Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

Roxana Triboi, one of our winners, shared details of her project on Urban Pastoralism. (source: Petrut Calinescu From the Series 'Living on the edge: Bucharest' 2017)

Productive Urban Landscapes blog celebration: The winners are…

Last month, we celebrated the publication of THE 100TH POST on this blog which happened somewhen in August 2020. We had invited our readers to send us their answers to the question “What is a productive urban landscape?”

Thanks to everybody who responded with their thoughts or congratulations!
It has been (is) a pleasure to compose and curate this blog, and we do hope it will grow and expand as much as its subject is growing and expanding worldwide!

The 5 respondents who send in their answers first are:

Carole Wright, Great Britain
‘A Continuous Productive Urban Landscape (CPUL) is an urban (green) infrastructure linking food-producing spaces of varying scales and operating types right across a town or city thereby connecting those spaces to the citizens as well as to other food system activities and ultimately to the rural land. Bohn & Viljoen (2005)’

Roxana Maria Triboi, France
‘A productive urban landscape is an active food production place, a platform of autonomy where citizens are transforming and being transformed by their environment, a place of  autonomy  and independence from technology and planification, a lively and organic place…´

Sarah Lord, Great Britain
‘As an allotment grower myself, the idea of producing food in spaces in cities really appeals to me. I am particularly interested in people using their own front gardens which have always been more about roses than apples but I love to see an orchard in front of people’s houses. This also counteracts the practice of people paving over their front gardens for parking creating more of a problem of excess surface water that can’t drain away.’

Murray Shelmerdine, Great Britain
Maybe with this triple plague of climate crisis, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, people will begin to get the idea that food, cities and people belong together.’

Jeanette Münch, Germany
‘Eine produktive  Stadtlandschaft produziert nicht nur Essbares für die Ernährung für Menschen, sondern auch für wilde Tiere, wie z.B. Bienen, Hummeln, Wespen, Schmetterlinge, Kleinvögel, Fledermäuse, Mäuse. Die fliegenden Bestäuber sind notwendig, um die Artenvielfalt aufrecht zu erhalten, die Ernährung auf natürliche Art zu reproduzieren und gedeihen zu lassen und auch Honig für Insekten und menschliche Nachkommen zu sammeln. Diese Artenvielfalt und die der Pflanzen, Gräser, Bäume, Stauden produziert auf lange Sicht eine bessere Luft und dadurch vielleicht ein besseres Klima. Zu einem produktiven Landstrich gehören auch kleine Wasseransammlungen (Tümpel) , die durch ein gezieltes Management Wasser auffangen und so auch ggf. wieder welches produzieren, z.B. als Wassernebel in den Morgenstunden. Auch der Tümpel produziert ein anderes Klima sowie eine Artenvielfalt (Libellen, Mücken und sonstige Kleinflieger) und ermöglicht vielen Tieren, sich zu laben und ihre Tätigkeit der Bestäubung auszuüben oder als Futter für z.B. Fledermäuse zu dienen. Auch Ameisen produzieren einen Flecken Natur, indem sie aufräumen. Eine produktive Landschaft produziert also für Alle etwas und nicht nur etwas zu Essen! Vieles wird produziert, ohne dass wir Menschen es selbst merken. Aus diesem Grund ist eine produktive Landschaft nicht gleich Landwirtschaft oder Urban Gardening oder Kleingarten für mich, sondern etwas noch Größeres, Ganzheitliches!
[A productive urban landscape produces not only food for humans, but also for wild animals such as bees, bumblebees, wasps, butterflies, small birds, bats, mice. Flying pollinators are necessary to maintain biodiversity, to reproduce and grow food in a natural way and also to collect honey for insects and human offspring. This biodiversity and that of plants, grasses, trees, perennials, produces better air in the long run and therefore, perhaps, a better climate. A productive urban landscape also includes small pools of water which, through careful management, collect water and produce it again, for example as water mist in the morning. Ponds also produce a different climate and species diversity (dragonflies, mosquitoes and other small flies) and enable many animals to feed and carry out their pollination activity or serve as food for e.g. bats. Ants also produce a patch of nature by cleaning up. So, a productive urban landcape produces something for everyone and not just food! A lot is produced without us humans noticing it ourselves. For this reason a productive urban landscape is not only agriculture or urban gardening or allotment gardening to me, but something even bigger, something holistic!]’

Thanks again to everybody who participated!
Please continue to keep us company with your informations, comments, questions and thoughts – or just with enjoying the blog!

André Viljoen and Katrin Bohn


Image: Roxana Triboi, one of our winners, shared details of her project on Urban Pastoralism. (source: Petrut Calinescu From the Series ‘Living on the edge: Bucharest’ 2017)

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* food systems* green infrastructure* landscape* urban agriculture

Katrin Bohn • 5th October 2020

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  1. Antonia 25th November 2020 - 14:18 Reply

    Great to read, especially the last answer by Jeanette Münch with the holistic view I like.

    Regards, Antonia

    • Katrin Bohn 28th December 2020 - 08:51 Reply

      Thank you for your comment, Antonia.
      We couldn’t agree more. Jeanette Münch’s vision of productive urban landscapes is indeed what we need to respond positively to big issues, such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
      I wish you a happy (healthy) new year,
      Katrin Bohn

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