Global urbanization and food production in direct competition for land: Leverage places to mitigate impacts on SDG2 and on the Earth System

Author(s): Barthel, S., Isendahl, C., Vis B.N., Drescher, A., Evans, D., van Timmeren, A.
In: The Anthropocene Review 1–27, DOI: 10.1177/2053019619856672
Year: 2019
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Urban
Link to centre authors: Barthel, Stephan
Full reference: Barthel, S., Isendahl, C., Vis B.N., Drescher, A., Evans, D., van Timmeren, A. 2019. Global urbanization and food production in direct competition for land: Leverage places to mitigate impacts on SDG2 and on the Earth System. The Anthropocene Review 1–27, DOI: 10.1177/2053019619856672

Summary

Global urbanization and food production are in direct competition for land. This paper carries out a critical review of how displacing crop production from urban and peri-urban land to other areas – because of issues related to soil quality – will demand a substantially larger proportion of the Earth’s terrestrial land surface than the surface area lost to urban encroachment. Such relationships may trigger further distancing effects and unfair social-ecological teleconnections. It risks also setting in motion amplifying effects within the Earth System. In combination, such multiple stressors set the scene for food riots in cities of the Global South. Our review identifies viable leverage points on which to act in order to navigate urban expansion away from fertile croplands. We first elaborate on the political complexities in declaring urban and peri-urban lands with fertile soils as one global commons. We find that the combination of an advisory global policy aligned with regional policies enabling robust common properties rights for bottom-up actors and movements in urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) as multi-level leverage places to intervene. To substantiate the ability of aligning global advisory policy with regional planning, we review both past and contemporary examples where empowering local social-ecological UPA practices and circular economies have had a stimulating effect on urban resilience and helped preserve, restore, and maintain urban lands with healthy soils.

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
SE-10691
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70
info@stockholmresilience.su.se

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201