Urban agriculture as a tool for sustainable urban transformation: Atatürk Forest Farm, Ankara
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Sustainable urban agriculture and food planning
There are several necessities for human life to continue: a place to shelter, food to feed, and an income to maintain all. To achieve better conditions and accomplish life many migrate to cities. The concentration of functions in cities while creating a productive and active environment for people, also generates many inequalities. Besides these inequalities, all societies have been trying to fight against two major problems in over-populated cities: poverty and environmental degradation. Poverty and insufficient nutrition have become an important problem for many cities under the pressure of migration, unplanned growth, and urban sprawl. Urban sprawl threatens many environmental resources within the vicinity of cities, including valuable agricultural land, but also intensifies the problems of accessing safe, cheap, and nutritious food. Rapid urbanization and land speculation in urban territories causes land to be transferred into more overpriced uses such as housing, commerce, or even mega-public projects under the stroke of “urban renewal,” and these invalidate agricultural and public land. Unplanned and dense urbanization of land, while creating threats to the basic foundation of human life and human health, causes alienation from the means of production, nature, and natural resources. Cities rose and prospered as a result of fertile land and surplus food in history, but now they undervalue their main motive: nature. Major problems of urban life in relation to food supply in metropolitan cities appear to have changed: food has to be bought, is expensive, and usually unhealthy or not nutritious enough. Access to healthy and fresh food either becomes very limited or very expensive within the boundaries of cities. Though an important and necessary part of family survival and budget, food by itself becomes an expensive product and goes through a laborious process before it reaches the cities and city markets.