Designing food-productive greenways for suburbs

Katrin Bohn, Dong Chu

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


In the context of expanding cities, at the intersection of urban and rural spaces, suburbs are making moderate progress in supplying necessary ecological benefits and services. However, suburban and peri-urban open space design often lacks specific and innovative ecological suggestions, especially in relation to green space conservation, holistic planning conception
and long-term implementation. In this paper, we put forward the proposal for a food-productive greenway based on the design concept of Continuous Productive Urban Landscape (CPUL) (Viljoen 2005). Using this concept allows us to explore different space-planning functions of such a greenway design - economic, social, cultural and aesthetic - in parallel to its ecological benefits and ecosystem services. We content that a food-productive greenway design expands the ecological capacity of greenways in multiple ways, and that this is especially true at the dynamic intersections of urban and rural spaces in
expanding cities.
For the purpose of this paper, we concentrate on emerging case studies of food-productive suburban greenways from China, the UK and Germany where the authors have gathered specific information. Paralleling local knowledge with literature review, we first record the present ecological state and features of designed and built food-growing suburban greenway projects in these countries. Based on the CPUL City Assessment Tool (Viljoen and Bohn 2014) on the one hand and an Ecological Landscape Evaluation Method (Forman and Godron 1986) on the other, a comparative analysis will then be introduced to analyse selected food-growing and non-food-growing greenway designs in terms of landscape ecology. Finally, we will suggest a computer-aided
step-by-step guide to help decision making from a landscape ecology perspective when designing food-productive greenways.
The food-productive greenway is designed as an integrated linear spatial system, which will enhance landscape connectivity at the urban-rural nexus, in areas where cities expand. Its three-dimensional design will promote ecological benefits and ecosystem services through the cultivation of different crops while, at the same time, improving other space-planning functions, such as local economic development, public health and social participation. Food-productive greenway design can be proactively planned and designed to best respond to local conditions and capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Nov 2018
Event6th Fábos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning - University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, United States
Duration: 28 Mar 201830 Mar 2019


Conference6th Fábos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAmherst, MA


  • CPUL
  • Continuous Productive Urban Landscape
  • Peri-urban agriculture
  • Urban-rural nexus
  • Urban space planning


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