Evidence-based Food System Design: tools and data
Urban systems place enormous burdens on local and global ecosystems and are a major cause to climate change. Especially the debate around local food systems is of particular interest at the metropolitan level. The question whether local food systems are more sustainable or just than systems at other scales is still under debate (see, for example, Born & Purcell, 2006). However, the re-location of agriculture is increasingly seen as a way forward. In the Netherlands, the Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (PBL, 2012) considers short chains as an important strategy for farmers to transition towards more sustainable production whilst ensuring affordability to consumers.
For SUSMETRO, ‘Evidence-Based Food System Design’ projects strive to address the knowledge gap described above, making use of the geo-layers approach to ensure a high level of synergy. The overall goal is to contribute to an evidence base for public as well as private stakeholders that supports them in shaping the sustainable systems. Relying on a string of methodologies and tools, SUSMETRO seeks to produce results with a clear design-oriented dimension in terms of graphical displays and illustrations, as well as data collection methods that support evidence-based design and decision-making.
To make transition work and to guide them amidst complex social, economic and environmental processes, more and better knowledge is needed on resource and waste streams as well as consumer attitudes in terms of quantity and spatial characteristics when developing new business plans and policies. This means calculation and assessment of consumer demands and possible local or regional supplies, logistics, environmental, economic and spatial consequences and interrelations.