Urban agriculture and greenspace in the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia

Cramer, Kelsey Anne
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University of Guelph

The goal of this research is to locate sites suitable for urban agriculture in the City of Nanaimo, B.C., and to identify those that enhance the city's greenspace network. Urban agriculture as a form of greenspace can provide multiple social, ecological and economic benefits and yet, urban agriculture planning is rarely included within community or greenspace planning. Through a focused literature review, three key informant interviews, and geographic information system (GIS) mapping, this study uses biophysical and urban-context criteria to identify public and private areas suitable for growing food within the City of Nanaimo. Seventy-five percent of parcels, or 47.5 percent of assessed land, contain suitable area for urban agriculture in general. Community garden and backyard sharing suitability constitutes 15.8 percent of parcels in the Townsite Planning Area (49.4 percent of assessed land) and 19.3 percent of parcels (41.0 percent of land) in the Harewood Planning Area. This research recommends that site-by-site assessments are required to confirm site suitability. The relationship between greenspace and urban agriculture requires further research at multiple scales.

urban agriculture, Nanaimo, British Columbia, greenspace network, site suitability