Wed 16 Jan

Live Case 1: Experimenting with the Lucca Food Pla(i)n

Urban sprawl has been on the rise in the Plain of Lucca in the last decades. The same holds true for the abandonment of agricultural land and the loss of local entrepreneurial fabric linked to agriculture. Among the environmental, social and economic outcomes of such trends, the provision of ecosystem services is likely to be seriously undermined and deserves our attention - especially in the face of climate change.

But how do we give prominence to peri-urban areas? How do we communicate the importance of synergies and interdependencies between rural and urban? What would the Plain of Lucca look like if such rural-urban linkages were highlighted?

The Lucca Living Lab aims to identify a governance model that allows such interconnections to be explored and highlighted. Local food becomes the keystone in making rural-urban synergies prominent.   

The idea underpinning our Living Lab is to make the local food system take on a central role in ensuring the adequate conservation and enhancement of rural territory in the Lucca Plain. With this purpose, the Lucca Living Lab will act upon:

  • sustainable food systems, for the design and operationalisation of a food system model which will foster the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the territory;
  • cultural connections, that is, on the values and meanings attached to local food, as well as knowledge and traditions related to local food, rural architecture and landscapes, to foster the demand for good local food and sustainable tourism;
  • ecosystem services, towards innovative solutions for the maintenance of cultivated land and for the reproduction of multiple functions which both rural and urban areas and their dwellers will reap the benefits from.

Our Living Lab will build upon – and depart from – the results of the previous (almost complete) project CirculariFood: the Food Plan and Food Policy Council. The Food Plan will include, in addition to a Charter of Principles, a set of actions that adhering municipalities will be called on to implement. The Food Policy Council is the “control room” from which the Food Plan is run.

The shape the Food Policy Council will take is open to experimentation within the Living Lab. The level of experimentation will likely depend on different stakeholders’ involvement and the Living Lab’s forthcoming initiatives. The Lucca Living Lab will therefore provide the Plain of Lucca with plenty of opportunities to:

  • guide the experimentation of the Food Policy Plan and Food Policy Council, testing the future governance arrangements and emerging solutions in real-time;
  • set up a space where lots of different actors who are unaccustomed to working together can cooperate; and
  • create an arena of knowledge exchange and collective reflection upon ROBUST central themes.

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News about Rural-Urban Europe and the ROBUST project is published regularly in the INFORMED CITIES newsletter.

ROBUST is a European research project involving 24 partners from 11 countries. ROBUST receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727988.

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