Who should take this course?
Government officers; urban planners and policymakers; representatives
of urban businesses, food cooperatives, community-supported agriculture
organizations, or retailers’ and consumers’ associations; consultants;
academics; and other individuals with particular interest in promoting
1. To acquaint participants with key urban
agriculture elements and unique features, as well as key roles of urban
agriculture in an era of rapidly expanding urbanization;2. To build the capabilities of a critical mass of
stakeholders in knowledge, technologies, and best practices related to
urban agriculture; and3. To improve ecosystem services for and the social well-being of urban dwellers and sustainability of urban areas.
There is an increasing recognition of the potential importance of
urban agriculture. By 2050 69% of the world population will be living in
urban areas, 86% in the developed world. This will create pressures on
essentials like energy, food and water. Using Google’s Earth Engine
software, as well as population, meteorological, and other datasets,
researchers determined that, if fully implemented in cities around the
world, urban agriculture could produce as much as 180 million metric
tons of food a year or perhaps 10% of the global output of legumes,
roots and tubers, and vegetable crops. Besides promoting local food
production and consumption, urban agriculture contributes to disaster
prevention, maintenance of landscapes, citizens’ understanding of
agriculture, children’s education, and the social welfare of urban
dwellers. Urban agriculture also performs several ecosystem services
including reduction of the urban heat-island effect.
Researchers estimated that taken together, these benefits make urban
agriculture worth as much as USD160 billion per year globally, and fully
realized urban agriculture could provide as much as 15 billion kilowatt
hours of annual energy savings worldwide. It could also sequester up to
170,000 tons of nitrogen and prevent as much as 57 billion cubic meters
of stormwater runoff, a major source of pollution in rivers and
streams. In Japan, for example, there are over 63,000 of these parcels
of land with a total area of over 13,442 hectares scattered throughout
the country, but mostly concentrated in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya.
Researchers hope that the multiple benefits of urban agriculture will
encourage other scientists, as well as urban planners and local
leaders, to begin to take it more seriously as a potential force for
1. Each module contains “Module Contents”, “Reference Reading
Material”, and quiz questions for self-assessment. Readers are suggested
to read both module contents and reference reading materials to enhance
their learning experience.
2. Papers saved in the folder “Additional Literature Relating To The Course”
are useful reference materials, but readers are not required to read
these materials for attempting the quiz questions given at the end of
each module and taking the final examination.