Food and urban metabolism

Good practices for just and sustainable cities


The study of many international experiences reveals how food is a catalyst of policies in contemporary cities. At the same time, urban planning is gaining an emergent role in defining assessment methods, strategies and action plans that consider the food system as a complex object that interacts with a plurality of tools for urban management.

It is a shared opinion that a more strategical control of food procurement, products distribution and waste disposal in urban settings can really contribute to the realization of just and sustainable cities. In particular, a systemic approach that considers the phenomenon through the lenses of urban metabolism is precious for interpreting the functioning of the food system and its re-organiation towards a less impacting and more circular model.

The present observatory proposes a general recognition of strategies and assessment tools for food systems and a specific review of good practices, activated in Italy and abroad, both for public and private initiative.

The observatory, ideated by a research group of IUAV University, within the Department of Design and Planning in Complex Environments (Dppac), was born with the intent to support the diffusion, in Italy, of Urban Food Strategies.

In the following list, a series of declarations and methodological guides are collected, as a useful reference for approaching Food Policies theoretically. In the other sections of the observatory, instead, practical examples and case studies from all over the world are presented and divided into three groups: Strategies and Plans, Practices, Assessments.

International charts, planning and assessment guides: