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Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 55; doi:10.3390/su8010055

Four Perspectives of Sustainability Applied to the Local Food Strategy of Ghent (Belgium): Need for a Cycle of Democratic Participation?

1
Social Sciences Unit, Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries Research, Burg. van Gansberghelaan 155, bus 2, Merelbeke 9820, Belgium
2
Centre for Sustainable Development, Ghent University, Poel 16, Gent 9000, Belgium
3
Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, Gent 9000, Belgium
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Douglas H. Constance and Iain Gordon
Received: 18 October 2015 / Revised: 10 December 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015 / Published: 8 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Abstract

As part of cities’ increasing commitment to sustainable development, local food systems are becoming a policy priority. In this article we focus on the case of a local food system in Ghent, Belgium. We adopt the notion of Hajer et al. (2015) that top-down steering of environmental issues (so-called “cockpit-ism”) is insufficient, incomplete and in need of revision. Using their four perspectives on sustainable development (Hajer et al., 2015), we explore, analyze and valorize the potential of the actors, motives and logics for change within the agriculture and food system in the Ghent region. Applying these four perspectives, we have mapped the current positive developments as well as identified the weaknesses, pitfalls and opportunities of a local food strategy. The discussion section contains two important strategies for good governance of sustainable urban development: first, a governance approach to stimulate participation and representation in a complex, unequal and rapidly changing context; and second, a reflection on how local food strategies can drive global sustainability. In conclusion, we argue for the integration of a global sustainability approach within sustainable urban development. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable urban development; Hajer’s sustainability perspectives; local food strategy; democratic governance; regional food system; empirical case study sustainable urban development; Hajer’s sustainability perspectives; local food strategy; democratic governance; regional food system; empirical case study
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Crivits, M.; Prové, C.; Block, T.; Dessein, J. Four Perspectives of Sustainability Applied to the Local Food Strategy of Ghent (Belgium): Need for a Cycle of Democratic Participation? Sustainability 2016, 8, 55.

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