The Future of Food

How can we create an urban food system for 2050 through urban renewal, that reduces the impacts on the environment and empowers all population groups?

By 2050, the world’s population is projected to reach almost 10 billion. Our methods of food production cannot continue on the same trajectory without devastating consequences. 

The overarching agenda of the Future of Food is to address, and comment on, issues with the current industrialised food system and related secretive agricultural processes. These include damaging environmental impacts, such as extensive deforestation, transportation and water consumption, and issues with industry inclusivity and accessibility. 

The Future of Food suggests how, through utilisation of under-utilised, vacant and/or well connected sites within cities for the purpose of food production, we can create urban food networks that present a much more sustainable, accessible, transparent, community-driven model for future cities. This will work to bring food production back into the urban context and re-connect city-dwellers with the food that they eat.  

After extensive research into the current industrialised food system, inclusivity in the agricultural industry, investigation into future food scenarios, and much more, a widely applicable framework for developing urban food networks was created. This includes an ‘implementation guide’ outlining 19 different methods of urban food production and food-related community spaces that should be integrated within the network, over a 30-year period.

The framework was then applied to the city of Manchester, where ‘network zones’ were developed at this broad scale. The final communication of the project presents how this could work at a building scale, with Debenhams (a now vacant building) being the chosen site. At this scale, we can see how, through building re-use, we can redesign existing spaces for the purpose of food production and for the community.