Vertical, Controlled & Resource-Integrated Urban Agriculture: Driving & Scaling-up a Potential Transition in the Contexts of Linköping and Singapore
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Potential local solutions for the provisioning of food, like urban agriculture (UA), become intriguing when looking at food against the background of a growing urban world population, globalised food structures, environmental degradation and an increasing scarcity of resources like water, energy and land. By focusing on UA within a vertical-, controlled- and resource-integrated setting, this research has chosen to focus on a newly emerging form of UA that is rather large-scale, high-tech and has the potential to trigger structural change. Its hypothesised potential to challenge existing food structures has resulted in a theoretical approach based on the multi-level-perspective (MLP) on socio-technical transitions, specifying a niche-, regime- and landscape-level, while furthermore building on concepts of governance. Firstly, potential transition drivers have been classified in landscape developments and niche pressures. Secondly, the capacity of an urban system to govern or ‘scale-up’ such a transition process has been analysed and expressed in a degree of governance capacity on the regime-level. By drafting and applying an analytical framework, this research has been able to analyse transition drivers and the scale-up potential in two specific case studies of vertical-, controlled- and resource-integrated-UA. By conducting two in-depth analyses through desk research and semi-structured-interviews in the urban context of Linköping and Singapore, this research has been able to gain more insights into the world’s first initiatives of vertical-, controlled- and resourceintegrated- UA. In short, the main conclusions show that both niches rest upon a strong knowledge foundation and expertise. Despite the underexposed role of stressful landscape developments in theory, they seem of essence in the articulation of expectation and visions by niche actors. They furthermore seem to play a major role in the degree of awareness, willingness and power that determine the governance capacity of a regime. Vertical-, controlled- and resource-integrated-UA seems to be strongly driven by the private sector, in which financial investments and economic viability are currently playing crucial roles. Generally, this research has aimed to be of scientific relevance by addressing knowledge gaps in transition theories when it comes to understanding drivers of change and the analytical capacity for empirical validation, furthermore touching upon the underexposed role of agency or governance. It has been able to provide an operationalisation of the landscape-, regime- and niche-level, including independent variables, hypotheses, indicators and corresponding research methods. By turning descriptive transition and governance concepts into a more analytical tool for assessment, this research has furthermore been able to provide context specific feedback and lessons for vertical-, controlled- and resource-integrated UA.