Urban Food Planning

Last changed: 19 April 2023
Urban food truck, illustration.

Food planning, broadly speaking, refers to the integration of food into urban planning. Food-related issues have historically been absent from the urban planning field, however, an emerging area of research is investigating how food perspectives can be integrated within spatial planning and policy-making in urban areas. Particular attention has been given to public authorities and the policy levers that are available to local, regional and national governments that allow them to influence food systems, such as the establishment of food strategies.

Food planning occurs through both top-down and bottom-up initiatives; and can be seen as a movement among a diversity of stakeholders aimed at creating a more sustainable food system that is better aligned with societal goals of public health, ecological integrity and social justice.

Over the last decade food strategies have been developed by many different local and regional authorities around the world, detailing priorities and policies for achieving these ambitions. The complexity of food systems coupled with a multitude of stakeholders results in a diversity of different strategies and tools to implement these policy visions. The importance of place and context is therefore essential to understanding how food and urban planning can be integrated and the resulting food system outcomes, which impact people, place and planet.

work flow, illustration.

At SLU a working group is coordinating activities to understand different implementation tools for food planning. Most recently, a workshop at Uppsala Health Summit brought together academics, societal actors and students to explore these concepts and tools.


Fredrik Fernqvist, Lecturer at the Department of Human and Society, SLU.
Email: fredrik.fernqvist@slu.se

Ingrid Sarlöv Herlin, Head of department, Professor at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, SLU.
Email: ingrid.sarlov-herlin@slu.se

Andrew Gallagher, Coordinator at SLU Urban Futures.
Email: andrew.gallagher@slu.se


Food & Cities is a collaboration between SLU Future Food and SLU Urban Futures. The project communicates SLU’s existing research and aims to create new encounters between different disciplines and sectors. The project seeks to identify knowledge gaps and cross-disciplinary research questions and investigates how a long-term thematic focus on food and citiescould be established at SLU.