Call for Papers


Special Issue: Urban Food Planning

Guest Editors1
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Emel KARAKAYA AYALP, Ýzmir Democracy University
Prof. Dr. Einar BRAATHEN, Oslo Metropolitan University
Prof. Dr. Danielle WILDE, University of Southern Denmark and Umeĺ University

Half the world’s population is now urbanized, and cities are seen as key players in solving the myriad problems occurring due to the evolving multi-crisis of climate, sustainability, food system transformation, and more. Challenges related to urbanization and demographic changes are increasingly recognized as key components of resilient and sustainable development (UN FAO, 2017). Our food system is proving unsustainable in terms of the crisis of climate, accessibility, land grabbing, biodiversity, food sovereignty, public health, animal welfare and depletion of resources; a new paradigm for city and regional planning and policymakers concerning these challenges is urgent (Viljoen & Wiskerke, 2012).

While the agri-food system has been radically transformed in the last century, it has also received the largest share of the effects of the ongoing climate crisis, urbanization crisis, and neoliberalization (Karakaya Ayalp, 2023). In the last 15 years, we have faced three food crises on a global scale, which were faced in 2007-2008, 2010-2011 and in 2022 as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The 2016 HABITAT III meeting in Quito assigned important roles to cities and city administrations. The reason for this assignment lies behind having reached a threshold. The global food system threatens planetary boundaries (Willett et al., 2019), jeopardizes public health (Clayton, 2021) and causes inequalities in access to food.

The necessity of solving global problems such as poverty, epidemics, climate crisis, deadlocks produced by the global agri-food system and food injustice has reached a threshold (IPES Food, 2020). While the prevailing agri-food system signals the threshold of an unsustainable structure in food production, consumption, distribution, and waste, the need for a safe, secure, fair and democratic food system is frequently expressed by urban communities, producers, governments and international institutions and organizations (Karakaya Ayalp et al., 2023). Therefore “food democracy”, or thedemocratization of food systems by countering the power of Big Agro-Business and empowering marginalized people, has been advocated (Andrée et al., 2019; Bassarab et al., 2019; Lang, 2005; Sieveking, 2019).  

Food is a multi-faceted issue in the sustainability challenges experienced in cities (Morgan & Sonnino, 2010). Cities are largely dependent on external sources and other regions for their food supply and are forced to rely on long food supply chains (Karakaya Ayalp et al., 2023; UN FAO, 2023). On the other hand, externalities are not visible where food is consumed and thus often neglected. “Cities, then, have a key role in addressing food system challenges for their own populations, for the rural producers that serve them and for the global community” (Hawkes & Halliday, 2017, pp. 7-8).

Understanding the role of the efforts of local organizations and initiatives that emerged in response to this need is becoming more significant in designing a sustainable system. The past two decades have seen an uprising of food-oriented social movements that challenge industrial food systems and seek to reinforce, build on, and scale-up innovative food initiatives (Reckinger, 2022). Examples from around the world show that a holistic system in which local organizations form a cohesive network structure and in which local governments play a key role could provide a solution (Zebrian et al., 2022). A growing engagement of food movement actors in public governance is demonstrated through, for example, the emergence of a range of local or regional Food Policy Councils (FPCs) on the American continent (Sussman & Bassarab, 2017) and in Europe (Thurn et al., 2018). Although grassroots organizations and movements play a prominent role in initiating a sustainable food system, the role of local governments is fundamental to creating a structure that guides the food system in a holistic, inclusive, and stable way toward a sustainable direction (Karakaya Ayalp, 2023). A holistic approach to transforming the urban food system, such as urban food planning, urban food policy, food law, food strategy, etc., has been implemented in various countries around the world over the past two decades. Numerous food policies and strategies have been developed in many cities around the world since the early 2000s (Ilieva, 2016). Urban food planning may encompass urban food system analyses, the integration of the food aspect into urban plans and the implementation of practices considering food strategy documents. “Against a backdrop of pressing socio-environmental challenges, from poverty and pandemics to climate change, urban food strategies are being implemented as solutions worldwide” (Moragues-Faus & Battersby, 2021, p. 1).

