The Market Garden City
The background - green revolutions
Throughout the first green revolution, over thousands of years, the human species learnt to cultivate food, which enabled the creation of cities and civilisation. The second green revolution in the mid 20th century used industrialisation to increase produc tivity in agriculture to support the increasing global urban and rural populations.
The world population is still expanding, increasing affluence and mirroring the tastes of the developed world. As a result the current world population consumption requir es the land area equivalent to three planet earths. Global population is increasing from one million 10,000 years ago, one billion in 1800, 3 billion in 1950, at present the population is 7 billion and is estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050.
The seco nd green revolution was a runaway success and prevented much anticipated famine Armageddon scenarios; however the emphasis of the second green revolution shifted food production away from a majority of rice and grain crops for human consumption towards inc reased proportion of land for crops and for meat production.
The following set of diagrams illustrates the relationship of different global trends in climate change, natural resource exploitation, food production, population increase and poverty reductio n. The diagrams indicate that the present time is a balance and crucial tipping point for decisions on water security, energy supply and food production for the present and future communities.
Rising global C02 emission are causing global warming and climate change. An increased global temperature follows increased carbon released into the atmosphere as C0 2 , and unless carbon release is ended soon this century , it will result in several degrees of rise in global temperat ure. Extreme climate events including famine and flood will most likely occur. The diagram shows possible outcomes depending on reductions achieved in the next decade. Climate change is a critical factor in managing food resource and supply.
Global Oil and Gas exploitation has risen steeply over the past century and is largely responsible for carbon release causing global warming. The wealth created by this carbon economy has been used for energy, to combat poverty; creating technologies for health, incre ased food production and new energy sources. The opportunity to continue to use this form of energy for benefit of civilisation is challenged by the need to help mitigate against climate change. Oil exploitation has also peaked ; a s sources are becoming inc reasingly expensive or environmentally damaging to exploit.
Global population is increasing as wealth is created, disease e radicated, health improved and poverty reduced. The increase in population follows a similar curve to exploitation of natural resou rces, however will soon outstrip the rate of resource exploitation which the planet could safely accommodate.
World poverty has been falling in the last decade (ref: Oxford Martin study).The wealth created by the carbon economy has been used to combat p overty spreading urbanisation, technology, health, increased food production and new energy sources. Continued poverty reduction is challenged by the required upward curve in exploitation of natural resources and continued carbon emissions unless alternati ve non carbon sources are able to be used in next decades.
Food production has increased during 20th century by fertilisers, pesticides, and selective seeds etc, which are benefits of new technology, communication and distribution; dependent on the carbo n economy. In order to maintain food supply for an increased population , further progress will be needed. This will be challenged as it is dependent on the carbon economy. A new green revolution in food production is proposed in order to keep the upward tr end.
Coal exploitation has increased progressively through the centuries. Coal production slowed in late twentieth century with the exploitation of cleaner oil and gas with higher energy outputs. Coal exploitation is rising as oil supply peaks. The huge amount of remaining coal available to exploit and release potential carbon emissions is becoming the highest threat and risk of causing runaway global warming.
Renewable energy from hydro, wind, solar, tide and nuclear has been developed in the twentieth century on a small scale owing to the high cost and lower energy return. Now the source of climate change is clearly carbon release , there is an urgent need to increase energy s upply from renewables in the next decade to provide the alternative energy source to progress food supply, health and disease eradication, poverty reduction, water resource protection. All the above are essential to avoid a rapidly developing crisis with t he dependence on a c arbon economy and start a new century with a green revolution.
The challenge – create a new garden city concept to arrest runaway consumption
A new garden city concept has to start from the assumption that consumption and pattern of living will change to avoid destruction of the planet. The proposal is to provide a market garden city ; and an urban framework which integrates the essential activities of food production and consumption at a local level, providing security for individuals and local communities to ma ke further choices on how the remaining consumption activities can be reduced. This will vary from individual to individual, county to county and will be subject to global stresses, of which food production is an essential part which cannot be subject to risk.
Therefore, the proposed market garden city concept provides the urban framework for a third green revolution which will be needed both to support the food requirements of increasing urban population and to contribute to strategies to counter runaway climate change. The concept requires every aspect of life to be green ; where there is no distinction between values to the environment between urban and non urban, a green ecumenopolis – a new market garden city without limits.
Why is a third green revolution required?
The 20th century second green revolution increased agricultural productivity to allow a global population surge to be supported , but eventually fail ed during the early 21st century. Curren t food productivity deman ds more i ndustrialisation and globalisation of food supply, reduced land use and diversity, increased use of pesticide and fertiliser with consequent carbon emissions and habitat destruction, causi ng irreversible global warming. Destruction of bi odiversity and climate extremes, have resulted in the current crisis to the environment and have exacerbated overpopulation , famine, drought , soil erosion and flood.
A third green revolution will be needed: based on the concept that a new urbanism must provide foo d security ; with each dweller providing a proportion of their own food and having a community responsibility , which together provide s the remaining food as part of a reciprocal investment of human capital as a community value.
The market garden city conc ept which supports the third green revolution must accept that since the start of the 21st century more people live in cities than rural areas. The market g arden city and third green revolution cannot therefore be a return to low density disaggregated rura l settlement . Instead it must promote a dense urbanism built around public transport and integrate d into the urban model , a local framework ; for supporting urban food production and culture.
The challenge is to integrate space for food growing into , and close enough to , dense urban centres to allow communities to have individual and collective ownership of food. Conventional thinking makes this impossible to resolve as there are contradictions between individual and community values and a lack of cla rity of the long term impacts of conventional consumption patterns.