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Call for papers: The Resilience and Decline of Urban Agriculture in European History

Monday, October 3, 2016 12:18
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Gemüsegarten, Vegetable garden 1716. Click on image for larger file.

We welcome papers on every European region, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century

Organisers: Tim Soens (University of Antwerp) and Erich Landsteiner (University of Vienna)
11-14 September 2017, Leuven, Belgium
Deadline for submissions: 8 October 2016


At the beginning of the 21st century, urban or community agriculture is rapidly gaining importance. All over the worlds urban dwellers are gathering to cultivate crops and vegetables or raise some poultry or pigs, often on a cooperative basis and on tiny plots of ‘marginal’ land. In a urban world characterized by globalizing food markets, social polarization, but also increasing food insecurity, citizens practice urban agriculture in a combined effort to diversify their food supplies, shorten the food chain and strengthen community life. Urban Agriculture is a highly diversified and multi-layered phenomenon, and its roots are both very old and very recent. Throughout European history it has appeared in different shapes and disguises. In some periods of Europe, Urban Agriculture seemed to decline at an early stage, whereas in others urban economies and societies remained firmly based on more or less specialized and commercialized agrarian production until the recent past.

In order to understand the organization, the resilience and failure of urban agriculture in different contexts, this research line aims to develop a comparative and long-term approach, with a particular focus on the actors involved in urban agriculture, their income strategies and the social and economic configurations in which they operate. In order to explain the long-term continuity of urban agriculture in some contexts and its rapid demise in other, the following variables might be questioned:

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