Urbanism projects  
                    The Centre for Sustainable Communities
Urbanism projects

Dr Parham has completed or is researching a range of urbanism projects on food and other aspects of place making as detailed below.

Food and Urbanism

Dr Parham has recently completed her book, Food and Urbanism: Towards the Convivial City and a Sustainable Future which came out with Bloomsbury in February 2015. The book focuses on the way that despite the growing demand on urban resources and infrastructure, food is still often overlooked as a key factor in planning and designing cities. Dr Parham argues that without considering design for food at all stages – from how it is grown, transported, and bought, to cooked, eaten and disposed of – it is impossible to create truly resilient and convivial urbanism.

Market Place

Food and Urbanism is a companion to Dr Parham’s earlier book, Market Place: Food Quarters, Design And Urban Renewal In London (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012) in which Dr Parham explored the ways that food quarters are developing in London and whether new interconnections between physical design and socio-spatial practices in relation to food promise to offer cities greater conviviality and sustainability and provide interesting models for food-informed design and planning elsewhere.

Making Space For Food In Hatfield

Making Space For Food In Hatfield, is a research project undertaken by Susan Parham and Ben McCabe using text and visualisations it offers design-based scenarios for responding to local concerns about and opportunities in relation to food growing, distribution, retail, consumption and treatment of food waste in Hatfield. The research makes use of design ideas about retrofitting current in the urbanism literature to explore some of the ways food and the built environment could interconnect in Hatfield to support a sustainable local food system and contribute to making a more liveable place in a New Town context. The report of the research will be available later in 2015.

Urbanism in a Rural Context: Is Conviviality the Missing Ingredient?

Dr Parham recently spoke at a rural urbanism symposium in Sweden on the invitation of the Axson Johnson Foundation, on the theme of urbanism in a rural context. Susan argued that urbanism – the study of human settlement – does not stop at city edges but is a something that can be explored in a range of contexts with rural elements – including transforming peri-urban zones, areas of megalopolitan sprawl and wider productive regions. As cities have grown beyond their traditional spatial boundaries a highly functional food-related urbanism has been challenged and undercut all along the food chain from production, through distribution to retailing, consumption and waste. Drawing on her forthcoming book Food and Urbanism (Bloomsbury, 2015) Dr Parham considered both some problematic and more positive connections between food and urbanism at a variety of scales, focusing on how conscious attention to food-centred design and retrofitting can support rural urbanism in future. The symposium essay can be downloaded.

Convivial green space

Dr Parham spoke at the 6th Annual Aesop Sustainable Food Planning Conference 'Finding Spaces' held in November 2014, in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Her paper, Convivial Green Space, explored urban design requirements for food-centred productivity, which can reshape and repair urban built form and open space. Results from primary research in the UK into ‘retrofitting for food’ provided urbanism scenarios of urban food growing that are intended to enhance health and well-being, encourage local economic growth and self-sufficiency, enrich social cohesion and community development, and diversify urban greening and resilience. The conference paper can be downloaded.

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