially neighborhood and urban gardens. this research attempted to provide a typology of urban agricultural projects in Tehran and evaluate the extent to which they have been successful in accomplishing their goals of social and spatial inclusion. Findings showed that although the experience of urban agriculture by official institutions such as the Tehran municipality seems to be effective in terms of improving the fair distribution of green spaces in neighborhoods, it has failed in the production of social life and public access to local resources.