Understanding competing motivations for urban agriculture: an analysis of U.S. municipal ordinance adoption

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2015-01-01
Authors
Vaage, Andrea
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Abstract

Municipalities are increasingly responding to zoning regulations that act as a barrier to the practice of urban agriculture activities. While there has been some case-study research on municipalities engaging in large urban agriculture policy efforts, a framework for analyzing urban agriculture ordinances on a national scale has not yet been established. This research is an exploratory analysis of the motivations for urban agriculture ordinance adoption utilizing a theoretical framework of neoliberalism to understand the potential for urban agriculture to be used either as a tool to reinforce or alter neoliberal structures. Responses from 34 municipalities throughout the United States that participated in a survey on urban agriculture ordinance adoption were utilized to construct a cluster analysis of cities based on levels of ordinance adoption and motivations for adoption. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) analysis was used to determine differences between clusters on selected socioeconomic variables. The cluster analysis resulted in four clusters. Two clusters were low or average on both motivation and adoption variables. Two clusters had higher scores on either motivation or adoption variables, but differed in types of ordinances adopted and major motivations for adoption. Economic motivations were linked with adoption of commercial urban agriculture ordinances. Cultural and health motivations were linked with non-commercial, retail, and animal urban agriculture ordinances. Clusters with low engagement involved mostly government agencies in drafting ordinances, whereas more engaged clusters relied on government agencies and a variety of community groups in initial stages of ordinance adoption. The clusters that were least engaged in urban agriculture primarily had a Council-Manager form of government, compared to the higher engaged clusters with a Mayor-Council form of government.

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Community and Regional Planning, Sustainable Agriculture, food systems, municipal policy, urban agriculture, zoning
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