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A literature review of Life Cycle Costing applied to urban agriculture
Nowadays, more than half of the world's population live in urban areas and this tendency is projected to increase to 68% by 2050 (UN, 2014). As a result, problems in the supply of fresh food due to increased demand can be expected. According to various authors, the development of urban agriculture (UA) may alleviate the cities’ fresh food problem in order to improve their sustainability. In this regard, Life Cycle Costing (LCC) as part of the Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) is used for valuation of the economic aspects in many industries, but its application in UA is still limited. To fill this gap, the purpose of our research was a literature review of the use of LCC methodology in UA sector by studying its evolution since it beginning in 1995 to date (July 2018). We performed an accurate selection of academic literature from the two main databases Scopus and Web of Science (WoS). After several refining processes, we obtained the selected references for analysis, organized into four groups. The results showed that the European region was the most productive in LCC research for UA, being Spain and Italy the lead countries. We also found that urban horticulture (edible plants cultivation) was the most analyzed type of UA. Another interesting finding was that within the urban horticulture, the building-integrated forms (indoor farms, rooftop greenhouses, rooftop gardens) gained more popularity perhaps due to the lack of available space in the cities and the developing of new technologies. Regarding the performance of LCC assessment for UA, some emerging problems were detected. At first place, almost all the papers investigated comprised both LCA and LCC analyses, but the proportion between them was very disproportionate, being LCA the predominant type of assessment. At second place, we noticed that generally only one economic indicator (total cost) was used for the costs estimation. On the basis of these findings, further research of LCC for UA is needed for: (i) balancing the disproportion between the use of LCA, LCC and SCLA analyses within Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) framework, and (ii) promoting the application of more than one economic indicator for costs estimation.