What is the role of local and central government in promoting sustainable urban agriculture? The cases of Dar es Salaam and Copenhagen

Start date: 29 January, 2012 End date: 30 April, 2012 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A13237 Countries: Tanzania Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Afton Marina Szasz Halloran Total grant: 15,000 DKK


As a multifunctional activity and land use, urban agriculture supports a variety of social, economic, political, environmental, and health objectives, like urban greening and food security. However, it is often left out of urban policy. This is due to a relatively new relationship between government and agriculture in the city. As a result of the highly contextual and crosscutting nature of urban agriculture there are relatively few comprehensive and formalised regulatory tools to draw from, especially outside of North America. As a result, different cities around the world are deciding how to fit urban agriculture into the urban agenda. Nonetheless, in many places urban agriculture continues to operate in the absence of legitimization due to its relatively mobile and dynamic nature. This article seeks to understand the importance of local and central governments in promoting sustainable urban agriculture. Through participatory action research it examines the cases of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Copenhagen, Denmark in order to understand stakeholder interactions, as well as the present and future barriers to the conservation of existing urban agriculture, and development of future initiatives. Furthermore, a discussion of their commonalities will be made in order to demonstrate the barriers and challenges that exist regardless of the differences between the two cities. The findings suggest that municipal recognition and institutional support for urban agriculture is an important component in increasing the sustainability of related initiatives. Central government also largely influences urban agriculture, as it is often responsible for the creation of laws and policies that can either hinder or promote the outcomes of urban agriculture. Drawing from this, the article argues that municipal and central government interactions with urban agriculture are essential for sustainable development in urban agriculture. However, not all interactions have positive outcomes, and some can create major barriers to entry, such as the use of the precautionary principle and imbalanced top-down and bottom-up processes.