A longitudinal literature review of life cycle costing applied to urban agriculture

Alexandra Peña*, M. Rosa Rovira-Val

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The aim of this research is to carry out a literature review of the use of life cycle costing (LCC) in the urban agriculture (UA) sector by analysing its evolution over a 22-year period from its beginning in 1996 to July 2018. Methods: A total of 442 references were obtained from two principal databases, Scopus and Web of Science (WoS). After a long refining process, 20 (4.5%) references containing the keywords LCC and UA were selected for analysis. Then, we classified and organized the selected references in 4 groups. Qualitative methods were used for analysis, and results on general characteristics of the 20 references and by each group were elaborated. Lastly, we discussed and concluded the most significant findings. Limitations and future research were also included. Results and discussion: Our major findings were as follows: (i) urban horticulture was the most studied urban agriculture practice among studies that used LCC for UA; (ii) LCC plays a secondary role in its integration with LCA; (iii) only 4 of the10 papers in group 1 used additional financial tools; (iv) very few (3) papers appropriately applied the four main LCC stages; and on the other side, essential costs like infrastructure, labour, maintenance, and end-of-life were frequently not included. Conclusions: Since we found that life cycle assessment (LCA) was the predominant methodology, we suggest that future research apply both LCA and LCC analyses at the same level. The LCC analysis was quite incomplete in terms of the costs included in each LCC stage. We recommend that the costs at the initial or construction stage be considered a necessity in future studies in order to implement these new systems on a large scale. Due to the limited use of labour cost at the operation stage, we also suggest that labour be included as an essential part of the urban production process. Finally, for more complete LCC analysis for UA, we recommend (i) that all LCC stages be considered and (ii) that additional financial tools, such as net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR) and payback period (PBP), be used to complement the LCC analysis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1418-1435
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2020


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