In urban situations, space is limited, there may be little or no access to land, and various regulatory restrictions when it comes to gardening or backyard animals. We want to share some of the concepts that people have used in urban settings which allow them to circumnavigate these obsticles. Below is a list of some solutions practiced by various groups in cities across the nation. It is a mix of approaches, ranging from gardening to co-parenting, going across of aspects of sustainability.

Inspirational ebooks on Permaculture Media Blog:

Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden And Your Neighborhood into a Community – Food Not Lawns doesn’t begin and end in the seed bed. This joyful permaculture lifestyle manual inspires readers to apply the principles of the paradise garden—simplicity, resourcefulness, creativity, mindfulness, and community—to all aspects of life. Plant “guerilla gardens” in barren intersections and medians; organize community meals; start a street theater troupe or host a local art swap; free your kitchen from refrigeration and enjoy truly fresh, nourishing foods from your own plot of land; work with children to create garden play spaces.

Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems: Principles and Practices– shows how cities and their residents can begin to reintegrate into their bioregional environment, and how cities themselves can be planned with nature’s organizing principles in mind. Taking cues from living systems for sustainability strategies, Newman and Jennings reassess urban design by exploring flows of energy, materials, and information, along with the interactions between human and non-human parts of the system.

Community Gardening (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide) – This all-region guide, filled with hands-on tips, offers a snapshot of today’s vibrant North American community gardening movement. Whether you are already a member of a community garden, want to get involved in one, or are just curious, this guide will inform and inspire you. Models include vegetable gardens, aesthetic and art gardens, children’s and youth gardens, and several others. Using real-life case studies from around North America, the expert contributors show how community gardening produces safe, eco-friendly food; brings neighbors together; offers valuable lessons for children; and gives each participant the personal satisfaction that comes with cultivating the land and making things grow.  

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway – This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers.

Many people mistakenly think that ecological gardening—which involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants—can take place only on a large, multiacre scale. As Hemenway demonstrates, it’s fun and easy to create a “backyard ecosystem” by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:

* Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure
* Catching and conserving water in the landscape
* Providing habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals
* Growing an edible “forest” that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods

Critical Mass: Transport, Environment and Society in the Twenty-First Century – This book, pointing out that car-dependency is shared throughout Europe, Asia and North America, argues that the problems can only be solved globally by a shared recognition of common needs. In addition, with transport inextricabley linked with consumerism and the lifestyles that car ownership has created, the book argues that the challenge is to replace the current technology with an alternative that is sustainable and will solve the fundamental problems of poverty, inequity and social development.

City Farmer: Adventures in Growing Urban Food – celebrates the new ways that urban dwellers across North America are reimagining cities as places of food production. From homeowners planting their front yards with vegetables to guerilla gardeners scattering seeds in neglected urban corners, gardening guru Lorraine Johnson chronicles the increasing popularity of innovative urban food growing.

“Vibrant and alive… a spirited journey to meet those who are rediscovering the economic, social, and healing power of growing food in the city”

Ecocities: rebuilding cities in balance with nature– is about re-building cities and towns based on ecological principles for the long term sustainability, cultural vitality and health of the Earth’s biosphere. Unique in the literature is the book’s insight that the form of the city really matters – and that it is within our ability to change it, and crucial that we do. Further, that the ecocity within its bioregion is comprehensible and do-able, and can produce a healthy and potentially happy future.

Sustainable urban planning: tipping the balance – introduces the principles and practices behind urban and regional planning in the context of environmental sustainability. Its publication reflects a growing recognition in the fields of planning and environmental studies that cities, where the majority of humans now live, need to be developed in a sustainable way. The text takes a balanced approach, weaving together the concerns of planning, capitalism, development, and cultural and environmental preservation. It helps students and planners to connect the needs of the environment with the need for financial gain. This approach is mirrored in the structure of the book which is divided into two parts, one focusing on theories and the other on techniques.

Climate Resilient Cities: A Primer on Reducing Vulnerabilities to Disasters – provides city administrators with exactly what they need to know about the complex and compelling challenges of climate change. The book helps local governments create training, capacity building, and capital investment programs for building sustainable, resilient communities. A step-by-step self-assessment challenges policymakers to think about the resources needed to combat natural disasters through an innovative hot spot risk and vulnerability identification tool. This primer is unique from other resources in its treatment of climate change using a dual-track approach that integrates both mitigation (lowering contributions to greenhouse gases) and adaptation (preparing for impacts of climate change) with disaster risk management.

Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change – The authors of this spirited book don’t believe that oblivion is necessarily the destiny of urban areas. Instead, they believe that intelligent planning and visionary leadership can help cities meet the impending crises, and look to existing initiatives in cities around the world. Rather than responding with fear (as a legion of doomsaying prognosticators have done), they choose hope. First, they confront the problems, describing where we stand today in our use of oil and our contribution to climate change. They then present four possible outcomes for cities: ”collapse,” “ruralized,” “divided,” and “resilient.” In response to their scenarios, they articulate how a new “sustainable urbanism” could replace today’s “carbon-consuming urbanism.”

You can also take some inspiration here:

21 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Permaculture and Guerrilla Gardening Activists in Your Life


The Essential Gardening and Food Resilience Library

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