3 July 2020Press release

Urban agriculture: how to implement it on rooftops and terraces? A practical guide.

Urban farming is at the crossroads of the environmental concerns and the societal aspirations of citizens. Responding to the need of revegetating urban spaces involves making a better use of rooftops that are currently under-utilised. Fanny Provent (AgroParisTech) and Paola Mugnier (Urbalia) have brought together the best practices to support decision makers and practitioners in the installation rooftop vegetable gardens in urban areas.

Urban agriculture is proliferating on our rooftops and terraces as a reaction of co-owners of buildings who want a greener city, of innovative operators and startups, of associations and local authorities who encourage short food supply chains, of urban planners, property developers, and builders who adapt their buildings to new uses.

Rainfall water retention, preservation of biodiversity, waste recovery, thermal insulation… Rooftop vegetable gardens contribute to the urban revegetation trend at the building scale. These food production areas contribute to short food supply chains and are a vector of social linkage and pedagogy, such as in the case of shared gardens.

This book is the work of two young engineers graduated from AgroParisTech (Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences). It is an operational and technical guide written in French that reflects the mindset of those who advocate for a sustainable way of life. Enriched with photos, illustrations and graphics, the book includes examples of projects implemented in several French cities.

“Agriculture urbaine : comment aménager une toiture-terrasse” is the first of guide from the lab recherche environnement VINCI ParisTech, the research program based on the partnership between VINCI and three ParisTech schools (MINES ParisTech, AgroParisTech, École des Ponts ParisTech). This scientific patronage aims at supporting research on the environmental performance of buildings and infrastructure

The book is available in French in bookstores and in ebook format


Presentation of “Agriculture urbaine : comment aménager une toiture-terrasse” by the coauthors

On September 21 at 5h30 pm

Online and at Leonard:Paris – 6 place du Colonel Bourgoin 75012 Paris

During the conference « Urban and vertical farmers »,
organised by the lab recherche environnement in the framework of the Building Beyond festival
by Leonard, the foresight and innovation platform by VINCI.

Please, register to the event by the 7th of September

The opportunities and technical challenges of urban agriculture
will be discussed with practitioners and scientists:
Léon Garaix (City of Paris, Parisculteurs programme), Pascal Hardy (Agripolis),
Pascal Michaud (VINCI Construction France), Christine Aubry and Erica Dorr (AgroParisTech).

The authors 

Paola MUGNIER is a mentee of the Women4Climate programme by the C40 for her commitment to bringing nature to cities. She contributes to the ecological transition of cities and territories and she’s particularly sensitive to the social and societal issues. She supports city stakeholders – such as property developers and local authorities – in the development of biodiversity and urban agriculture.

Fanny PROVENT is an agronomist specialised in urban agriculture and she coordinates the « Urban agriculture, ecosystem services and urban food supply » chair at AgroParisTech. She’s strongly committed to these topics and advocates for greener cities, nature-based solutions and green urban infrastructures, in response to urgent environmental issues.

Table of contents 

Urban agriculture settles on the rooftops

  1. Urban forms of agriculture
  2. The advantages of making rooftops fertile
  3. The peculiar ecosystem of the fifth facade
  4. A shift towards “circular buildings”

Implementation guidelines

  1. Getting to know the project area and defining it
  2. Identifying the main elements of the roof structure
  3. Identifying the necessary flows for a rooftop farm
  4. What equipment for more functionality?
  5. Anticipating the project management

Project methodology and fact sheets

  1. The main project stages for a new or an existing building
  2. Regulation and reference documents
  3. Fact sheets presenting different forms of urban agriculture
  4. Fact sheets presenting practices and feedbacks from rooftop agriculture projects
  5. Bibliography
On the same subject
Christine Aubry
Senior Associate Researcher and Consultant Professor
Erica Dorr
PhD Student
Reconciling nature and the city, a highly artificial environment, is an art that is practised from the scale of the building to that of the suburban territory, including that of the neighbourhood.
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A simplified life-cycle assessment tool will allow decision makers to assess the sustainability of urban agriculture projects and guide the design and management of these projects.
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Pilot site
Vegetable garden on the rooftop of AgroParisTech
AgroParisTech's experimental rooftop has been used since 2012 to design urban agriculture systems in rooftop boxes, using urban residues as components of technosols, with the aim of studying the services provided by
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Practitioner group
Bertrand Ney Rooftop at AgroParisTech
The benefits and costs related to green infrastructure in cities need to be better understood through assessment tools that measure environmental impacts, for example, carbon emissions due to the transport of substrates,
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