Cultivating Sustainable and Healthy Cities: A Systematic Literature Review of the Outcomes of Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture

Nitya Rao, Sheetal Patil, Chandni Singh, Parama Roy, Charles Pryor, Prathigna Poonacha, Mariam Genes  | 2022 


Despite considerable interest in urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) in recent decades, its contributions to urban sustainability and human wellbeing remain contested. This systematic literature review examines the geographical landscape of the peer-reviewed literature on UPA and assesses its reported outcomes on sustainability and wellbeing. Following systematic review protocols, we undertook a two-step literature screening and quality assessment process. From a total of 4,029 articles, based inclusion-exclusion criteria, we filtered 320 articles for quantitative and 86 for qualitative assessment. Quantitative analysis confirmed an exponential increase in literature on UPA since 2015 and a regional bias towards the Global North. The qualitative analysis identified six thematic outcomes of UPA under three sustainability pillars – environmental sustainability; material well-being; labour and livelihoods; land tenure and urban planning; and food and nutritional security as part of economic sustainability; and subjective and relational wellbeing as well as gender and social differentiation as elements of social sustainability. Environmental sustainability was most discussed, followed by subjective wellbeing and food and nutritional security. Gender and social differentiation issues were least represented in the papers. There remain knowledge gaps around how urban policy and planning can recognise, leverage, and scale up the sustainability and wellbeing co-benefits of UPA.