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Open AccessArticle

Processes of Participation in the Development of Urban Food Strategies: A Comparative Assessment of Exeter and Eindhoven

by Aniek Hebinck 1,2,* and Daphne Page 3
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Stockholm SE-106 91, Sweden
Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen 6708 PB, The Netherlands
Centre for Food Policy, City University London, London EC1V 0HB, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Han Wiskerke
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 931;
Received: 14 April 2017 / Revised: 24 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 2 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Region Foodscapes)
Urban food strategies are increasingly being used as means to address a multitude of challenges presented by food system failings. The use of participatory approaches has become common practice in the field of urban food systems planning. These approaches are believed to democratize, legitimize and increase effectiveness of addressing challenges. Despite these “promises”, they have also been viewed as problematic for being unbalanced and lacking accountability. This paper sets out to compare the creation and use of new participatory spaces in two initiatives in two European cities in their on-going attempts to formulate urban food strategies through multi-actor processes. This is explored through operationalisation of two key concepts essential to participatory approaches: participation and accountability. As such, the paper addresses how participatory processes for urban food strategies can be conceptualised when policy making involves the interplay of actors, knowledges and spaces. We conclude that within the two cases, ample attention is given to get a cross-section of the types of participants involved, while accountability is an aspect still under-represented. Based on the two cases, we argue that incorporation of accountability in particular will be instrumental in the development and implementation of more mature urban food strategies. However, it is essential for participatory processes to not completely break from more “traditional” policy processes, at risk of limiting progress in strategy development and deployment. View Full-Text
Keywords: participatory processes; urban food strategies; accountability; food policy participatory processes; urban food strategies; accountability; food policy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hebinck, A.; Page, D. Processes of Participation in the Development of Urban Food Strategies: A Comparative Assessment of Exeter and Eindhoven. Sustainability 2017, 9, 931.

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