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Urban Horticultural and Aquaponics for sustainability development in circular economy           
  • Raffaella Vitale
Raffaella Vitale

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Global food production faces major challenges in the future due to population growth, decreasing arable land, risks of soil, water and air contamination and extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Currently, over 50% of the world's population lives in cities. This trend towards population concentration in urban areas increases the pressure on food supply systems and contributes to uncontrolled land use. In these circumstances, the urban agriculture, offers high potential in managing local food needs, in reducing environmental pollution and the use of resources, as well as in the use of abandoned or abandoned areas in urban agglomerations. The current COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of local food production. In fact, the management of the pandemic crisis has resulted in closures with the consequences of interruptions in the food chain in different ways, limiting people's ability to access food, reducing income and increasing job insecurity. This study aims to analyses the evolution of urban agriculture through different approaches ranging from urban gardens to rooftop greenhouses, from vertical farming to insect and algae farming and specifically aquaponics. The potential and opportunities in environmental, social and economic terms of such approaches are highlighted and how they respond to the challenges and emergencies that the world will have to face and will focus on consolidated experiences of cities like New York, London and Bologna in the Italian context. In the detail of urban agriculture systems, attention will be paid to analysing the aquaponic technology that has been experiencing high interest in the last decade. Aquaponics is recognized for its numerous potentials from that of guaranteeing healthy and safe food to the optimization of resources. It shows the perspective for the sustainable development of food production in urban areas and can serve as an essential element of sustainable urban infrastructure in the future vision of cities. However, there are various constraints and gaps that hinder the advancement of these innovative technologies, such as regulatory lack for organic certification, high investment costs and dubious profitability. Another aspect that is reflected in this study is the analysis of the current state with regard to the integration of urban agriculture in the urban planning and building processes. The cities of the future will have to respond to new requirements regarding the integration of a green infrastructure such as urban agriculture in urban planning and bulding, architects and urban planners will have to build spaces in which to allow new relationships with agricultural practices.