WIT Press

Methodology to identify and assess agroecological practices in metropolitan areas. Case study, Concepción, Chile


Free (open access)


Volume 14 (2019), Issue 2



Page Range

119 - 130

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. Delpino-Chamy, M. Alarcon, S. Fernández & J. Soto


Urban agriculture (Ua) is being constantly reviewed because of its significant contribution to urban and metropolitan sustainability (mS). Within the approaches associated with Ua, agroecology stands out as a practice that places value on collaborative social networks. Emerging from grassroots organizations that focus on ecological production and food sovereignty, agroecology strengthens short production-consumption chains, therefore increasing the resilience of metropolitan systems, which are under constant threat by natural hazards. The focus of this research is to develop and apply a methodology that identifies underlying agroecological practices, describing their location, state of development, and potential contribution to sustainability within metropolitan areas. a theoretical framework is developed to distinguish agroecological practices from commonly practiced Ua; subsequently a proposed methodology is developed to identify and assess these activities based on the following criteria: forms of production, sociopolitical organization, and mS. This methodological approach is used to analyze agroecological practices present in the metropolitan area of Concepción, Chile’s second most important city, located over a territory with high presence of marshes, riverbeds, and wetlands. Conclusions identify as main strengths of agroecological practices their location on rururban interstices, together with their small scale of production; both aspects contribute to improving mS. Regarding weaknesses, the lack of appropriate planning policies and regulations threaten agroecological practices to disappear under the pressures exerted by contemporary urban development. finally, particular attention should be given to associative organizations, which have proven to enhance sustainable agroecological outcomes, by increasing employment generation, environmental preservation and local resilience


Agroecology, metropolitan areas, metropolitan sustainability, rururban interstices, socio- political organization