November 26th, 2018

Integrating food into urban planning

Published by UCL Press, FAO,

This book (PDF) by the UCL Press and FAO discusses planning cities in such a way they will increase food security and nutrition, not only for the affluent segments of society but primarily for the poor. The integration of food into urban planning is a crucial and emerging topic. Urban planners, alongside the local and regional authorities that have traditionally been less engaged in food-related issues, are now asked to take a central and active part in understanding the way food is produced, processed, packaged, transported, marketed, consumed, disposed of and recycled in cities. One article assesses the role of informal retailers to improve urban food security in African cities. Supermarkets will increase their presence and influence over food economies in cities, local governments should consider their potential impact. Small and informal food outlets have important roles in cities, yet city governments evict, harass and constrain informal workers. The authors argue that urban policy and planning to support informal food economy can make an important difference. Another article pictures the challenges of urban food supply and food waste management for system sustainability. More attention is needed  to inter-sectoral planning and a shift in focus from technical solutions to institutional business models and economics. Concepts like CRFS, foodsheds, short supply chains and resource recovery and reuse can add value to urban planning. Broader stakeholder involvement to understand and appropriately address possible concerns will have to be part of any resource recovery initiative. The book draws on cities of different sizes, from regions across the global north and south, in both developed and developing areas, the contributors collectively attest to the importance of global knowledge rooted in local food planning practices, programmes and policies.

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