Finding Spaces for Urban Food Production – Matching Spatial and Stakeholder Analysis with Urban Agriculture Approaches in the Urban Renewal Area of Dortmund-Hörde, Germany
Using the case of an economically declined neighbourhood in the post-industrial German Ruhr
Area (sometimes characterized as Germany’s “Rust Belt”), we analyse, describe and conclude
how urban agriculture can be used as a catalyst to stimulate and support urban renewal and
regeneration, especially from a socio-cultural perspective. Using the methodological framework
of participatory action research, and linking bottom-up and top-down planning approaches, a
project path was developed to include the population affected and foster individual responsibility
for their district, as well as to strengthen inhabitants and stakeholder groups in a permanent
collective stewardship for the individual forms of urban agriculture developed and implemented.
On a more abstract level, the research carried out can be characterized as a form of action
research with an intended transgression of the boundaries between research, planning, design,
and implementation. We conclude that by synchronously combining those four domains with
intense feedback loops, synergies for the academic knowledge on the potential performance of
urban agriculture in terms of sustainable development, as well as the benefits for the case-study
area and the interests of individual urban gardeners can be achieved.