Is urban agriculture urban green space? A comparison of policy arrangements for urban green space and urban agriculture in Santiago de Chile

Contesse, Maria; Vliet, B.J.M. van; Lenhart, J.


Urban green spaces are crucial for citizens’ wellbeing. Nonetheless, many Latin American cities struggle to provide sufficient and equitable green space distribution for their citizens. By looking at the Chilean capital Santiago as an example, this paper examines whether the growing urban agriculture movement provides a feasible opportunity to increase public urban green space access. It does so by using the policy arrangement approach to analyse change and stability in two policy domains: urban green space planning and urban agriculture. The paper investigates urban green spaces and urban agriculture and the role of practitioners, urban planners and policymakers. The analysis found opportunities for urban agriculture to facilitate the expansion of urban green spaces in Santiago if policy mechanisms enable private or public spaces to be maintained by citizen organizations. Such mechanisms may, however, encounter resistance from public agencies, as it is unresolved who is involved and who benefits from urban agriculture. The paper concludes that urban agriculture is an
opportunity for urban greening in Santiago, although changes are needed in how green areas are planned and conceived. Additionally, urban agriculture should not be understood as a substitute for parks but as a complementary form of green space provision with a distinctive value.