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Can a city feed itself? Innovations in City–Region Food Systems from a Swedish perspective

Conference contribution
Authors Shelley Kotze
Mirek Dymitrow
Karin Ingelhag
Published in 4th Global Food Security, Food Safety & Sustainability Conference,10–11 May 2019, Montreal, Canada
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Mistra Urban Futures
Language en
Keywords City-Region Food Systems, food security, food sustainability, wicked problems, urban, rural
Subject categories Human ecology, Human Geography, Food Science


Contemporary discussion frames food security and sustainability as a wicked problem, in that it is multidimensional, hard to define and thus extremely challenging to solve. As such, new models and approaches have evolved in an attempt to address the sustainability of food in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, once such model is that of City–Region Food Systems. One of the challenges of addressing urban food systems is that of linking rural regions with urban ones, often distinguished as spaces of production and consumption. Reimagining peri-urban/rural food spaces would potentially address sustainability challenges by shortening food systems, generating greater transparency and providing greater opportunity for consumer influence. Furthermore, City–Region Food Systems provide an alternative method to increasing food security and sustainability that increased production and intensification of agricultural practices. The challenges and benefits of this new concept are systematically tested through innovative methods within the EU project Urban Rural Gothenburg, which seeks to create new links between the city’s urban and rural spheres, thus making novel contributions to food security, food affordability and food injustice. This paper discusses this cutting-edge concept of City–Region Food Systems as an emerging field of research, using examples from past and ongoing work undertaken by Urban Rural Gothenburg to explore its benefits and challenges.

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