Feeding the City

01-02-2016  How can we feed the city? For the International New Town Institute, we developed a program on food security and city planning in rapidly urbanizing Nairobi, Kenya.

The International New Town Institute and the city of Almere developed an international exchange and research program of students and professionals to research the themes of agriculture and urban development. This program  contributes to a movement which Almere has initiated: ‘Growing Green Cities – A Call to Action’ in the context of the Horticulture Worldexpo, the Floriade. We will research subjects like: How can city planning help to achieve food security for all? How can city-planning be based on agriculture? How do corridors between the rural area and the city function? How can urban-rural linkages contribute to rapid urbanization? And how can we involve people in urban agriculture?

During this research we will analyse the food chains in the Metropolitan area of Nairobi to study the actual situation about how the city is being fed. We will explore how urban planning is involved in these food chains and how they could contribute to food security. Furthermore we will develop an implementation plan; a testing site in Kenya to learn-by-doing and to showcase the results at the Worldexpo Floriade in 2022.

Urbanization is on the rise globally. The challenge is to steer urbanization towards greener cities that offers healthy food, clean drinking water and sustainable energy in a social, economic and sustainable environmental way. We need radically different urban planning to create greener cities. (Floriade, 2014). Historically, there has been very little systematic food related urban planning or policy by subnational or local authorities. Landscape or place based approaches to food system planning, such as the newly termed “city region food system,” (FAO, 2013) are signs that this is changing. Rethinking the urban-rural continuum comprising urban, peri-urban and rural landscapes can help integrate food and nutrition security with climate action planning, disaster risk reduction, economic and community development, water, biodiversity and other aspects of natural resource management. This is a multifaceted and evolving process for many practitioners located in both urban and rural landscapes in both high-income and low-income countries. (future agricultures, May 2013)