The Role of Urban Agriculture in Enhancing Urban Food System Sustainability and Resilience

A Literature Review


  • Tong Zou
  • Ali Cheshmehzangi
  • Ayotunde Dawodu
  • Eugenio Mangi



Urban Agriculture, Food Systems, Sustainability, Resilience, Cities


During the COVID-19 pandemic, cities around the world have gone through terrible ordeals. These include a lack of urban resilience in emergency response, food supply, institutional cooperation, economic support, etc. Meanwhile, many urban and global problems have been amplified by the pandemic's impacts on food security issues, the long-term sustainability of food systems, and so on. In response to the recovery agenda of the post-COVID 19 era, rebuilding urban resilience and sustainability through the pathways of sustainable urban food system development has great potential. It is evident that food supports the fundamental needs of people's health and well-being, but cities account for most food consumption, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions. Starting from these considerations, this study investigates how urban agriculture can improve the sustainability and resilience of the urban food system through the analysis of the existing literature. Conducted on April 11, 2022, on the Web of Science database, this literature review includes bibliographic coupling, co-citation analysis, and co-occurrence analysis to map knowledge regarding the role of urban agriculture practices in fostering both urban food systems' 'sustainability' and 'resilience'. The findings of the study highlight different aspects that include more general considerations, e.g., urban agriculture alone cannot substitute large-scale food systems in the short term, but it could be a promising approach in the future, and more detailed aspects, such as the geographical recurrence of this kind of research and the most popular scientific journals addressing these topics.


Ackerman, K., Conard, M., Culligan, P., Plunz, R., Sutto, M.-P., & Whittinghill, L. (2014). Sustainable Food Systems for Future Cities: The Potential of Urban Agriculture*. In The Economic and Social Review (Vol. 45, Issue 2).

Aubry, C., & Kebir, L. (2013). Shortening food supply chains: A means for maintaining agriculture close to urban areas? The case of the French metropolitan area of Paris. Food Policy, 41, 85–93.

Benis, K., & Ferrão, P. (2017). Potential mitigation of the environmental impacts of food systems through urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) – a life cycle assessment approach. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, 784–795.

Buxton, M., Carey, R., & Phelan, K. (2016). The Role of Peri-Urban Land Use Planning in Resilient Urban Agriculture: A Case Study of Melbourne, Australia (pp. 153–170).

da Cunha, M. A., Paraguassú, L. A. A., Assis, J. G. de A., Silva, A. B. de P. C., & Cardoso, R. de C. V. (2020). Urban gardening and neglected and underutilised species in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 16(1).

Donthu, N., Kumar, S., Mukherjee, D., Pandey, N., & Lim, W. M. (2021). How to conduct a bibliometric analysis: An overview and guidelines. Journal of Business Research, 133, 285–296.

Grando, S., Carey, J., Hegger, E., Jahrl, I., & Ortolani, L. (2017). Short Food Supply Chains in Urban Areas: Who Takes the Lead? Evidence from Three Cities across Europe. Urban Agriculture & Regional Food Systems, 2(1), 1–11.

Guarnaccia, P., Zingale, S., Scuderi, A., Gori, E., Santiglia, V., & Timpanaro, G. (2020). Proposal of a Bioregional Strategic Framework for a Sustainable Food System in Sicily. Agronomy-Basel, 10(10).

Gulyas, B. Z., & Edmondson, J. L. (2021). Increasing city resilience through urban agriculture: Challenges and solutions in the global north. In Sustainability (Switzerland) (Vol. 13, Issue 3, pp. 1–19). MDPI.

Kuusaana, E. D., Ayurienga, I., Eledi Kuusaana, J. A., Kidido, J. K., & Abdulai, I. A. (2022). Challenges and Sustainability Dynamics of Urban Agriculture in the Savannah Ecological Zone of Ghana: A Study of Bolgatanga Municipality. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 6.

Mancini, M. C., Arfini, F., Antonioli, F., & Guareschi, M. (2021). Alternative agri‐food systems under a market agencements approach: The case of multifunctional farming activity in a peri‐urban area. Environments - MDPI, 8(7).

Martin, M., & Bustamante, M. J. (2021). Growing-Service Systems: New Business Models for Modular Urban-Vertical Farming. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5.

Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., & Altman, D. G. (2009). Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA statement. In BMJ (Online) (Vol. 339, Issue 7716, pp. 332–336).

Nchanji, E. B., & Lutomia, C. K. (2021). COVID-19 challenges to sustainable food production and consumption: Future lessons for food systems in eastern and southern Africa from a gender lens. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 27, 2208–2220.

Russo, A., & Cirella, G. T. (2019). Edible urbanism 5.0. In Palgrave Communications (Vol. 5, Issue 1). Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.

Sanyé-Mengual, E., Specht, K., Grapsa, E., Orsini, F., & Gianquinto, G. (2019). How can innovation in urban agriculture contribute to sustainability? A characterisation and evaluation study from five Western European cities. Sustainability (Switzerland), 11(15).

Sharifi, A. (2021). Co-benefits and synergies between urban climate change mitigation and adaptation measures: A literature review. In Science of the Total Environment (Vol. 750). Elsevier BV

Tendall, D. M., Joerin, J., Kopainsky, B., Edwards, P., Shreck, A., Le, Q. B., Kruetli, P., Grant, M., & Six, J. (2015). Food system resilience: Defining the concept. Global Food Security-Agriculture Policy Economics and Environment, 6, 17–23.

United Nations. (2018). 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, says UN.

van Eck, N. J., & Waltman, L. (n.d.). VOSviewer Manual. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from

Weidner, T., Yang, A., & Hamm, M. W. (2019). Consolidating the current knowledge on urban agriculture in productive urban food systems: Learnings, gaps and outlook. In Journal of Cleaner Production (Vol. 209, pp. 1637–1655). Elsevier Ltd.

Wielemaker, R., Oenema, O., Zeeman, G., & Weijma, J. (2019). Fertile cities: Nutrient management practices in urban agriculture. Science of the Total Environment, 668, 1277–1288.

Zimmerer, K. S., Bell, M. G., Chirisa, I., Duvall, C. S., Egerer, M., Hung, P. Y., Lerner, A. M., Shackleton, C., Ward, J. D., & Yacamán Ochoa, C. (2021). Grand Challenges in

Urban Agriculture: Ecological and Social Approaches to Transformative Sustainability. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5.




How to Cite

Zou, T., Cheshmehzangi, A., Dawodu, A., & Mangi, E. (2022). The Role of Urban Agriculture in Enhancing Urban Food System Sustainability and Resilience : A Literature Review. Journal of Resilient Economies (ISSN: 2653-1917), 2(1).