New Urbanism + Food

New Urbanism + Food

Over the last ten years, the American population has been fed a version of new urbanism that re-imagines suburban sprawl replaced by mixed-use communities offering access to services, food, and economic opportunities capable of creating a sustainable foundation for local neighborhoods.

What has failed to materialize with this paradigm shift is a replicable business response with how food can be incorporated into this type of urban design. If we are to redefine urbanism by transforming the built environment and the human relationships therein, the purpose for which leads to an increase in opportunities for healthy communities, then equitable solutions to landscape management, food distribution, and sustainable growth of local producers must be paramount in the civic conversation and distribution of capital to ensure that this new model can emerge.

Transformational re-engagement with the landscape from a business perspective means valuing the people most responsible for impacting the health of the population and the environment. To put it bluntly: our ‘new’ cities should begin with the economic sustainability of local farms.

If urbanism in Atlanta is a physical manifestation of the tactical alignment of values shaped by a business elite, then food as a business needs to be inserted into the drive towards sustainability and innovation.

All too often we ignore the reality of food as a means of economic and political control rather than what it is, the basis for a healthy civilization. The agrarian South profited on its ability to stratify the classes based on the color of their skin and their input into the food system. Those who carried the burden of actual food production were the poorest in society, which resulted in the classification of that labor as having low value. This is an erroneous and dangerous consequence that continues to shadow food production today. Consumption will always have more societal value than creation until we demand otherwise.

By aligning urban design with how we imagine food production, distribution, and consumption allows for environmental health, sustainable communities, and long-term economic opportunities. In essence, we can build an abundant city if we start with the soil.

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