The role of food on re-imagining the sustainable city: from the neighbourhood to the region.

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Abstract Summary
Planning for a sustainable humanized environment requires equilibrium between several networks including the social, the economic but also the physical one. At a time when 55% of world population lives in urban areas and is expected to increase to 68% by 2050, it is important to disclose how cities can improve their current metabolism, towards a sustainable one. Humanity is now believed to live in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, as a number of changes have been reported on the atmosphere, air, water, and soil, but also on societal perceptions of urban structure, including its limits, boundaries, concepts, and elements of urban form. This presentation departs precisely from this theoretical assumption and argues that the abovementioned changes in culture and the environment are occurring but have not yet found a stabilized platform to propose a new socio-ecological metabolic perspective. This presentation is part of an on-going research project (SPLACH – Spatial Planning for Change) which aims to identify urban planning policies to support sustainable transitions towards low-carbon cities. Improvement of urban metabolism requires an agenda for self-sufficiency with impacts for example on mobility, food provision, employment, and housing. From daily needs on which every citizen depends on to live, the problems and potentials associated with a sustainable urban food system present important challenges for spatial planning of metropolitan territories where rural hinterlands and urban consumption spaces have been long segregated. This presentation overviews the implications of the food system within urban planning while considering it as a socio-technical system which integrates production, distribution, transformation, consumption and disposal patterns. The production phase of the food system, in particular with agriculture at urban and rural areas, emerges as a fundamental planning challenge, extending to urban form solutions, individual behaviors, dietary regimes, inequalities in foodsheds planning, the current role of ICT innovation and the cultural capital of food, some of which have been seldom studied. Accordingly, the food system emerges here as an opportunity to identify how current urban fabrics of cities and their rural hinterlands can be transformed in terms of their metabolic function and respond to the needs of people and the environment. To do so, this presentation introduces the preliminary results of an analysis conducted by SPLACH project at two particular scales: the region and the neighborhood. Thus, we provide an analysis of its Regional Plan (PROT-AML) as well as some specific residential neighborhoods, in what regards the relationship between the food system functioning and urban planning options. The analysis includes a comparative number of case studies which differ in urban form solutions, socio-economic conditions, but also geographical location. The results of this analysis support our approach for the need of a stronger integration of the above-identified underexplored topics of the food system within urban planning, which will be fundamental to inform a new theory of the city that makes any serious contribution towards a sustainability transition.
Abstract ID :
ISO480
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