ICT: An Efficient Instrument for the New Agriculture in Rural and Urban Areas

ICT: An Efficient Instrument for the New Agriculture in Rural and Urban Areas

Julián Briz (Polytechnic University Madrid (UPM), Spain), José María Duran (Polytechnic University Madrid (UPM), Spain), Isabel Felipe (Polytechnic University Madrid (UPM), Spain) and Teresa Briz (Polytechnic University Madrid (UPM), Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4550-9.ch003
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Agriculture is facing new challenges in rural and urban areas, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) may play a significant role. In this chapter, there is a background description of the ICT sector in the interface of urban and rural communities within the framework of agriculture. It describes some case analyses focused in agronomy and social sciences. In agronomy, the focuses are environment, food production, and pollution. In socioeconomics, there is a brief identification of ICT applications such as the collaboration between the university and firms. Considering the heterogeneousness of the analysis, the future research directions include different methods of studies for ICT programs (house of quality, structural organization, and others).
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Background: The Interface Urban-Rural Communities

Urban Areas

ICT are the actual platforms where different socioeconomic forces of Humanity have the opportunity to interact, without geographical barriers. As an example, we may identify how university and research centers interface entrepreneurs and individual users.

This is a new challenge to analyze in the coming future. Global urbanization process is moving very fast. In 2050, around 75% of world population will live in urban areas. That means over 6000 million persons will be concentrated in 2% of the surface of the Earth.

The new urban model will need big changes in food supply systems, logistic and services. There will be an increase trend in production and functioning cost, and environmental conditions may be seriously damaged. Energy, carbon and water foot print have to measure their impact in the new market.

New urban areas have to become sustainable through new functions of production (urban agriculture), minimize energy and residual. It is in these new frontiers where ICT may increase the efficiency, using adequate technology for modern inhabitants. Movements of “smart and green cities” go in that direction. The possibility to monitor internal and external forces would improve traffic control, energy and water management, food and gardens.

To facilitate the previously mentioned changes, there are different actions to be developed. The organization of focus groups, with the participation of urban groups, traditional farmers, researchers and administrative servants is one of the traditional ways. Institutions as Foro Agrario in Spain have taken the initiative and there is an approach to increase these interfaces.

The use of blogs and Web pages are useful tools to communicate new activities at national and international levels. Expertise’s in green cities are using Skype and other system to communicate each other and organize congress, seminar, publications (www.greenroofs.org).

Looking for synergies between key players in ICT areas, the success of new adventure activities relays in the possibility to coordinate the synergies between dynamic urban-rural forces.

The goal of many cities is to introduce nature in their daily life and it is conditioned by the possibility to introduce the vegetation and animal life remaining in rural areas. That would improve the environment which may be analyzed continuously through the process of identification - transmission - evaluation of data obtained by markers to detect temperature, humidity, air and noise pollution, as mentioned before. The e-innovation allows the scientists to capture and elaborate data and to propose adequate measures and policies for a better environmental situation.

In summary, urban areas are changing habit and preferences of the new dwellers. Environment and urban agriculture are some of the more significant dimensions trying to satisfy better and healthier life, food supply and entertainment. ICT are playing an increasing and efficient role through education and training, with distant and learning courses and seminars (www.foroagrario.org/huertosurbanos).

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