You are Hungry: Flâneuring, Edible Mapping and Feeding Imaginations


  • Mikey Tomkins



The idea of growing food in cities, often termed urban agriculture (UA), is rapidly becoming a popular concept linked to ideas of sustainable cities. However, for most residents it is a difficult concept to visualize due to the complexity of the built environment. This research uses 32 participatory walks with 150 local residents around a 25-hectare site within east London to explore reactions to the idea of potential UA landscapes. 

The starting point for walks was the ‘edible map’. The edible map is a hand-drawn A2 map of the site that filled the many vacant and grassed areas, common to cities, with food growing suggestions. The map was presented to walkers as a provocation to stimulate discussion. The 32 participatory walks produce an initial engagement with the concept of UA and the need for local food systems but also produced a strong critique of urban spatial design and the desire to place-make.

Exploring how these desires interact needs to be further understood because potentially the latter could dominate the former. Therefore, institutions that advocate UA need to be mindful of the interactions between spatial engagements and food-growing practices that may compromise the vital need for local food production at the core of the UA concept.

Author Biography

Mikey Tomkins

Mikey Tomkins is a PhD student at the University of Brighton. His research looks at community food growing as a contribution to both everyday space and urban agriculture. The edible map project formed part of the scoping phase for the PhD research helping to explore people’s reaction to the idea of urban food growing through visualization.