In a hyper-urbanized world and increasing urbanization, cities are seen as key to “revolution” in which the consequences of physical and socio-ecological forms of transformation of nature are most visible (Swyngedouw & Heynen, 2004). Cities and urban areas are critical for redesigning spatial politics which results in different forms of environmental, socio-economic, and political injustice (Moragues-Faus & Battersby, 2021). “The key role of cities in creating more sustainable foodscapes is also now recognized in international arenas such as the United Nations New Urban Agenda or the Sustainable Development Goals” (Moragues-Faus, 2021, p. 1). Hawkes and Halliday (2017) propose that, as key actors in addressing the food challenge, city governments should be tasked with solving the problems that the food system causes for urban populations, rural producers and the peri-urban areas. Also, Morley and Morgan (2021) propose that there is a growing role of municipalities in food policy reform.
Organizations with concerns about the food system at the local level can have a transformative impact at the global level. In this context, international agreements and documents such as

  • Sustainable Development Goals,
  • European Union (EU) Green Deal,
  • EU Farm to Fork Strategy,
  • Glasgow Declaration on Food and Climate,
  • Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

often point out the role of cities in the sustainability transitions of their food systems.

Although there is a growing body of literature on food planning and cities (Cabannes & Marocchino, 2018; Calori et al., 2017; Cohen & Ilieva, 2021; Ilieva, 2016; Moragues-Faus & Battersby, 2021; Morgan, 2009; Morgan, 2013), Pothukuchi and Kaufman (2000) disclosed that food is a stranger to urban planning. Since the “sustainable food planning” research group was established within AESOP (Association of European Schools of Planning) in 2009, the field of urban food planning still has a lot to research, implement, reveal and discuss. As, planning for sustainable food production and consumption is becoming an increasingly important issue for planners, policymakers, designers, farmers, suppliers, citizens, activists, businesses and scientists alike, the rapid growth of the food planning movement owes much to the unique multi-functional character of food systems (Karakaya Ayalp, 2023). In the wider contexts of global climate change, resource depletion, a burgeoning world population, competing food production systems, and diet-related public health concerns, new paradigms for urban and regional planning capable of supporting sustainable and equitable food systems are urgently needed.

Concerning these urgent needs, this special issue addresses urban food planning with a range of methods, cases, research, contemporary discussions, and implementations under four main headlines;

  • a. Governance: changes of strategy and policy documents; need for reforms of legal and legislative structures; participatory approaches and the role of bottom-up initiatives in change processes; evaluation of new policy-making mechanisms and arenas such as urban food commissions and food policy councils.
  • b. Planning: agroecological urbanism, urban agriculture, planning and zoning decisions, design, spatial analysis and food metrics, city-region food system (CRFS), public health
  • c. Production, Procurement and Consumption: production and consumption organizations, short food supply chains, agroecology implementations in the city region, empowerment of food-citizens, local production support, increse awareness on consumer on local products and the nexus between rural and urban.
  • d. Waste and Circularity.

Not limited to these headlines, the special issue is open to a variety of theoretical and practical studies, models, reviews, and more.

The submission of the full texts is till September 1, 2024.
Article submissions are accepted at    
For writing rules of Journal of Planning, please visit       

Authors are expected to suggest three academic referees who are expert in at least one of the following fields;

  • urban food planning / sustainable food planning
  • urban food systems / sustainable food systems
  • food living labs, food hubs, etc.
  • circularity, degrowth, etc.
  • urban and rural geography

For your questions, please send e-mail to [email protected]

This special issue is supported by FUSILLI project.

FUSILLI project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101000717.

