A short history of food mapping

Katrin Bohn, Ferne Edwards

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Traditional mapping practices have drastically changed in recent years from having an apolitical, authorative voice. Enabled by new technologies and varying visualisation methods, maps are no longer singular, static or reductive but instead are being transformed to make visible and to empower by engaging different perspectives, subjects and tempos. Popular, novel approaches include guerrilla, emotional and critical cartography which enrich current urban design and planning studies with complex and surprising findings. Often, the new mapping practices enable - and are enabled by - a new way of approaching contemporary urban issues. Urban food practices, a topic of increasing interest to all, anthropology, geography and urban design due to increasing urbanisation, environmental concerns and a desire to reconnect to nature and to one's food source, are also prolific in uptaking new mapping styles. Using GIS and other forms of artist, participatory and community mapping, amongst others, food mapping provides a rich arena in which to apply mapping as a tool to communicate new ways of understanding urban space, identities, relationships, alternative economies, mobilities and connections across the city and beyond. This paper explores the yet young history of food mapping from anthropology and urban design perspectives with the aim to establish a first systematic overview of food mapping's visual outputs and production processes. The paper seeks to explore the tensions, criticisms and new theoretical and methodological directions that such mapping introduces across disciplines in relation to key themes that include identity, space-use conflicts, gender, migration, the senses, ecology, productivity, and home/place-making through food.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Jan 2020
EventAnthropology and Geography: Dialogues Past, Present, and Future conference - Royal Anthropological Institute/ British Museum/ SOAS/ RGS, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jun 20207 Jun 2020


ConferenceAnthropology and Geography
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Opportunity mapping
  • Urban food system
  • Productive urban landscape


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