Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept


Edible Mapping, UK

Dr Mikey Tomkins, honorary research fellow at University of Brighton, works within the field of urban agriculture through academic research and artistic practises. Dr Tomkins has worked in Iraq and the US mapping and creating community gardens for refugees. He has also spent time training beekeepers and building over 50 apiaries across London.

Dr Mikey began his Edible Maps project in 2010 and has been developing it since across the UK and in Dallas, USA. The project involves walking routes through cities, with artists, architects and potential stakeholders in tow, to identify and map potential spaces for food production and then creating a map to highlight these areas and what they could be used for. The maps created are a composite illustration with hand drawn and digital elements and text to describe spaces and explain potential uses. Dr Tomkins maps not only indicate open free spaces and existing green spaces, but highlight rooftops and buildings with the potential to be used as farms.

Dr Mikey Tomkins talking to two other people in an outdoor urban setting. (Source: Dr Mikey Tomkins)

Dr Mikey Tomkins leading a conversation whilst on an edible map walk. (Source: Dr Mikey Tomkins, 2022)

Dr Tomkins’ aim with the project is to have tangible urban agricultural areas being developed as a result of his edible maps. In Newcastle, after creating an edible map of a Shieldfield,  he worked with the support of Shieldfield Art Works to introduce wheat in seven locations around the neighbourhood which was eventually harvested for bread production. Dr Tomkins has created a total of 8 maps for cities spanning the UK and USA.

Another element of Dr Tomkins work is his costume creations. He states ‘in order to explore the imagined landscape of an edible city in more detail, I began to design and make a series of costumes around the concept of a near future vision of an everyday urban agricultural city’. The costumed entities are intended to help ‘celebrate and protect our urban food harvests’.

Image of figure wearing a unique fish themed costume in a cityscape. (Source Dr Mikey Tomkins, 2022)

The Fish Spirit Catcher costume (as well as the other costumes) created by Dr Tomkins encourages questions around the cultural response to urban food production. (Source Dr Mikey Tomkins, 2022)

His Brighton Edible Map is being used within a seed project lead by Andre Viljoen to conceptualise a Brighton CPUL. His role within the project has helped a team of technical architects to develop an area of land as a 3D model in a virtual reality system. The process of mapping potential spaces for food production is an essential one for creating a CPUL.

Wheat growing in the foreground with apartment buildings in the background. (Source: Dr Mikey Tomkins, 2022)

Shieldfield Art Works collaborated with Dr Mikey Tomkins to establish seven wheat fields around Shieldfield in Newcastle. (Source: Dr Mikey Tomkins, 2022)


For further information see the Dr Mikey Tomkins own website.

For information on the Brighton CPUL seed project see here.

For information on the Brighton edible map walk see our news post.

The first CPUL edible map walk through Brighton

Image: Dr Mikey Tomkins combines hand drawing and digital drawing when creating his maps. (Source: Dr. Mikey Tomkins)


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* food mapping* urban agricultureInternational

Jasmine Cook • 2nd October 2017

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  1. Supriya Mulay 20th April 2023 - 06:36 Reply

    As a Landscape Architect with over 20 years of work and academic experience, having worked in UAE and in India, my portfolio includes various types and scales of Landscape projects.
    A process-driven approach in any given project demonstrates my drive to unfold the complexity of layered issues around the built environment.

    Residing for many years in Dubai, a place considered as the epitome of urbanization, modern architecture, and dramatic urban landscapes; my concern is : “if there is an alternative approach to the development of rural-urban fringes/urban open spaces and streetscapes? Could landscape planning, in addition to creating aesthetically beautiful environments also be a potential tool towards sustainable land-use and food systems?”

    While I was looking at related literatures and the CPUL concepts, and have also connected with Prof. Katrin Bohn, i was wondering if Dubai, which is one of the fast developing urban hubs, be mapped with the point of view of Productive Urban Landscapes?

    Dr Mikey Tomkins, under your guidance, i am excited to explore the potential of this region.

    My academic and professional experiences, as well as my concerns about environmental issues and food security, set me in search for an opportunity for wider discussions today.

    Thank you,

    • Katrin Bohn 26th May 2023 - 08:08 Reply

      Dear Supriya,

      Thank you so much for your letter. This is an excellent idea to approach urban design and landscape planning with a focus on food systems and sustainable land-use. In fact, this is what we try to do with our research and practice. To start such a process by mapping is, in our experience, very valid and important. It will give you a first overview of the capacities of your city or individual sites.
      So, what to do next?: Towards the end of this year, Mikey Tomkins and my edited book “Urban Food Mapping” will appear. This, hopefully, will help with a theoretical rationale as well as with international case studies and inspiration. What we also could do is to meet online and discuss possible ways forward? Should this be of interest, do send me an email. A third option could be to study the literature on the subject for background information but I do believe you have done so already? In this case, what is really important now is to get started!

      With my best regards,

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