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Adaptation option

Urban farming and gardening (2015)

Areas used for urban farming and gardening, when compared to paved or asphalted grounds, have a positive contribution to climate adaptation. These green areas can be further adapted to climate impacts by introducing appropriate vegetation and crops for allotment and vegetable gardens. They should be, according to the climatic area resistant to droughts; such as saline vegetables and drought-tolerant plants and trees. Other issues also relevant for climate change adaptation include:

  • Increasing the presence of vegetation will increase the water infiltration capacity of the soil, which in turn leads to better adaptation to future needs  in terms of storm water runoff.
  • By providing shade, increasing evapotranspiration and transforming sunlight into vegetal material in photosynthesis processes rather than absorbing it, plants and trees have a cooling effect on their environment.
  • When using more drought-tolerant plants, water needs for irrigation can be reduced.
  • As a consequence of the increased water infiltration capacity the groundwater table will rise improving drought resistance.
  • When planting more saline vegetables and drought-tolerant vegetation there will be more food available during dry spells.
  • Urban farming and gardening attract a variety of fauna and thereby increases local biodiversity. Moreover, gardens are used as recreational areas and public meeting places for people, improving the environmental qualities of urban areas

Additional Details
Reference information

Adaptation Details


Stakeholder participation

Choice of areas and the design of gardens and urban agricultural areas should be made under strong participation of future users.

Success and Limiting Factors

Availability of areas for gardening may be limited, and the measure potentially contrasts policies aiming at increasing densities needed for making urban transport and other services more efficient.

Costs and Benefits

Cost for land needs to compete with prices for urbanized land, but might be controlled by urban land use plans combined with the planning and design of an area. Costs of purchasing crops are for the neighbourhood or the tenant, while maintenance is practiced by municipalities in the case of urban gardens or the renter in the case of urban farming.

Direct benefits can be obtained from the yields of the land in the case of farming or by renting out allotment gardens, indirect benefits are obtained thanks to increasing urban environmental quality, with positive impacts on human health, flood control, etc.

Municipalities are responsible for urban planning reserving areas for urban gardening or farming. Design, ownership and management can be delegated to communities or association of single owners.

Implementation Time

1-5 years.

Life Time


Reference information

DG CLIMA project "Adaptation Strategy of European Cities"


Gardening, farming, plant species, surface materials


Agriculture, Biodiversity, Urban

Climate impacts

Droughts, Extreme Temperatures, Flooding

Governance level

Local (e.g. city or municipal level)

Geographic characterisation


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