Knowledge for better food systems

Book: Toward sustainable relations between agriculture and the city

This book, edited by Christophe-Toussaint Soulard, Coline Perrin and Elodie Valette, examines the interactions between agriculture and cities, using case studies around the Mediterranean.

Publisher’s summary

This book gives an overview of frameworks, methods, and case studies for the analysis of the relations between agriculture and the city, in Europe and the Mediterranean. One of its general objectives is to show, through a diversity of case studies, how local actors (private actors, civil society and public decision-makers) deal with and interact over agriculture, food and urban development. It also aims to show how actors innovate through new activities, organisations, institutions and territories. Another key objective is finally to provide frameworks and methodological approaches for what could be called “agri-urban studies”.

The three parts of the book provide a set of approaches of the sustainability of urban food systems from an actors’ perspective. Part 1 presents systemic approaches of agricultural-urban interactions at the city-region scale in France, Egypt, Italy and Morocco. Local food issues, agriculture-urban relations, short food chains and urban livestock are taken as examples to develop systemic approaches, mobilizing both integrative and dual processes linking agriculture and the city. Part 2 deals with methods and tools for urban planning and local development, in order to design and assess sustainable food systems. At the city-region scale, chapters illustrate how actors can set relevant boundaries of a sustainable foodshed, design tools including local food supply in urban planning, and evaluate contributions of local projects to sustainability. Part 3 identifies and recounts the recent changes in urban agriculture and the new forms of governance which are emerging in European cities (Athens, Berlin, Lisboa, Montpellier, Paris and Zurich). Referring to urban agriculture, chapters show how sustainable pathways can be fostered by a wide range of multiscale grassroots initiatives (farms, collective gardens, buildings, urban green areas…) embedded in transitioning trends of sustainable development.



Soulard, C.T., Perrin, C. and Valette, E. (eds.) (2018). Toward Sustainable Relations Between Agriculture and the City. Cham: Springer.

Find out more here. See also the Foodsource resource How far could socio-economic change reduce GHG emissions?

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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