Smart Food Cities on the Menu? Integrating Urban Food Systems into Smart City Policy Making

  • Israel Dela CruzEmail author
  • Alec Thornton
  • Dagmar Haase
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


This chapter will explore the emergence of ‘smart cities’ in order to integrate the issue of urban agri-food systems. Our aim is to contribute to ‘smart food city’ conceptualizations by extending the notion of what makes a city ‘smart’ to include market and non-market activities, with particular attention to forms of urban activism pursuing urban food systems. Approaches to democratizing smart city concepts are discussed in Australia and Germany, where neoliberal efforts in smart city transformation can complicate local-level efforts to coordinate non-market relations in food democracy.


  1. Agritecture. (2018). Ideas for Urban Agriculture and Smart Cities. Retrieved from
  2. Albino, V., Berardi, U., & Dangelico, R. M. (2015). Smart Cities: Definitions, Dimensions, Performance, and Initiatives. Journal of Urban Technology, 22(1), 1–19.Google Scholar
  3. Artmann, M., & Sartison, K. (2018). The Role of Urban Agriculture as a Nature-Based Solution: A Review for Developing a Systemic Assessment Framework. Sustainability, 10, 1937. Scholar
  4. Barthel, S., Parker, J., & Ernstson, H. (2015). Food and Green Space in Cities: A resilience Lens on Gardens and Urban Environmental Movements. Urban Studies, 52(7), 1321–1338.Google Scholar
  5. Booth, S., & Coveney, J. (2015). Food Democracy from Consumer to Food Citizen. Singapore: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Crush, J., Hovorka, A., & Tevara, D. (2010). Urban Food Production and Household Food Security in Southern African Cities. Cape Town: African Food Security Urban Network.Google Scholar
  7. Dankowska, A., Haase, D., & Haase, A. (2017). Urbane Gärten – Alles Kraut und Rüben? Garten und Landschaft, 3, 12–19.Google Scholar
  8. dos Santos, M. J. P. L. (2016). Smart cities and urban areas – Aquaponics as innovative urban agriculture. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 20, 402–406.Google Scholar
  9. Elands, E, Vierikko, K., Andersson, E., Fischer, L. K., Goncalves, P., Haase, D., et al. (2018). Biocultural Diversity: A Novel Concept to Assess Human-Nature Interrelations, Nature Conservation and Stewardship in Cities. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. Scholar
  10. Fernandez-Anez, V., Fernández-Güell, J. M., & Giffinger, R. (2018, June). Smart City Implementation and Discourses: An Integrated Conceptual Model. The Case of Vienna. Cities, 78, 4–16.Google Scholar
  11. Fischer, L. K., Brinkmeyer, D., Honold, J., van der Jagt, A., Botzat, A., Lafortezza, R., et al. (2018). Recreational Ecosystem Services in European Cities: Sociocultural and Geographic Context Matters for Park Use. Ecosystem Services. Scholar
  12. Garfield, L. (2017). Bill Gates’ Investment Group Spent $80 Million to Build a ‘Smart City’ in the Desert – And Urban Planners Are Divided. Retrieved from
  13. Haase, D., Larondelle, N., Andersson, E., Artmann, M., Borgström, S., Breuste, J., et al. (2014). A Quantitative Review of Urban Ecosystem Services Assessment: Concepts, Models and Implementation. AMBIO, 43(4), 413–433.Google Scholar
  14. Haase, D., Kabisch, S., Haase, A., Larondelle, N., Schwarz, N., Wolff, M., et al. (2017). Greening Cities – To Be Socially Inclusive? About the Paradox of Society and Ecology in Cities. Habitat International, 64, 41–48.Google Scholar
  15. Harvey, D. (1989). From Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism: The Transformation in Urban Governance in Late Capitalism. Geografiska Annale, 71B(1), 3–17.Google Scholar
  16. Holland, L. (2004). Diversity and Connections in Community Gardens: A Contribution to Local Sustainability. Local Environment, 9(3), 285–305.Google Scholar
  17. Hollands, R. G. (2008). Will the Real Smart City Please Stand Up? Intelligent, Progressive or Entrepreneurial? City, 12(3), 303–320.Google Scholar
  18. Hollands, R. G. (2015). Critical Interventions into the Corporate Smart City. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8(1), 61–77.Google Scholar
  19. Jabareen, Y. (2008). A New Conceptual Framework for Sustainable Development. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10(2), 179–192.Google Scholar
  20. Kabisch, N., Qureshi, S., & Haase, D. (2014). Urban Nature: Human-Environment Interactions in Urban Green Spaces – Contemporary Issues and Future Prospects. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 50, 25–34.Google Scholar
  21. Khan, R., Aziz, Z., & Ahmed, V. (2018). Building Integrated Agriculture Information Modelling (BIAIM): An Integrated Approach Towards Urban Agriculture. Sustainable Cities and Society, 37, 594–607.Google Scholar
  22. Krasny, M. E., & Tidball, K. G. (2009). Applying a Resilience Systems Framework to Urban Environmental Education. Environmental Education Research Month, 15(4), 465–482.Google Scholar
  23. Krishna, R., Kummitha, R., & Crutzen, N. (2017, April). How Do We Understand Smart Cities? An Evolutionary Perspective. Cities, 67, 43–52.Google Scholar
  24. Lang, T. (2005). Food Control or Food Democracy? Re-engaging Nutrition with Society and the Environment. Public Health Nutrition, 8, 730–737.Google Scholar
