Hello Dr. Fiebrig,
It seems to me that the main advantage of an urban environment is to work with all the others who live nearby, as Toby Hemenway would say. In my neighborhood, we have a trade share group that meets on Saturdays during the summer and fall and during the rest of the year is an email group. In other parts of my metro area there are co-housing units, which I think are a very effective way of sharing fruittrees and vegetable beds, etc. I'm wondering what other sorts of cooperative enterprises people can do with private homes. Are there many who share aquaponics or organize different animals to raise? I am interested in what sorts of successful sharing groups you have seen. They might help us envision new ways to feed our communities in urban areas.
Great thread! There is the classic 'shared tool lending library', though it's not quite the same thing. I'd like to develop on this idea though, especially cause you don't need 10 ladders in one tiny street.
I can tell you about what is going on in Munich. The City Council has put aside some somewhat abandoned space near a public park for city gardeners. Anyone who wants to join and help seeding, planting or watering but also harvest, cook and share the food is welcome. The group has some main organizers, they are volunteers, and others who join on a more or less regular basis. It is not so much about feeding the people but about a joint activity that is healthy to everybody and it helps to overcome integration problems as well (additionally we have a numer of so called intercultural gardens in and around Munich to encourage migrants to come together with local people and co-operate in a peaceful manner for cultural integration - it works and the city administration has acknowledged that!).
There is also a German wide working webspace on the basis of something like google maps where people can mark public trees whose fruits you can freely harvest (and save the city council cleaning costs!). I believe there is something similar in the US too, isn´t there?