The literature on agtech for urban agriculture (UA) offers many narratives about its benefits in addressing the challenges of sustainability and food security for urban environments.

In this paper by Michael G. Parkes, Duarte Leal Azevedo, Tiago Domingos, and Ricardo F. M. Teixeira, the researchers present a literature review for the period 2015–2022 of research carried out on currently active UA installations.

They aim to systematize the most common narratives regarding the benefits of CEA and soil-less growing systems in urban buildings and assess the existence of peer-reviewed data supporting these claims.

The review was based on 29 articles that provided detailed information about 68 active UA installations depicting multiple types of ag-tech and regions.

The results show that most research conducted for commercial UA-CEA installations was carried out in North America. Standalone CEA greenhouses or plant factories as commercial producers for urban areas were mostly found in Asia and Europe. The most often cited benefits are that the integration of multiple CEA technologies with energy systems or building climate systems enables the transfer of heat through thermal airflow exchange and CO2 fertilization to improve commercial production.

However, this review shows that the data quantifying the benefits are limited and, therefore, the exact environmental effects of CEA are undetermined. 

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Parkes, M.G.; Azevedo, D.L.; Domingos, T.; Teixeira, R.F.M. Narratives and Benefits of Agricultural Technology in Urban Buildings: A Review. Atmosphere 2022, 13, 1250.