The world is changing. While in some places cities are shrinking and losing population, the global trend is that the urban population will continue to increase. These changes will have effects on the land dynamics, namely the growth of urban areas and the related loss of agricultural or forest areas for housing. Therefore, the increase in population will require strategic approaches when allocating new areas for food production in addition to dealing with the challenges posed by global environmental change. In metropolitan areas, the competition between urban soil for allocating new buildings and soil for agriculture and forest (to support the needs of the population) will be of great importance for defining a sustainable future. This project focuses on developing an integrated model to support climate-smart agriculture in metropolitan areas. It is the purpose of this project to combine existing fragmented knowledge in an integrated model that is able to provide support for decision-making for land use planning or management, improving the knowledge on the processes of land dynamics and agriculture (in particular, a deeper knowledge on the soil and water properties). To achieve the purposes we propose to integrate the assessment of the soil and water qualities and their ecosystem values; focus will be on urban and agricultural processes and key stakeholders will be involved in the design of the model. In order to deal with global environmental change, outputs will take in consideration different climate projections in the creation of scenarios used for the support of land management choices.
We provide a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.