Isabel Martinho da Silva (Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto) | June 5, 2015 - 15h00 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão


Urban allotment gardens have been increasing exponentially in Portugal due to the growing demand of urban dwellers. This boom of urban agriculture results in an improved quality of life in our cities. The installation of allotment gardens in expectant or marginal lands increases the area of the urban green infrastructure with all the associated ecological, economic and social benefits; ascribes a function to currently functionless lands; and promotes the rehabilitation of abandoned urban landscapes.
The Vila Nova de Gaia Municipal Network of Urban Allotment Gardens (MNUAG) is an innovative symbiotic strategy devised to meet the demand for garden plots at a low cost by transferring the “ownership” of expectant landscapes to urban gardeners.
The characteristics and motivations of the Gaia potential urban gardeners were studied based on the analysis of the data collected in the MNUAG application forms. Unlike rural farmers, the new urban gardeners are a quite diverse, young, and qualified population. Economic reasons, health concerns and leisure opportunities are the main drivers of the Gaia urban agriculture expansion.


Isabel Martinho da Silva graduated in Landscape Architecture from the Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal, in 1988. She has a Master in Landscape Architecture and a PhD in Renewable Natural Resources from the University of Arizona, USA. She worked as a landscape designer and planner for several years in private practice. Since 2004, she is an assistant professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Porto, Portugal, where she teaches several courses and supervises many master and PhD students. She is also a senior researcher at CIBIO-InBIO. She has developed research in landscape change and sustainable design and her current research interests are landscape change, landscape rehabilitation, sustainable design of public space, and urban agriculture.


[Group Leader: Paulo Farinha Marques, Landscape Planning, Design and Management]


Image credits: Isabel Martinho da Silva