Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning


City and Regional Planning


Adrienne Greve


Cities within California are beginning to incorporate urban agriculture into their land use designations. Prompted by residents and local organizations, cities are hoping to capture the benefits that urban agriculture provides. Research has shown that urban agriculture renews and beautifies neighborhoods, provides healthy food choices, increases public health, has the potential to help with stormwater runoff, creates jobs, and fosters community. In the last few years, several California cities have made headlines as they have adopted new zoning codes that include urban agriculture.

In reviewing these new zoning codes and exploring the topic of urban agriculture, it became evident that just because an urban farm was small, organic and provided certain benefits that it was not free from impacting its surroundings. As more urban agricultural ventures are established within cities, planners have to carefully consider their effect. One such impact could be stormwater pollution. There is insufficient research to determine whether there is a relationship between urban agriculture and stormwater, however, studies on conventional agriculture and urban landscaping (mainly urban lawns) show that each of these areas pollute the local water bodies with sediment, chemicals, and nutrients. Is urban agriculture different?

This thesis utilizes two case studies within California, the City of Oakland and the City of San Diego, to examine the similarities and differences between each city’s urban agriculture ordinances and evaluate whether or not the cities have adjusted stormwater requirements in parallel with these ordinances. Interview responses and site visits in each city were analyzed and compared to expound upon the approaches each city engaged. Using the collected data and analysis as a base, a set of guidelines was created for managing stormwater runoff from urban agriculture.