Productive Urban Landscapes

Research and practice around the CPUL design concept

Dr Mikey Tomkins' map drawings for Brighton CPUL waiting to be folded (source: Andre Viljoen 2022)

The first CPUL edible map walk through Brighton

Last week, about 20 invited guests took part in the first edible map walk through Brighton following an imaginary CPUL (Continuous Productive Urban Landscape) route. Guided by Dr Mikey Tomkins, participants explored a potential urban edible landscape – a CPUL – made up of inner-urban sites in this UK seaside city. In preparation of the walk, Mikey, with the support of Andre Viljoen and Katrin Bohn, had prepared an “edible map”, a visualisation and engagement tool he had developed and tested in previous participatory projects. Unlike conventional maps, which show the existing, these maps show the potential of urban areas to become food productive. They use text and sketches to support the spatial imagination of what it would be like to live in a city that grows, processes, transports, prepares, consumes and recycles (some of) its own food. In Brighton, the original edible map is intended as a tool to generate discussion, and during (and after) the walk, participants are invited to add their own “edible ideas” to it.

The walk belongs to the recently launched participatory project Seeing urban food futures hosted at the University of Brighton and led by Prof Andre Viljoen. The project involves staff from two University-of-Brighton schools and five community partners and aims to co-produce analogue and virtual simulations visualising the potential integration of food systems activities, esp. urban agriculture, into neighbourhoods. The next edible walk will follow the same route but be virtual, allowing a more precise localisation of, f.e., edible walls or roofs, as well as opening up the potential to quantify potential yields and crop types.

Participants of the walk were selected from interested members of the public, local food initiatives, Brighton & Hove City Council and local community groups. To allow discussions during the two-hour walk, the participant group had to be kept rather small but we do hope to repeat the walks in the near future.


For further information on the project see here.

For information on Dr Mikey Tomkins’ work see his own website.

For information on the two University-of-Brighton schools involved see here.

Image: Dr Mikey Tomkins’ map drawings for Brighton CPUL waiting to be folded (source: Andre Viljoen 2022)

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_ Seeing Food Futures* food mapping* green infrastructure* urban agricultureBrighton

Katrin Bohn • 18th April 2022

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