As agriculture became successful and provided the wealth for cities to grow, this eventually led to the distancing of agricultural life from many cities, as these cities became larger. A differentiation between urban and rural life arose as a natural consequence. Whilst cities are engines of human progress, an argument can be made that in many cities around the globe, humans have become too removed from many fundamental processes which sustain us.
I think it is reasonable to expect that we know roughly where our food comes from and the basics of how it was produced, at the very least. It is hard to see how one could qualify as an informed member of society without this knowledge. Considering that we are symbiotically embedded in the Earth’s biosphere, some knowledge of the nature of our place in this biosphere appears important. Ultimately this will be significant for our wellbeing.
A way we can maintain our familiarity with the biology of which we are a part is to bring more biology into our cities. More plants in our cities is both appealing and healthy. Crucially, the more food we are able to produce in our cities, the more we lower transportation costs. In this way, we are also able to ease the burden cities place on rural environments and ecologies. Cities must produce more of the food which is consumed within them. Relying mostly on outside sources is not sustainable.
More local production also makes it easier to recycle bio-waste and convert this to fertiliser and energy which is able to be used where it is needed. Cities must become more self-sufficient if we are to continually support and expand the type of global civilisations we enjoy living in. Let’s blur the lines between what is rural and what is urban, creating a smoother progression between these environments. Let’s bring more of the country into the city and bring state of the art technologies, such as controlled growing; agricultural information technology, and where economical, renewable energy generation and storage technology, into the country, making the best use of our resources everywhere.
All these shifts are decentralising by nature, this being essential to the long-term maintenance of liberal and free societies. By making good use of our technological and social ingenuity and creativity, we are able to open up new jobs and careers in struggling rural and urban places, this also taking population pressure from our large cities and distributing populations across our landscapes in a more balanced manner.