By 2050, the size of the city slums that house over a billion people today will have more than doubled. An international 3-year project, called Edible Landscape, is studying how the integration of agriculture into urban planning and housing design could brighten tomorrow's city-scapes.
With support from IDRC, Vikram Bhatt, director of the Minimum Cost Housing Group at McGill University's School of Architecture, will lead a project to plant gardens in the slums of Rosario, Argentina; Kampala, Uganda; and Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Canadian experts in architecture, health and sustainable development will help officials from the three cities decide how to transform some 25 hectares of land that will affect 500 families.
Rooftops of discarded tin will be covered with earth and seeded with fruit trees and vegetables, while balconies will be turned into poultry pens, etc.
"Urban planners have tended to create landscapes for beauty, not utility," said Bhatt. "We need to be envisioning something much richer and deeper than that."