Reframing the foodscape: the emergent world of urban food policy

by Ana Moragues-Faus, Kevin Morgan:

Abstract. Cities are becoming key transition spaces where new food governance systems are being fashioned, creating ‘spaces of deliberation’ that bring together civil society, private actors, and local governments. In order to understand the potential of these new urban food policy configurations, this paper draws on urban political ecology scholarship as a critical lens to analyse governance-beyond-the-state processes and associated postpolitical configurations. Taking Bristol and Malmö as empirical case studies, the paper illustrates the different paths that cities are taking as they strive to fashion more sustainable urban foodscapes. The analysis highlights the contested nature of “sustainability” in transition studies and explores whether concerted action on the part of civil society and municipal government is capable of creating more inclusive food narratives. Although progressive political currents can be neutralised by incumbent elites, as theorists of the ‘postpolitical city’ have argued, these cities also show that the food system is a highly contested battleground in which the themes of sustainability and justice can help to mobilise progressive forces and open up a range of new political possibilities.

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