Motivations individuelles dans la pratique de l'agriculture urbaine dans les quartiers défavorisés : trois cas de villes de différents contextes socioéconomiques

Authors: Audate, Pierre Paul
Advisor: Lebel, AlexandreCloutier, Geneviève
Abstract: In the current context of health crisis and climate change, the role of urban agriculture appears increasingly essential in strengthening urban food systems. Its diversity of forms and functions arouses the interest of a heterogeneous group of actors (citizens, municipal authorities, health professionals, urban planners), in cities of both the Global North and the Global South with different socioeconomic contexts. Many studies have already explored its multiple current and potential benefits for different groups of urban actors which include urban agriculture practitioners, urban planners, municipal authorities, and health professionals. However, the inclusion of urban agriculture in public policies and city planning is still limited. Little is known about the characteristics and impacts of urban agriculture initiatives and programs (with or without the support of municipal authorities), which have been constantly increasing in our cities over the past decade. Several actors from different socioeconomic contexts, including practitioners of urban agriculture, consider that the food dimension does not have enough political support in the urban planning. Some studies also draw attention to the constraints associated with urban agriculture and suggest to better understand its characteristics. These studies highlight the little knowledge that exists on the characteristics and the motivations of practitioners and the impacts of such initiatives on the urban lifestyle, on land ownership, or on local organization. In addition, scientific research in this field is sometimes criticized because of addressing urban agriculture questions with a productivist or consumption approach developed in the Global South, and a post-productivist or multidimensional approach favored in the countries of the Global North. Based on these observations, this PhD dissertation in urban planning and regional development focuses on individual motivations for urban agriculture practice in deprived neighborhoods of three cities evolving in contrasting socioeconomic contexts. First, we try to understand the impacts of urban agriculture on the health and its determinants. Second, we explore the characteristics and motivations of urban agriculture practitioners in the studied areas. Our multiple cases study is exploratory with a qualitative approach combining both secondary data from a scoping review and primary data collected through a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews in the neighborhoods of Villeray and Parc-Extension in Montreal (Canada), Quitumbe and Turubambain Quito (Ecuador), and Martissant and Cité Soleil in Port-Au-Prince (Haiti). In total 63 interviews, of which 52 urban agriculture practitioners and 11 urban agriculture promoters, were conducted. Following the introduction organized in two parts to expose the study context and to clarify the main concepts, the results are presented as four independent, but complementary chapters framed as scientific articles. The first chapter presents a scoping review protocol that guided the literature review to identify studies on the impacts of urban agriculture on health and its determinants. The second chapter presents the results of the scoping review and identifies gaps in the literature on the impacts of urban agriculture. These gaps include a lack of comparative analysis and limitations on geographical scope regarding urban agriculture research. The third chapter attempts to fill these gaps by presenting a comparative analysis of the characteristics and motivations of the urban agriculture practitioners in Montreal (Canada) and Quito (Ecuador). The results of this study highlight similarities and contrasts in the motivations of urban agriculture practitioners in these two different contexts. Finally, the fourth chapter goes further to explore the role of urban agriculture and the motivations of practitioners in the space- to- place transformation of two deprived neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince (Haiti). Our research makes several theoretical, methodological, and practical contributions on urban agriculture and urban planning. It contributes to the discussions on the need to go beyond the North / South dichotomy regarding urban agriculture scientific research. For example, on the one hand, the systematic review highlights the food and non-food dimensions of urban agriculture independent of the socioeconomic context (Chapter 1). On the other hand, it underlines the fact that studies on urban agriculture of the Global South, particularly those of Sub-Saharan Africa tend to largely explore the food security questions instead of a holistic approach as it is the casein the Global North (Chapter 2). Furthermore, we show that in Montreal (Canada) or in Quito (Ecuador), the food function of the gardens, is a very important motivation for the urban agriculture practitioners. Moreover, beyond the food function, the quality of the foods, their significance to the one who planted them and their role in the construction of social connections, are complementary to the other functions of the gardens independently of the socioeconomic context (Chapter 3). Finally, we observe that the non-food dimensions of urban agriculture (transformation of deteriorated spaces, strengthening of social relations) as already accepted in the Global North, can also be relevant to the Haitian practitioners, to a level similar to that of food dimension (Chapter 4). Overall, the thesis findings suggest that urban agriculture is an important component for land use and urban planning projects and underline the need to continue research on individual motivations based on the socioeconomic contexts.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 20 December 2021
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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