Cristina Gil Ruiz
Soil sealing is a major threat to soil resources in Europe and worldwide. Increasing urbanization has a direct impact on soil resources within the cities. Oslo conserves former farmland that has been maintained despite urbanization process. Urban agriculture (UA) is expected to have the potential to become a principal element in urban planning because it can provide multiple social and environmental benefits.
The study explores the potential for UA projects at Bredtvet and Gaustad, two former farmland areas, by focussing on (1) soil quality, (2) current use of the land, and (3) users’ and stakeholders’ desires and perceived challenges to the development of UA.
Gaustad users and stakeholders imagine the area with concrete infrastructure, a pollinator corridor, an edible garden, and conservation of all currently existing land uses. UA projects and other ideas promoting biodiversity are embraced in their visions.
For Bredtvet, it was quite challenging to collect data from user groups. Future initiatives might therefore profit from including a participatory approach and visioning workshops. Nevertheless, a UA visioning space was created based on soil characteristics, sociological analysis and other UA projects.
Oslo may profit from greater consideration of UA. UA may have the potential to become a key strategy in city planning. Improved dialogue and collaboration among public institutions, citizens and the private sector would be required. Departments within public agencies may consider the potential of UA in various respects, such as social, physical, and psychological. Increased funding and more permeability among different sectors in bureaucracy might help Oslo to become a leading sustainable city, where dynamic structures allow for substantial social participation in urban planning.