Urban agriculture contributes to food security and human wellbeing and is associated with a wide range of environmental benefits.

In the United Kingdom, a substantial proportion of urban agriculture occurs in allotment gardens, and these are a historically significant part of the landscape. However, allotment land provision has declined significantly since its mid-twentieth century peak.

The study, "Urban food cultivation in the United Kingdom: Quantifying loss of allotment land and identifying potential for restoration" examines the magnitude and nature of this decline using a GIS analysis of historic Ordnance Survey maps covering ten British urban areas from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present.

The authors found that there has been a 65% decline in allotment land from its peak to 2016, a pattern also reflected in per capita provision. The study also shows that:

"the most at-risk areas for food insecurity have faced eight times the level of allotment closures than the least deprived areas"

Assessment of subsequent land-use of former allotments show that 47% of allotment land is now part of the urban built infrastructure, and 25% is other forms of urban greenspace.

Restoration of these greenspace sites to allotments has the potential to meet up to 100% of the current levels of demand for new allotments by residents in the case study areas. Hence the authors conclude that:

"Our results demonstrate that whilst a significant amount of urban agricultural land has been lost, opportunities for restoration exist on a substantial scale"