4th AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference – Berlin


With global population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050 and a degree of urbanization already exceeding 50%, questions of food security and sustainability are gaining ever increasing prominence among researchers and politicians.

At the same time that urbanisation has raised the importance and power of urban areas, it has generated a decoupling of production and consumption that poses serious challenges to cities’ food systems. In such a context, issues such as food sustainability, security and sovereignty have risen to the fore. Indeed, because food systems are quintessentially multi-functional, they have become ideal media through which to explore more general questions of sustainable urban design, structuring, and place-making. This changing context makes it imperative that planners and designers consider urban food systems in relation to conditions and issues such as the following:

  • Urban growth dynamics and development have often occurred at the expense of valuable agricultural land, making land use conflicts unavoidable.
  • Large segments of the population in cities are becoming ever more dependent on an increasingly globalised food market, with its numerous fluctuations in price and supply creating growing vulnerability to food security. This situation has triggered considerable debate about the significance, character and potential of more regionalized supply chains.
  • Increasing urbanisation has led to questions concerning the sustainable re-structuring of urban-rural relationships and a new urban-rural metabolism. Systems approaches have attempted to incorporate spatial-structural as well as functional, economic, and socio-cultural perspectives.

For planners, attention to food production in urban and regional (and, in particular, in well-connected urban-rural) contexts has become centrally important. The trend of urbanisation is still ongoing, but with different speeds in the global north and the global south. On the one hand this gives urban areas more importance but on the other hand it also means that the decoupling of production and consumption are challenging for the city´s food supply, mainly affecting the food sovereignty of urban regions. Because of its multi-functional character, urban food systems are an ideal medium through which to discuss and design sustainable urban structures and places.

Urban Agriculture ranges from community-based rooftop farming using flagship high-tech green architecture and technology to informal backyard growing and subsistence peri-urban production. In recent years, multifunctional urban agriculture and systemic approaches has emerged as important topics in debates on the future of urban food systems, and its numerous different forms and divergent character in the North and South make it an issue rich for contextualisation and debate. Planning for sustainable food production, distribution and consumption is an increasingly important issue for policymakers, planners, designers, farmers, suppliers, activists, businesses and scientists alike.

Building upon the stimulating debate and compelling scholarship produced during the first three Sustainable Food Planning Conferences in Almere (2009), Brighton (2010) and Cardiff (2011), this conference will promote cross-disciplinary discussions between active researchers and practitioners in response to these and related issues. Working at a range of scales and with a variety of practical and theoretical models, the conference will review and elaborate approaches to and definitions of sustainable food systems, and continue to define ways of achieving, implementing and institutionalising them. This conference is focussing on 3 different tracks to contribute to the discussion on ‘sustainable food planning': (1) Places, (2) Processes, and (3) Products.

Conference program: http://www.klima.tu-berlin.de/aesop/AESOP4_conference_Programme.pdf

Visit site: http://www.klima.tu-berlin.de/aesop/index.php

Contact organizers: http://www.klima.tu-berlin.de/aesop/contact.php


About Craig Verzone

Craig P. Verzone is a principal at Verzone Woods Architectes and team leader of the Food Urbanism Initiative.

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