Sowing Change: The Making of Havanas Urban Agriculture

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Despite a Cuban law preventing people from migrating into the capital, Havana is still struggling with a major housing crisis. Havana alone has over , people without an apartment to live in.

ISBN 13: 9780826518590

However, the government has allowed Cuban people to rent out rooms in their own homes since , commonly known in Cuba as "casas particulares," responding to the touristic demand without having to build large hotels alien to the Havana landscape. This concept, as well as the desperate need for housing and possible local economic gain from tourism, is what inspired Borkowicz to develop a proposal to combine social housing with tourism in Havana Vieja. Occasionally structures are designed from scratch when the existing building has collapsed beyond repair.

As Borkowicz envisions the use of space in a ratio of permanent versus temporary inhabitants, these buildings need to not only accommodate for the existing housing shortages in Havana Vieja, but must supersede them. Currently the housing shortages require 9, new housing units, with an assumed floor space of 70 square meters per unit. Borkowicz looked at 12 housing blocks already existing in Havana Vieja, using their volumes as a benchmark for calculations on his proposal of an average of 4 storeys per building and concluded that the total generated floor space from his project could amount to , square meters - 3 times as much space as is currently needed.

Not only will this proposal provide more housing for the Cuban population, it will also serve as a source of income for the inhabitants, as they will be able to rent out more rooms to tourists.

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For locals, this sum of money can often buy them far more value for money, as some business run two pricing systems - one for locals and one for the foreigners. For example, Borkowicz has noted ice cream selling for 24 times the price when bought by a tourist. These houses are designed in such a way that the structural support, as well as the sewage or gas infrastructure, can remain entirely unchanged.

Instead the transformation of space takes place by rearranging non-load-bearing walls, allowing for flexible floor plans whenever possible so that residents can arrange different combinations of hotel rooms, or alternatively expand their own apartment. Both parties will hopefully get a chance to This kind of architecture requires a lot of common spaces that both permanent and temporary inhabitants can take advantage of; much more than in an ordinary Cuban apartment or AirBnb.

In his designs, Borkowicz prioritizes natural ventilation, using both the main wide courtyard and smaller secondary courtyards to create cross-ventilation through rooms not directly connected to the street. In addition to this the design specifies staircases and railings that generate maximum airflow, using traditional Cuban wrought iron elements.

An episode of Broadcast from the Belfry

The passive cooling system, taking place through underground pipes that suck air through the patios, are stabilized by the constant temperature below ground level of around 15 degrees Celsius. This fact was dramatically demonstrated in the urban food riots provoked by the global food price spikes of and Historically discouraged and often prohibited by municipal governments, urban agriculture has attracted growing interest — and legitimacy — during the past decade and a half, largely due to a growing body of hard evidence showing that it can provide a sustainable motor for both human development and economic growth.

The current volume represents a seminal contribution to that paradigm shift. From these scholarly studies, stronger typologies and analytical tools are emerging. The country case studies reveal the rich diversity of food and non-food agricultural systems that have emerged in different urban settings, and underline powerfully the importance of understanding agro-ecological, political, institutional and historical context before designing interventions. The case studies also reveal the complex and dynamic two-way demographic and economic interactions between rural and urban areas.

And contrary to much conventional thinking, the case studies show that urban agriculture is not simply a coping strategy for the poor, but is often a highly lucrative economic strategy pursued by the rich as well.

Project MUSE - Sowing Change

Illuminated by insightful political economy analyses, power relations are exposed as critical factors in defining urban land tenure and land-use systems, water rights, the structure and operation of food markets, and the design and enforcement of health and food safety measures. The complex and multi-level nature of power relations challenge simplistic silver bullet approaches to rationalizing urban and peri-urban systems, and to making them more efficient, equitable and safe. Careful, deliberate and inclusive political processes are key processes that include a wide range of actors and that are driven by hard evidence.

In-depth case studies of multi-disciplinary and multi-agency platforms in Kampala and Nairobi presented in the final chapters point to ways forward, demonstrating how action research can contribute to policy reform by providing the right evidence, to the right audience and at the right time, and by catalyzing and framing negotiations between key stakeholders.

Urban Harvest, a system-wide initiative of the Consultative Group on Agricultural Research, must be congratulated for producing this marvelous volume. Similar congratulations are due to the International Development Research Centre, which supported, since , the research process that produced the underlying evidence.

