SCBA: Urban agriculture beneficial to society

Published on
October 2, 2013

Urban agriculture always generates a great deal of enthusiasm. However, many people wonder what the ultimate benefits are. To clarify this issue, researchers from Wageningen UR have produced, together with Witteveen+Bos consultancy, a social cost-benefit analysis (SCBA) for three urban agriculture projects.

The researchers analysed three cases: an existing project, “Food Garden Rotterdam” and the plans for “Regional development De Nieuwe Warande Tilburg” and “Hazennest Farm” in Tilburg. The analysis revealed a large number of social benefits such as: health benefits for the volunteers due to a healthier lifestyle, improved liveability (because of the recreational possibilities), more pleasurable living and more job opportunities.

After expressing the social benefits in financial terms and subtracting the actual costs of financing the projects, the researchers proved that all three projects are socially beneficial and contribute to sustainable social development in urban areas and in the whole country. The analysis also demonstrated that care farms and large-scale farm shops can be profitable.

Although these are positive results, it is too early to conclude that all urban agriculture projects in the Netherlands can be run profitably. To obtain a better picture of the benefits provided by Dutch urban agriculture, we need to analyse a wider range of projects and to look in more detail at benefits such as the effect on the health of the users
Researcher Marcel Vijn

Read the report the researchers wrote on this social cost-benefit analysis, financed by the Cities Network.