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Research Centre in Urban Environment for Agriculture and Biodiversity (RESCUE-AB)

The Research Centre in Urban Environment for Agriculture and Biodiversity (RESCUE- AB) was created in 2013 within the Department of Agricultural Sciences (DIPSA) of Università di Bologna Alma Mater Studiorum (UNIBO). The leading goal is to turn the city into a widespread ecological-laboratory that connects the different experiences of agriculture and urban ecology for the establishment of ecological pathways and corridors.

The ResCUE-AB main activities include:

  • Promotes and coordinates urban horticulture study and researches socially sustainable ecosystems including soilless crops, agro-ecology and biodiversity in an urban environment. This includes urban beekeeping, pest management in cropping systems of small-scale and sustainable means pest control both in urban and rural environment. The activities include as well the urban horticulture crop quality and management, urban park and gardens in general.
  • Promotes and organizes cooperation and relations with research groups from other universities and institutions, including both national and international associations.
  • Acts as a means to spread awareness and provide training through the promotion and organization of conferences, seminars and meetings on topics related to the areas of action, by informal and grassroots approaches as well.
  • Promotes the production of documented materials and publications for scientific and community value.
  • Acts as a methodology for defining and redefining policies while providing programmatic implementation of policies at the local, regional, national, as well as, with international Institutions.

Prof. Giorgio Prosdocimi Gianquinto

The principal investigator of SustUrbanFoods is prof. Giorgio Prosdocimi Gianquinto (LinkedinCV). 

Prof. Gianquinto is full professor in the DipSA of UNIBO. He is a member of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), where acts as chair of the Landscape and Urban Horticulture Commission and of the Italian Society of Horticulture (Società Orticola Italiana, SOI). From 2011, he coordinates the Master program in Agricultural Sciences and Technology in UNIBO and, from 2013, he chairs the Research Center in Urban Environment for Agriculture and Biodiversity (ResCUE-AB).

Dr. Esther Sanyé-Mengual

The experienced researcher of SustUrbanFoods is Dr. Esther Sanyé-Mengual (ResearchgateLinkedin). 

Dr. Esther Sanyé-Mengual holds a PhD in Environmental Sciences and Technology, a MSc in Environmental Studies (esp. industrial ecology) and a BSc in Environmental Sciences from the Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona (Spain). She has worked on the interdisciplinary assessment of the sustainability on urban food production. While her thesis focused on rooftop agriculture, in SustUrbanFoods she wants to evaluate urban agriculture as a whole, paying particular attention to social and technological innovations.

Dr. Francesco Orsini

Dr. Francesco Orsini is a senior researcher at RESCUE-AB (DipSA, UNIBO) (ResearchgateCV). He is a member of the Società Orticola Italiana (SOI) (2005) and of the International Society for Horticltural Sciences (ISHS) (2006). His research interests are mainly urban agriculture, soil contamination, crop tolerance and stress, and international cooperation and development. He has developed his research in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Hungary, the United States and Brazil.

Publications on the topic:

Sanyé-Mengual, E., et al. (2018). Urban horticulture in retail parks: Environmental assessment of the potential implementation of rooftop greenhouses in European and South American cities. Journal of Cleaner Production, 172, 3081-3091. – link

Dorr, E., et al. (2017). Proper selection of substrates and crops enhances the sustainability of Paris rooftop garden. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 37(5), 51. – link

Sanyé-Mengual, E. et al. (2017). The role of interdisciplinariety in the evaluation of the sustainability of urban rooftop agriculture.  Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society, 5(1), 46-58 – link

Petit-Boix A et al. (2017) Application of life cycle thinking towards sustainable cities: A review. Journal of clenaer production. –link 

Specht K & Sanyé-Mengual E (2017) Risks in urban rooftop agriculture: Assessing stakeholders’ perceptions to ensure efficient policymaking. Environmental Science & Policy, 69, 13-21 – link

Gasperi et al. (2016) Towards Regenerated and Productive Vacant Areas through Urban Horticulture: Lessons from Bologna, Italy. Sustainability, 8(12), 1347 – link

Sanyé-Mengual E, Orsini F et al. (2015) Techniques and crops for efficient rooftop gardens in Bologna, Italy. Agronomy for Sustainable Development (online) – link

Sanyé-Mengual E, Anguelovski I et al. (2016) Resolving differing stakeholder perceptions of urban rooftop farming in Mediterranean cities: promoting food production as a driver for innovative forms of urban agriculture. Agriculture and Human Values 33:101–120 – link

Sanyé-Mengual E et al (2015) An environmental and economic life cycle assessment of rooftop greenhouse (RTG) implementation in Barcelona, Spain. Assessing new forms of urban agriculture from the greenhouse structure to the final product level. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 20 (3): 350-366 – link

Orsini, F., et al. (2014). Exploring the production capacity of rooftop gardens (RTGs) in urban agriculture: the potential impact on food and nutrition security, biodiversity and other ecosystem services in the city of Bologna. Food Security, 6(6), 781-792 – link

Antisari, L. V., et al. (2015). Heavy metal accumulation in vegetables grown in urban gardens. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 35(3): 1139-1147 –link

Orsini, F., et al. (2013). Urban agriculture in the developing world: a review. Agronomy for sustainable development, 33(4), 695-720 –link

Mezzetti, M., et al. (2010). Women and simplified hydroponics: community gardening as a way of emancipation in Trujillo, Peru. Acta Horticulturae, (881), 169 – link


Participation in EU funded projects:

Horticulture in Towns for Inclusion and Socialisation – HORTIS (526476-LLP-1-2012-1-ITGRUNDTVIG-GMP, Lifelong Learning Programme) – website

URBAN GReen Education for ENTteRprising Agricultural Innovation – URBAN GREEN TRAIN (2014-1-IT02-KA200-003689, ERASMUS +) – website

GARDENStoGROW Urban Horticulture for Innovative and Inclusive Early Childhood Education (2017-1-IT02-KA201-036887, ERASMUS+) – website

Urban Agriculture – Climate Benefits Compared with Conventional Food Chains – URBACLIM (Climate-KIC) – website

Western Balkan Urban Agriculture Initiative – BUGI (586304-EPP-1-2017-BA-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP, ERAMUS+) – website