Agroecological Urbanism – Future Heritage
Andre Viljoen was invited to participate in the AESOP4FOOD Intensive Programme Agroecological Urbanism – Future Heritage hosted between the 8th and 15th July by the Stads Academy Ghent, Belgium, a collaboratory for transdisciplinary research and education on complex and urgent sustainability issues of the City of Ghent and Ghent University.
Funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ programme, the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) and the International Federation of Landscape Architects’ Le Notre Institute, the week-long intensive programme brought together students from across Europe to develop strategies for strengthening Ghent’s agricultural heritage for the future. Taking an agroecological perspective, students connected strategies for evolving the city’s agricultural hinterland in ways that would enable a retention of soil, water and food supply utilising organic and equitable approaches.
Andre was asked to introduce the Continuous Productive Urban Landscape (CPUL) concept at the start of the summer school. The lecture presented the ideas and design research that underpin the CPUL concept and how they relate to agroecology and described different ways the concept is informing recent work in Nerima Tokyo, Carthage and Brighton & Hove.
From a European perspective, it was interesting to observe the many similarities between what is happening in Brighton (where Katrin and Andre hold academic posts at the University of Brighton) and Ghent. While Ghent’s food strategy is further developed and embedded in policy than Brighton & Hove’s, the social energy of Brighton&Hove’s participatorily-developed stands out. The urban contexts of both places have many similarities. Both cities have densely-built city centres, Ghent especially in its historic core, and both cities own and manage surrounding farmland that is rented out on a commercial basis. Negotiating transitions to sustainable and circular food systems is challenging in both places. With this in mind we are going to explore a possible informal city-to-city conversation, to enable the sharing of experiences and good practice.
For further information see the Agroecological Urbanism – Future Heritage programme’s own website.
Information about AESOP4FOOD can be found here.
For information on our teaching on productive urban landscapes see here.
Image: Participants in the AESOP4FOOD intensive programme enjoy a working lunch at the Stads Academie, Ghent. (source: Konrad Ruskowiak 2023)