Andrée, P., Clark, J. K., Levkoe, C. Z & Lowitt, K. (Eds.). (2019). Civil society and social movements in food system governance. Routledge.
Bassarab, K., Clark, J. K., Santo, R., & Palmer, A. (2019). Finding our way to food democracy – Lessons from US food policy council governance. Politics and Governance, 7, 32–47.
Cabannes, Y. & Marocchino, C. (Eds.). (2018). Integrating food into urban planning. UCL Press and FAO.
Calori, A., Dansero, E., Pettenati, G. & Toldo, A. (2017). Urban food planning in Italian cities: A comparative analysis of the cases of Milan and Turin. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 41(8), 1026–1046.
Clayton, A. (2021, January 13). Setting the scene: Why we need a local food strategy.Food Futures.
Cohen, N. & Ilieva, R. T. (2021). Expanding the boundaries of food policy: The turn to equity in New York City. Food Policy, 103. 
Hawkes, C. & Halliday, J. (2017). What makes urban food policy happen? IPES FOOD, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems. IPES FOOD.
Ilieva, R. (2016). Urban food planning seeds of transition in the Global North. Routledge.
IPES Food. (2020, April). COVID-19 and the crisis in food systems: Symptoms, causes, and potential solutions. IPES Food.
Karakaya Ayalp, E. (2023). Roadmaps2SUSFOOD: Roadmap to sustainable food system: research, method and implementation framework design in Karţýyaka, Ýzmir-Turkey. Research Report funded by BAYETAV Foundation.
Karakaya Ayalp, E., Tatari, F. M. & Dođan, O. (2023). Karţýyaka urban food strategy.
Lang, T. (2005). Food control or food democracy? Re-engaging nutrition with society and the environment. Public Health Nutrition, 8, 730–737.
Moragues-Faus, A. (2021). The emergence of city food networks: Rescaling the impact of urban food policies. Food Policy, 103. 
Moragues-Faus, A. & Battersby, J. (2021). Urban food policies for a sustainable and just future: Concepts and tools for a renewed agenda. Food Policy, 103, 1–7.
Morgan, K. (2009). Feeding the city: The challenge of urban food planning. International Planning Studies, 14(4), 341–348
Morgan, K. (2013). The rise of urban food planning. International Planning Studies, 18(1), 1–4.
Morgan, K. & Sonnino, R. (2010). The urban foodscape: World cities and the new food equation. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 3, 209–224.
Morley, E. & Morgan, K. (2021). Municipal foodscapes: Urban food policy and the new municipalism. Food Policy, 13.           
Pothukuchi, K. & Kaufman, J. (2000). The food system: A stranger to the planning field. Journal of the American Planning Association, 66(2), 113–123.
Reckinger, R. (2022). Values-based territorial food networks. Qualifying sustainable and ethical transitions of alternative food networks. Regions & Cohesion, 12(3), 78–109.
Sieveking, A. (2019). Food policy councils as loci for practicing food democracy? Insights from the case of Oldenburg, Germany. Politics and Governance, 7, 48–58.
Sussman, L. & Bassarab, K. (2017). Food policy council report 2016. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Swyngedouw, E. & Heynen, N. C. (2004). Urban political ecology, justice and politics of scale. Antipode, 35(5), 898–918.
Thurn, V., Oertel, G. & Pohl, C. (2018). Genial lokal. Oekom Verlag.
UN FAO. (2017). The future of food and agriculture: Trends and challenges.
UN FAO. (2023). Supporting the adaptation of urban food logistics systems in the post COVID-19 era. FAO Investment Centre, Investment Brief. FAO.
Viljoen, A. & Wiskerke, J. S. C. (2016). Sustainable food planning: Evolving theory and practice. Wageningen Academic.
Willett, W., Rockström, J., Loken, B., Springmann, M., Lang, T., Vermeulen, S., … Murray, C. J. L. (2019). Food in the Anthropocene: The EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The Lancet (British edition), 393 (10170) 447–492.
Zebrian, T., Adams, M., Dooris, M. & Pool, U. (2022). The role of local authorities in shaping local food systems. Sustainability, 14, 1–16.

1 We appreciate the effort and valuable comments of Julia Pinedo Gil (Cardif, Spain) and Sanna Luoto (Tampere University, Finland).

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