Hot off the press: Flourishing Foodscapes

Thu 25 Oct 2018 J.S.C Wiskerke, ROBUST Project Coordinator and co-editor of the new book, Flourishing Foodscapes: Designing City-Region Food Systems, shares the book's five core principles for re/designing the current food system and explains why we need to urgently change the way that we produce, distribute, sell and consume food for a more sustainable future.  

Flourishing Foodscapes: Designing City-Region Food Systems is a book about the present and future of food provisioning practices and their social and physical environments and how these practices and environments shape each other.

The book begins with a short analysis of changes in food provisioning over the last centuries, particularly focussing on how the rural and the urban have grown apart (spatially and socially) as a result of the modernization, industrialization and globalization of the food system. The book argues that these changes have resulted in several contemporary and future food challenges (e.g. climate change, diet-related ill-health, environmental degradation, decline of biodiversity) and that there is an urgent need to do food differently.

One way of doing that, we argue in this book, is to adhere to a set of principles for designing and redesigning foodscapes. Towards this end, five socio-spati al design principles are identified:

  1.  Adopt a city-region perspective (i.e. reconnect city and countryside)
  2.  Link and align different levels of scale (e.g. house, neighbourhood, city region)
  3.  Connect flows and close cycles (i.e. circular economy)
  4.  Create and enhance spatial diversity and synergy (i.e. multifunctionality of food), and
  5.  Conceive multiple food utopias (i.e. create/design different future visions/scenarios)

These five socio-spatial design principles constitute the five core parts of the book. Each part begins with a chapter to introduce the background and importance of that particular principle. This is followed by four chapters, each dedicated to a specific case that serves as an illustration of that particular principle. Through this set-up and the combination of social sciences and spatial design, and of theory and practice, we anticipate that in addition to providing new perspectives on and approaches to foodscapes studies and design, this book also contributes to the debate about the future role of designers.

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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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