Radio Havana Cuba

Indeed, IDRC has been a pioneer in the field, having funded some of the earliest work in the s that helped define the scope, scale and importance of urban agricultural systems globally. The synergies created through these multidimensional partnerships created benefits that were out of reach for each working in isolation. The lessons of the IDRC experience for development programming more broadly are clear — persistence, continuity, and adaptation based on hard evidence can achieve transformational changes in thinking and approach.

Rather than chasing fads, IDRC stayed with a problem for more than two decades, created and nurtured partnerships, and built local capacity that has now taken the lead. It is hoped that going forward the CGIAR has the same wisdom to retain a meaningful focus on urban agriculture and to build on the partnerships fostered by Urban Harvest. It is fitting in many ways that this book is dedicated to Jac Smit, himself a pioneer and passionate advocate of urban agriculture. A great teacher, Jac not only informed but inspired those of us privileged enough to have worked with him.

Jac Smit died in November He would have loved this book, a book that in many ways reaffirms his vibrant legacy. An enormous number of people and institutions worldwide were involved in the production of this book, contributing to both the research and the ensuing production of the final manuscript.

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The period dealt with is mostly — but the text also refers to many research-related events that took place more recently. Thanks are due to all the many institutions and individuals whose collective effort went into the research-to-policy stakeholder meetings and processes that took place before, during and after the research itself and are described in Chapter Most are not mentioned here but their contributions to the book's message are significant.

The CGIAR is a global partnership of governments, multilateral organizations and private foundations that works to promote food security, poverty eradication and the sound management of natural resources in the developing world. We would like to acknowledge the vision and initiative of Dr. We also gratefully acknowledge CIP's logistical and financial support, in particular to the lead editor, which made the publication of the book possible. Without a grant from the Ford Foundation East and Southern Africa Office most of the detailed editorial work could not have been done.

The International Development Research Centre IDRC is not only funding the publication costs of this book and acting as a co-publisher, but members of its staff are also contributors to Chapter Further, it has financially supported many of the research activities described in the book, including the Urban Harvest Program itself. As always with IDRC, our acknowledgement of their role goes way beyond the financial to include almost all aspects of the implementation of this research.

Further financial support was received from the World Bank, which provided most of the Program funding for Urban Harvest. The authors would specifically like to thank Jeanette Tchakounte, Andre Zoyuim, Randall Brummet and Herbert Lekane for their contributions to the work described in this chapter. The authors acknowledge funding from Urban Harvest and the important inputs from Diana Lee-Smith, who also translated into English all three of the chapters on Cameroon. Bopda and Mr.

The urban gardens of Havana

The latter two grants made possible the household sample survey of farmers and the pilot listing survey of UA enterprises in two parishes in , respectively. The authors would also like to thank the residents of Bukesa, Banda, Buziga and Komamboga parishes. Namagembe, C.

Niringiye, B. Odongo, C. Owori and E. Olowo Onyango. The study that culminated in Chapter 12 on the benefits and risks of urban dairy production in Nakuru, Kenya was led by scientists from the University of Nairobi in collaboration with the NMC and Kenya Greentowns. The work was funded jointly by DfID and Urban Harvest, which also provided research coordination, co-supervision of an MSc thesis and active team engagement.

The lead author, who would like to acknowledge Kisumu City Council for granting permission to conduct surveys in their urban and peri-urban markets, first became engaged with UA work as researcher and co-author of Chapter 10 , reflecting the catalytic and networking role of Urban Harvest in encouraging UA work in the CGIAR.

Dick Waithaka. Mary Njenga, who has worked as a researcher with Urban Harvest since , deserves special mention and thanks. Mary has been a major contributor to many of the research activities reported in this book, and has advised and supported many more where her name is not recorded. Grateful thanks also go to the anonymous chapter reviewers for their invaluable insights and detailed work on the text. A special thanks to Richard Stren for his helpful insights. All errors and omissions remain the responsibility of the editors.

Erastus K. Luc J. Box , Kampala, Uganda, lucyaliguma55 hotmail. Box , Kampala, Uganda. Donald C. Box , Accra, Ghana, s. Pascale Elong University of Dschang, B.