Towns and cities in the world’s developing countries are growing on an unprecedented scale. Most of the world’s fastest growing cities are found in low-income countries of Asia and Africa with young populations.

Further, the growth of urban slums outpaces urban growth by a wide margin. By 2020, the proportion of the urban population living in poverty could reach 45 percent, or 1.4 billion people.

The concept of “green cities” is usually associated with urban planning in more developed countries. It suggests high-tech eco-architecture, bicycle greenways and zero-waste, “closed loop” industries.

However, it has a special application, and significantly different social and economic dimensions, in low-income developing countries. A starting point for growing greener cities is to recognize and integrate into urban policy and planning many of the creative solutions that the urban poor themselves have developed to strengthen their communities and improve their lives. One of those solutions – and an essential feature of green city planning in developed, and a growing number of developing, countries – is urban and peri-urban horticulture.

Learn more about urban agriculture here.

Photo credits: Fancycrave / CC0 License