Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Cities / Healthy Cities

Healthy City Design 2018

Sitopia – shaping healthy cities through food

By Carolyn Steel 18 Jan 2019 0

The question of how to feed ourselves is really a question of how we should live. This keynote states that a good food system is imperative for a good life and a good society.

Download the slides for this video presentation


From Sir Thomas More’s fantasy world, Utopia, to Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City, many visions in human history of how we should live have food at their heart. Having coined the term ‘Sitopia’, meaning ‘food place’, Carolyn Steel explores how we can use food as a medium to work towards making better places.

Food is something that flows through our lives all the time. It comes from the land or the sea, goes through a distribution centre, and is sold at a market or supermarket. Whether already cooked, or ready for us to cook, the food is then consumed or wasted. Eventually, it ends up back in the land and the system is ‘complete’.

Each element of this circuit both affects and is impacted by every other element, through habits, thoughts, beliefs and preferences – what might be described as food culture. If we value food differently and behave differently, that flow will change and the effects of it will change.

A good food system is imperative for a good life and a good society. Our most important relationships are, on the one hand, with one another, and on the other, with nature. Food can bring these two things together and help us shape our cities to support these relationships.

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