Urban Agriculture

CESR is active in urban agriculture research through PhD research, publications and COST actions. Mike Hardman and Peter Larkham produced the book of Mike's PhD thesis on guerrilla gardening; 'Informal urban agriculture: the secret lives of guerrilla gardeners' in late 2014. This has led to numerous media features, and Peter briefly appeared on BBC Midlands Today on 19 January 2015 discussing guerrilla gardening.


Adams, D. (2014) 'Urban trespassing: reinterpreting the spatial practices of guerrilla gardening in "off-limits" sites', paper presented at the 'Trespassing in Fieldwork' Symposium, St Hilda's College, University of Oxford, June

Adams, D., Scott, A. J. and Hardman, M. (2014) 'Guerrilla warfare in the planning system: revolution or convergence in sustainable planning discourse?', Geografiska Annaler vol. 95 no. 4 pp. 375-387

Adams, D. and Hardman, M. (2014) ‘Observing guerrillas in the wild: reinterpreting practices of informal guerrilla gardening’, Urban Studies vol. 51 no. 6 pp. 1103-1119

Hardman, M. and Larkham, P.J. (2014) Informal urban agriculture: the secret lives of guerrilla gardeners  Springer

Hardman, M. and Larkham, P.J. (2014) Viewpoint: 'The rise of the food charter: a mechanism to increase urban agriculture', Land Use Policy

Hardman, M. (2012) ‘Conference review: AESOP Third Sustainable Food Thematic Group Meeting’, Town Planning Review vol. 83 no. 4 pp. 487-492

Hardman, M., Larkham, P., Curzon, R. and Lamb, J. (2012) 'Considering the impact of illegal food cultivators: a critical exploration of guerrilla gardening and the local trap', in Sheppard, V. (Ed.) Proceedings of the Salford Annual Research Conference, Salford: University of Salford

Hardman, M. (2011) Understanding guerrilla gardening: an exploration of illegal cultivation in the UK, Centre for Environment and Society Research, Working Paper no.1, Birmingham City University, Birmingham

Hardman, M. and Jones, D. (2010) 'Grow It Eat It Move It Live It: a Birmingham community food growing network', paper presented at the AESOP 2 and European Sustainable Food Planning Conference, University of Brighton

COST Action Urban Allotment

The Urban Allotment COST Action is designed to bring together researchers and practitioners from across Europe, countries represented range from Estonia, to Germany, Latvia, the UK and many more: all corners of the continent are present. The focus of the four year project is on the importance of urban allotments: their social, ecological and design principles and impact on sustainable development in various countries. The proposal for the Action was developed between several countries and led by academics in Germany, academics from Birmingham City University, including Professor Richard Coles, Dr Susan Noori, Russell Good and Michael Hardman helped with the process.

Birmingham City University hold a position on the Management Committee (MC) of the Action, in essence representing the UK on the decision-making arm of the project. Each country has two representatives on this committee, which in effect, steer the Action and ensure its objectives are achieved: Michael Hardman (BCU) and Silvio Caputo (Coventry University) represent the UK delegation.

The first MC meeting occurred in Brussels, Belgium and attracted over 18 countries; further meetings, including the first Working Group (WG) event, is scheduled for Germany in early 2013. The Action is currently recruiting for UK participants to join the WG element of the project, more information can be found on the COST Action Urban Allotment website.

COST Action Urban Agriculture

The Urban Agriculture (UA) COST Action began in July 2012, and brought together a variety of academics and practitioners: social scientists, soil scientists and a wide range of other disciplines were present. The first full meeting occurred in Aachen, Germany and focussed on establishing the objectives and Working Groups (WG) of the four year project. These WGs centred on exploring how UA fits into European and national policies, models of city-based food schemes and spatial visions for UA.

This meeting also involved trips to nearby UA sites: from allotments, to community gardens and farms, all based within or around cities. There was also an opportunity to view the student-led projects in Aachen, which involved produce being grown close to the halls of residence, enabling access to fresh organic produce. Future meetings are planned for Malmo (Sweden), Barcelona (Spain) and other locations are Europe. This Action is recruiting and more information can be found on the COST Action Urban Agriculture website.