The concrete city is getting more green. Rooftop gardens and neighborhood vegetable patches may soon be as familiar in cities as skyscrapers and taxi cabs.
Given global trends, the city is the place to be. More than half of the world’s population (54 percent) live in an urban area, and that figure is expected to grow to 66 percent by 2050. That’s nearly twice the figure of 1960.
Of that, an estimated 800 million people worldwide grow fruits and vegetables in cities. That includes places like New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago in the U.S.
Many turn to urban farming because they want fresh produce, cheaper food and some relief from the city’s sweltering heat.
Here are some other reasons to consider neighborhood gardens and urban farming:
Protect the environment. Creating a pocket of green space can absorb greenhouse gas emissions; provide an area to convert urban organic waste into fertilizer; and capture rainfall that would otherwise cause erosion from street runoff.
Lower property taxes. Depending on the area, some building owners can reduce property taxes by installing a rooftop garden that cuts down on storm-water runoff. Along with creating an attractive shady space, the garden also can reduce energy costs by providing insulation from both the heat and cold.
Save money. Municipalities, local schools and places of worship can benefit by allowing urban farmers to cultivate unused land they would otherwise have to pay to maintain. Schools often welcome the educational opportunity for a “hands on” classroom for students to learn about agriculture.