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Cultivating changes: Urban Agriculture as a tool for socio-spatial transformation
Urban gardening initiatives have evolved from their original purpose of food production to assume aesthetic, recreational, educational, social, or therapeutic functions. The general objective of this paper was to determine the new socio-spatial configuration into which these experiences have been implemented, in order to determine the diversity of actors involved in urban agriculture (UA) within the municipality of Perugia. Secondary objectives were to explore the social and environmental capital produced and to indicate orientations and suggestions to enhance the impact of UA within the city. The survey, conducted during 2015 and 2016, focused on seven UA initiatives or projects and demonstrated that there is an increasing social demand for the reintegration of agriculture within urban areas. At the same time, there is a lack of coordination between the different initiatives, plans, and programmes to enhance these projects. It is necessary to take advantage of the intense activity, creativity, ideas, and actors involved in UA to improve the connections and synergy to implement these initiatives. Furthermore, we show that the municipality could develop and implement specific tools and devices to allow institutions, private citizens, associations, and farmers to operate in more synergistic and efficient ways.