City pig farm. A design-based-research on urban livestock farming
Keywords:urban agriculture, urban farming, food production, food system, green washing
Over the last centuries, the global food system has managed to provide a growing global population with more and better food. Yet, the system is criticised for its negative effects, like increasing food miles, monocultures, a lack of transparency and poor animal welfare. The recent trend to farm more food in an around cities (urban and peri-urban farming) seems to provide an alternative to the existing system. Urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) comes with many potential benefits, from reducing food miles and improving local urban climate to supporting social coherence in local neighbourhoods and improving personal health. At the same time, the field of UPA is very diverse and not each project addresses each of the potential benefits. This paper addresses urban livestock farming as a specific form of UPA. “Livestock farming” is hereby defined as raising domesticated animals, such as cattle, pork, poultry or fish for the production of food. Each of these types of farming has different needs and implications when included in the city. This study specifically looks into pig farming in an urban setting. It states that design-based-research is a useful research strategy to explore the possibilities and probabilities of this type of UPA. It draws on the design-based study ‘City Pig’, conducted at The Why Factory (2009), Delft University of Technology. The results of this study can be evaluated in order to get a grip on the possible benefits of this specific type of urban livestock farming. An important limitation is that it concerns virtual, un-built design proposals. As built, productive examples of UPA are still scarce in the Netherlands and beyond this design-based-research method could fill a gap and help gathering knowledge for future project. Therefore, this paper not only evaluates of a specific type of UPA, but also tests on whether research-by-design studies, can form a useful tool to further develop UPA in general. The aim of this paper is therefore two-fold: What are the potential benefits of urban pig farming and how can un-built design projects help to answer that question for future ‘real’ projects.
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