Urban agriculture: How bottom-up initiatives are impacting space and policies in São Paulo
The growing demand for the creation of urban gardens in large cities has created a discussion about the need for green spaces in cities that fulfil multiple functions. Beyond the production of fresh and healthy food, these spaces should also connect citizens, transform the public space through collective action, and engage the participation of society in the policies and planning for a greener city with a better quality of life. This paper addresses the case of São Paulo specifically, and illustrates how urban gardens have been boosted in the city through a dynamic process mainly driven by bottom-up initiatives arising at the local scale. These initiatives have been able to advance strategies and policies, including those regarding urban agriculture, in the Municipality’s agenda. The paper also discusses how these urban gardens have created and reinforced social innovation and social capital among the actors, with the common objective of building a more sustainable and democratic city.