Document Type


Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Publication Title

Built Environment




This paper investigates the relationship between spatial planning and urban agriculture (UA) – primarily community gardens and market farms – through an equity lens. Significant research has been done on the benefits and challenges associated with UA, focusing on community food security, social justice, and community development; however, the spatial distribution of UA projects and the relationship between their form and the fabric of the urban built environment requires additional research. Using data from the City of Philadelphia, this paper explores two questions. First, what is the spatial relationship between UA-projects and food-insecure neighbourhoods? Second, how does UA form and landscape fit within the urban built environment? Answering the first question involved GIS-based spatial analysis and statistical tests to explore the relationship between UA access and areas with high food insecurity. Answering the second question led to the development of a spatial-typology of UA projects based upon GIS analysis and a qualitative visual inspection process, allowing for discussion on how various forms of UA fit within urban landscapes. Results show that siting UA projects may lead to spatial mismatch issues, and most unstable or temporary UA projects are located in high food-insecure neighbourhoods. By exploring the connections between urban food production, land use, spatial planning, and the built environment, the design of more equitable urban spaces may be achieved.


This article is designated Open Access content by the publisher, Alexandrine Press.