Food-productive infrastructure: Enabling agroecological transitions from an urban design perspective

Dong Chu, Katrin Bohn

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The concept of agroecological urbanism has the potential to leave behind the traditional divide between the rural and the urban and between urban and agrarian industries, whose many interlinked environmental costs have long been overlooked. The recently published Summary for Policymakers by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made it very clear: the negative impact of, f.e., industrialised agriculture on climate change is paramount (IPCC 2018). Loss of biodiversity, nutrition and health problems, depletion of ressources, to name but a few, are becoming more and more serious in the nexus between rural and urban. Approaches from many directions are needed to tackle these problems in the short and long run, one of them being spatial considerations, given that land will always form a key basis for food production and food system provision. It is time to build a complex relationship between the urban and the suburban and the rural, a relation that is progressive spatial design and ecological process a the same time thereby constructing sustainable closed-loops applicable to agricultural production.
In this paper, we put forward the proposal for urban planners and designers to finally put aside compartmental thinking and join forces in order to find practical and desirable solutions towards more sustainable urban food systems. Selecting - from a variety of existing infrastructural concepts - the spatial landscape typology of the Greenway as our example, we suggest a “food-productive greenway” theoretically based on the design concept of Continuous Productive Urban Landscape (CPUL) (Viljoen 2005) and aiming at expanding the ecological capacity of traditional greenways by reorienting them towards food production and urban food system provision. Using a method developed from landscape ecology assessments, we will analyse the potential “food-productive greenway” for three different space-planning functions: landscape ecology characteristics, landscape productivity characteristics and landscape social characteristics. The paper will conclude with a factually-supported recommendation for urban planners to consider food-productive urban infrastructure as one of the keys towards a liveable post-carbon city.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Jun 2019
Event9th international AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference: Agroecological transitions confronting climate breakdown: Food planning for the post-carbon city - Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Duration: 6 Nov 20199 Nov 2019


Conference9th international AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference
Internet address


  • Green infrastructure
  • CPUL
  • Greenways


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