Foodscapes, Urban Lifestyles and Transition


About this course

Today, landscape architects and planners are confronted with new challenges. One of these challenges is the shaping of foodscapes. Foodscapes are places and spaces where food is produced, processed, acquired, distributed, consumed and the waste processed. The notion of foodscape is increasingly being used within landscape design, spatial planning, health promotion and food studies as a tool to describe our food environments and to assess the potential impact on food choice and food behaviour. Foodscape is a concept of growing importance on the path towards more sustainable and healthy lifestyles.
Food is a socio-technical system and as such is shaped by everyday practices that are performed in specific places. The food system is enacted by the repetitive performances of everyday food practices. Transitioning the food system involves changing the practices that constitute and reproduce them. Cities in this perspective are tightly bundled agglomerations of everyday practices, and are the stages on which healthier and more sustainable practices are created, performed and repeated, until they become everyday activities. Cities are therefore uniquely positioned to change food practices, and by doing so transition socio-technical regimes like food and sustainable environmental management. Municipal policies, programs, and infrastructure influence practices, while activists, political leaders and media teachers shape our understanding of practices. By strategically influencing food practices, cities can potentially advance public health, improve the environment and economy, and ultimately transform the food system.
Lifestyles represent practices comprised of interests, opinions, behaviours, and behavioural orientations of an individual, group, or culture. Hence, lifestyles reflect values and world views, including views on politics, religion, health, music, sexuality and food. Cities are hotbeds of lifestyle change. Food habits and convictions can be construed as part of a lifestyle such as conventional, locavore or ecological. Various lifestyles are associated with disparate foodscapes.
Contemporary food practices and the consequent shaping of food places and spaces can be framed as social practices contributing to or deriving from the path to sustainability. Food and its manifold spatial manifestations is key to understanding emerging alternative niches which may eventually have a positive impact on unsustainable spatial structures and institutions. Research by design and the exploration of alternative spatial arrangements among others may provide tools for opening up views on sustainable foodscapes and healthy lifestyles.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Identify various foodscapes and the physical and social characteristics attached to them
  • Explain the rationales of competing foodscapes and the underlying lifestyles
  • Understand the linkages between public health, lifestyles and foodscapes
  • Distinguish dominant discourses in the domain of Health and food and their relevance for landscape design and planning
  • Apply current approaches to landscape design and planning to the domain of health and food
  • Show a critical reflexive understanding of advanced theories and design concepts pertaining to Health lifestyles and food in landscape design and planning

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    28 October 2024

    • Ends
      20 December 2024
    • Term *
      Period 2
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 29 Sept 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University