Processes of urbanisation tend to marginalise the role of small holders in managing the food-water-energy nexus: farmers and food producing communities are often spatially interstitial, and operate within precarious conditions in which nutrient cycles, energy conservation, water harvest, soil management and food production happen under marginal and residual conditions. Nonetheless, peri-urban areas and the urbanising fringes of metropolitan areas tend to harbour a rich variety of farming practices and there is empirical evidence that urban farmers play a key role as localized and distributed operators of the food-water-energy nexus. ‘Urbanizing in place’ will explore how farming and food growing practices on the metropolitan fringe, threatened by an ever expanding urbanisation, may be reimagined and reconfigured within what we call ‘agroecological urbanism’: a model of urbanisation which places food, urban metabolic cycles and an ethics of land stewardship, equality and solidarity at its core. The project will explore the physical and metabolic context, scenarios for economic valorisation and political processes that can enable alternative metabolic capabilities, and the specific practices and configurations that farmers and food growing communities could develop in order to regain control over resources and claim an active role as agroecological urban food-water-energy actors.

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