Urban Food Production (UFP) initiatives are expanding worldwide to enhance urban food production while contributing to the development of sustainable cities in a three-bottom perspective (environment, society, economy). Although the sustainability aspects of UFS have been addressed in the literature, there is a need to set a sustainability framework for UFP based on the concepts and the understanding of the stakeholders as a basis for quantifying their sustainability and for developing effective policy-making. This paper evaluates the concepts of the UFP sustainability from a stakeholders’ perspective through participatory methods and network analyses. Two different workshops were organized in the city of Bologna (Italy), where mind-mapping exercises to define the environmental, economic and social sustainability elements of UFP were performed. This bottom-up approach unveiled a comprehensive and complex vision of sustainable UFP, the relevance of certain sustainability elements and key aspects to take into consideration for the development of UFP and effective policy-making. The existence of bidimensional and tridimensional concepts indicated priorities, synergies and trade-offs among the dimensions of sustainability. The multi-scalar nature of UFP suggested that specific policies can be supported by global schemes (e.g., Sustainable Development Goals) and that UFP can be a local tool for democracy and equity at lower scales.
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