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Thesis: Sustainability assessment of urban rooftop farming using an interdisciplinary approach

This thesis by PhD student Esther Sanyé-Mengual (Autonomous University of Barcelona) discusses urban rooftop farming, its potential and its associated environmental impacts and economic costs.

Excerpt from abstract

This dissertation seeks to answer two main research questions “What is the potential of urban rooftop farming in qualitative and quantitative terms?” and “What are the environmental impacts and economic costs of urban rooftop farming systems?”. With this goal, a methodological framework is proposed and three case studies are analysed, which are pilot experiences of different forms of urban rooftop farming.

Food production in cities is a complex system that involves several stakeholders, has multiple scales and affects the three dimensions of sustainability (environment, economy, society). …. This dissertation follows an interdisciplinary framework that includes (a) qualitative research, to deepen in the perceptions of the different stakeholders related to UA and URF; (b) geographic information systems (GIS), to identify and quantify the available and feasible roofs for implementing rooftop farming; (c) life cycle assessment (LCA), to quantify the environmental burdens of rooftop farming systems; and (d) life cycle costing (LCC), to quantify the economic costs of URF. This framework enables to approach URF from the city scale (e.g., planning perspective) to the system scale (e.g., food products).

You can find the full thesis here.

If you found this thesis interesting, you might want to read the blog-post by Professor Michael Hamm on Indoor vertical farms and his subsequent blog-series on City region food systems

For more related resources, take a look at this research library category on urban agriculture.

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