On the one hand, I love how urban farming has focused attention on food access, land use, and local responses to national/international forces (housing crisis, deindustrialization, take your pick)
"In targeted HOME GR/OWN Zones, residents repurpose foreclosed houses and vacant lots into abundant healthy food assets" (from Milwaukee’s entry in the Mayor’s Challenge contest)
On the other hand, I hate how urban farming or civic gamification or design-centered revitalization efforts are sometimes fiddling with deck chairs as structural icebergs are ignored because what the heck are you going to do with fundamental injustice and the hollowing out of the working class.
In recent years, as Washington has sunk further into a swamp of dysfunction, local leaders are rising to meet many of the toughest challenges facing the country — from economic growth and environmental protection to public safety and poverty. Cities have become the new laboratories of democracy, and there are promising policy experiments happening all across the country.
A list of the top ten influences on America cities over the past 50 years compiled by urban historian Robert Fishman, who conducted a survey at the end of the last millennium of members of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History. [Image from Geography 101, arrived via Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air Conditioned World]