Yesterday’s visions of tomorrow’s food.:A brief history of speculative design and urban food governance.

Pollastri, Serena (2022) Yesterday’s visions of tomorrow’s food.:A brief history of speculative design and urban food governance. In: Routledge Handbook of Urban Food Governance. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780367518004

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Food and cities are inextricably linked. The issue of bringing food to its citizens has historically determined the fabric and location of most cities around the world. And in turns, the design of the city influences the diets and food habits of its dwellers. Food is the one thing no living creature can do without. For this reason, visions of urban futures always include or imply speculations on how people will feed themselves. What food will they eat? How will it be grown, delivered, consumed or disposed of? This chapter looks back at the last 100 years of urban visions featuring food or eating practices. It reviews a selection of visual materials, including speculative projects, urban plans, films, and artistic representation. It highlights and analyses recurring themes, as well as unique ideas that addressed specific issues or contexts. Visions of futures are, in fact, not developed in a vacuum, but responses to pressing issues of their time, and as such they can give us valuable information on how strategic challenges were approached. At the same time, these visions have a powerful agency on shaping societal ideas and expectations about the future. The chapter will trace the legacy of some of the most frequently recurring paradigms and provide a reflection on how these have influenced and shaped long-term strategies for urban food governance. As the need for more coordinated and future-focussed approaches to the governance of urban food systems become more evident, it is important for citizens and policy makers to challenge and discuss ideas and assumptions about desirable futures. And this is precisely the aim of this historical review: to critically look at visions in their context, to unveil their impact, and to enable discussions on other possible futures.

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16 Nov 2022 16:30
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12 Sep 2023 03:24