Urban Agriculture, Uneven Development, and Gentrification in Portland, Oregon

Published In

Environmental Ethics

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2018


Portland, Oregon enjoys a growing reputation as a beacon of urban sustainability. Its modern planning history has seen effectve efforts to curb urban sprawl and introduce a comprehensive mass transit system. More recently, the city has also become a hub for a “makers” movement involving a plethora of local, small-scale craft production. Within this context, Portland is also home to a thriving urban agriculture scene, featuring community gardens, community-assisted agriculture, farmers’ markets, food co-ops, and various farm-based education and outreach programs. While recent case studies of Portland insist that the social sustainability case made for urban agriculture (UA) remains open, this position is arguably unwarranted and lacks an adequate grasp of the critical urban geography perspective developed in the work of David Harvey and Neil Smith. Following the lead of what Chiara Tornaghi calls “the critical geography of urban agriculture,” Portland’s urban agriculture should, on the whole, be seen as an adjunct to rather than a resistance movement against advanced neo­liberal urban governance.



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