  25. Lee, J., & Lee, H. (2014). Developing and Validating a Citizen-Centric Typology for Smart City Services. Government Information Quarterly, 31(Suppl.1), S93–S105.Google Scholar
  26. Lindeman,T. (2018). Is sidewalk labs building a brotopia on Toronto’s waterfront?. Retrieved from
  27. Luque-Ayala, A., & Marvin, S. (2015). Developing a Critical Understanding of Smart Urbanism. Urban Studies, 52(12), 2105–2116.Google Scholar
  28. Macke, J., Casagrande, R.M, Sarate, R., & Silva, K. A. (2018). Smart City and Quality of Life: Citizens’ Perception in a Brazilian Case Study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 182, 717–726.Google Scholar
  29. Madan, M. (2017). Bill Gates Just Bought a Huge Chunk of Land in the Desert and Wants to Build His Own ‘Smart City’. Retrieved from
  30. Maye, D. (2019). ‘Smart Food City’: Conceptual Relations Between Smart City Planning, Urban Food Systems and Innovation Theory. City, Culture and Society, 16, 18–24.Google Scholar
  31. Mintz, G., & McManus, P. (2014). Seeds for Change? Attaining the Benefits of Community Gardens Through Council Policies in Sydney, Australia. Australian Geographer, 45(4), 541–558.Google Scholar
  32. Nam, T., & Pardo, T. A. (2011). Conceptualizing Smart City with Dimensions of Technology, People, and Institutions. Proceedings of the 12th Annual International Digital Government Research Conference on Digital Government Innovation in Challenging Times – Dg.o ’11, 282.Google Scholar
  33. Nathali, B., Khan, M., & Han, K. (2018, January). Towards Sustainable Smart Cities: A Review of Trends, Architectures, Components, and Open Challenges in Smart Cities. Sustainable Cities and Society, 38, 697–713.Google Scholar
  34. Olleros, F., & Zhegu, M. (2016). Introduction. In F. Olleros & M. Zhegu (Eds.), Research Handbook on Digital Transformations (p. 2). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  35. Puri, V., & Caplow, T. (2009). How to Grow Food in the 100% Renewable City: Building-Integrated Agriculture. In P. Droege (Ed.), 100% Renewable: Energy Autonomy in Action (pp. 229–241). London, UK: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  36. Reynolds, K. (2015). Disparity Despite Diversity: Social Injustice in New York City’s Urban Agriculture System. Antipode, 47(1), 240–259.Google Scholar
  37. Rosati, U., & Conti, S. (2016). What Is a Smart City Project? An Urban Model or A Corporate Business Plan? Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 223, 968–973.Google Scholar
  38. Salikha, A. (2018). Ranked: World’s Top Best Performing ‘Smart Cities’. Retrieved from
  39. Simon, G. (1998). Internet Governance Goes Global. In V. Kubálková, N. Onuf, & P. Kowert (Eds.), International Relations in a Constructed World. M.E. Sharpe: Armonk, NY.Google Scholar
  40. Smith, K. (2017). The Inconvenient Truth About Smart Cities. Retrieved from
  41. Sonnino, R. (2016). The New Geography of Food Security: Exploring the Potential of Urban Food Strategies. Geographical Journal, 182(2), 190–200.Google Scholar
  42. Spilková, J., & Vágner, J. (2016). The Loss of Land Devoted to Allotment Gardening: The Context of the Contrasting Pressures of Urban Planning, Public and Private Interests in Prague, Czechia. Land Use Policy, 52, 232–239.Google Scholar
  43. Thomaier, S., Specht, K., Henckel, D., Dierich, A., Siebert, R., Freisinger, U. B., & Sawicka, M. (2015). Farming in and on Urban Buildings: Present Practice and Specific Novelties of Zero-Acreage Farming (ZFarming). Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 30(1), 43–54.Google Scholar
  44. Thornton, A. (2017). “The Lucky Country”? A Critical Exploration of Community Gardens and City–Community Relations in Australian Cities. Local Environment, 22(8), 969–985.Google Scholar
  45. Thornton, A. (2018). Space and Food in the City: Cultivating Social Justice and Urban Governance through Urban Agriculture. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. Townsend, A. (2013). Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia New York. NY : W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  47. Vanolo, A. (2014). Smart Mentality: The Smart City as Disciplinary Strategy. Urban Studies, 51(5), 883–898.Google Scholar
  48. Vanolo, A. (2016). Is There Anybody Out There? The Place and Role of Citizens in Tomorrow’s Smart Cities. Futures, 82, 26–36.Google Scholar
  49. Vierikko, K., Niemelä, J., Elands, B., Buijs, A., Haase, D., Kabisch, N., et al. (2017). Considering the Ways Biocultural Diversity Helps Enforce Urban Green Infrastructure in Times of Urban Transformation. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 22, 7–12.Google Scholar
  50. Wolff, M., Haase, A., Haase, D., & Kabisch, N. (2016). The Impact of Urban Regrowth on the Built Environment. Urban Studies, 54(12), 2683–2700.Google Scholar
  51. Yigitcanlar, T., Buys, L., Ioppolo, G., Sabatini-marques, J., Moreira, E., & Joseph, J. (2018, April). Understanding ‘Smart Cities’: Intertwining Development Drivers with Desired Outcomes in a Multidimensional Framework. Cities, 81, 1–16.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of New South Wales AustraliaCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Humboldt University Berlin, UFZ LeipzigBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations