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Page history last edited by Alethea 17 years, 3 months ago

Agriculture at the Metropolitan Edge


Geography 298, Section 2

Spring 2007, Tuesdays 3:30 – 5:30 PM, 315D Wurster Hall

CCN: 36784, 2-3 units S/U


Course Schedule & Reading Assignments

Download Syllabus as PDF

Emerging Research Questions

Related Current Events


Course coordinator:

Sibella Kraus (Director, Agriculture at the Metropolitan Edge program) sibellakraus (at) berkeley (dot) edu

Course facilitators:

Nathan McClintock (PhD student, Geography) mcclintock (at) berkeley (dot) edu

Alethea Harper (MLA student, LAEP & GSR, AME program) alethea_marie (at) berkeley (dot) edu

Faculty sponsor:

Michael Johns (Professor & Department Head, Geography


Course Description:

A robust agricultural system is vital to the health of metropolitan regions worldwide. This course will engage students in an investigation of urban-rural interface issues including land use policies and economics, the role of local food systems, environmental services and impacts, and urban/rural linkages. Through case study-based lectures and weekly readings and discussions, students will explore periurban agriculture as one of the basic frameworks for understanding and managing the growth of metropolitan regions worldwide. In order to receive 3 credits, students may also prepare individual presentations. The first seven weeks will be spent on readings and discussion, establishing basic knowledge and a common language for describing urban-rural interface issues. During each of these first weeks, a doctoral student or visiting speaker will present a case study relevant to the themes of the class. The last two weeks will be devoted to presentation of student research projects. The course will culminate with attendance at the Agriculture at the Metropolitan Edge symposium, April 5-6.


Course Objectives:

By completing weekly readings, leading and participating in class discussions, and preparing an individual presentation, students will gain an understanding of the following themes:

  • Rural-Urban Linkages
  • Urban Edge Land Use Policy and Economics
  • Environmental Services and Constraints
  • Livelihood Conservation Strategies and Vitality of Rural Communities
  • Local Food Systems and Food Justice
  • Future Policy Strategies

These themes all depend on answering a central question: What are the critical linkages between urban and rural areas? By the end of the course, students will be prepared to debate this question, and participate in discussions on the future of periurban agriculture around the world. Students will also be able to evaluate the likely costs and benefits of proposed projects and policies for the urban edge.


Course Requirements:

Weekly readings and class discussions, and one presentation on best practices for developing local food systems in a metropolitan area. Students will be expected to lead class discussion of readings at least once. Research projects will be chosen from a list of examples in industrialized settings such as the US/Canada/EU/Aus/NZ, as well as in so-called transitional economies (China, Mexico, etc) and developing countries (Africa, Central America, etc).


Course Meetings:

There will be an informational meeting in the first week of classes, after which the class will meet weekly for 10 weeks, for 2 hours each session. Students will also be expected to attend the AME symposium, April 5-6.

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