By Christina D. Rosan and Hamil Pearsall
Growing a Sustainable City? engages with critical questions about the connections between urban agriculture in sustainable cities and explores the complexities of place making and decision making around urban land. A core tension that has existed around urban agriculture in Philadelphia is between the “use” and “exchange” value of these vacant lots. While city officials balance support for urban agriculture with competing land uses, urban farmers want to make sure their gardens have a permanent place in the Philadelphia landscape. Philadelphia provides an interesting case because both urban farmers and city officials have taken steps to institutionalize urban agriculture. This process has come with its own set of challenges that are exacerbated by complicated race and class dimensions of farming across the city. Rosan and Pearsall raise important points about the racial and socioeconomic tensions that arose between the “new wave” of urban farmers and the community members who had been in these neighborhoods for generations. Additionally Rosan and Pearsall pull out a set of lessons from the Philadelphia case that can be applied to other post-industrial cities interested in connecting urban agriculture and urban sustainability.