Carolyn Steel spoke at the recent RTPI annual Patrick Geddes lecture in Edinburgh. Her subject is food and the city and how the process of feeding cities has transformed our world. It’s a history of food miles. She argues: “Feeding cities arguably has a greater social and physical impact on us and our planet than anything else we do. Yet few of us in the West are conscious of the process. Food arrives on our plates as if by magic, and we rarely stop to wonder how it might have got there.”
In her book ‘Hungry City’ (Chatto & Windus 2008) Carolyn Steel follows food’s journey from land to city, through market and supermarket, kitchen and table, waste-dump and back again, to show how food affects all our lives, and impacts on the planet. This raises the question of how we might use food to re-think cities in the future – to design them and their hinterlands more effectively, and live in them better too.