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Food and Agriculture Institute

Understanding Agriburbia

Understanding Agriburbia: Conflict and innovation on the rural/urban fringe

As cities expand, competition for space creates extremely complex landscapes of interwoven and conflicting uses. There is increased interest in land use regimes in order to preserve agricultural capacity and protect farmland. The resulting agriburban zones, defined as suburban forms in which agriculture plays a significant role, are important for food production, affordable housing, and settlement regions for migrant farmers. The impact of the spread of agriburban regions is poorly understood. Drawing on examples from Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Toronto, Ontario, this project explores agriburbia, addressing three objectives:

  1. To document the evolution of agriburban landscapes and compare and contrast their built form and edge effects under different sets of land use regimes,

  2. To evaluate the role of agriburban landscapes in regional food security, and to characterize the contributions of non-traditional agricultural populations to regional food security and farmland preservation,

  3. To evaluate the functioning of wildlands within the agriburban region, and study the conflict between natural ecosystems, agricultural production, and residential uses.



Newman, L., Powell, L., Nickel, J., Anderson, D., Jovanovic, L., Mendez, E., Mitchell, B., & Kelly-Freiberg, K. (2017). Farm stores in agriburbia: The role of agricultural retail on the rural-urban fringe. Canadian Food Studies, 4(1), 4-23.

Newman, L., Powell, L., & Wittman, H. (2015). Landscapes of food production in Agriburbia: Farmland protection and local food movements in British Columbia. Journal of Rural Studies, 39, 99-110.

Newman, L., & Nixon, D. (2014). Farming in an Agriburban ecovillage development: An approach to limiting agricultural/residential conflictSAGE Open, 4(4), 1-10.

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