A Framework for Site Assessment Guides for Urban Impacted Soils: A Vancouver Case Study

  • Melissa Iverson University of British Columbia
  • Maja Krzic University of British Columbia
  • Arthur Bomke University of British Columbia
Keywords: Urban Soil, Brownfields, Community Gardens, Urban Agriculture, Site Assessment, Soil Quality

Abstract

Urban agricultural activities, such as community gardening and urban farming, are becoming popular in many North American cities, including Vancouver, British Columbia (BC). Currently, demand for urban agricultural land in Vancouver is mainly met by reclaiming brownfields (vacant and often neglected tracts of land) and land owned or managed by schools, religious institutions, hospitals, and private residents, into gardens and urban farms. Before urban sites can be reclaimed, they need to be assessed for suitability for food production; however, many cities, including Vancouver, do not have locally adapted site assessment guides (SAGs). This paper describes the development of a framework for a SAG for Vancouver soils. The framework consists of the following five phases: (1) initial selection of properties and assessment approaches; (2) stakeholder feedback and subsequent revision of the properties identified in Phase 1; (3) additional feedback, revision, and finalization of the SAG; (4) distribution of the guides; and (5) ongoing updates and support. As part of framework development, we identified relevant site characteristics (e.g., soil properties, aspect, slope, amount of sunshine) for Vancouver and developed a Vancouver soil map. Distribution and promotion of the SAG through local organizations and societies started in 2010, and ongoing efforts regarding these initiatives are underway. The SAG framework used in Vancouver may be useful to other cities that wish to empower their citizens to create spaces for urban agriculture safely and successfully.

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Author Biographies

Melissa Iverson, University of British Columbia
Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4 Canada.
Maja Krzic, University of British Columbia
2357 Main Mall; Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4 Canada; +1-604-822-0252.
Arthur Bomke, University of British Columbia
Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4 Canada.
Published
2014-11-21
How to Cite
Iverson, M., Krzic, M., & Bomke, A. (2014). A Framework for Site Assessment Guides for Urban Impacted Soils: A Vancouver Case Study. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 5(1), 75-85. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2014.051.006
Section
Open Call Papers