This book is about designing for food. It explores three fast transforming urban sites in London, centred on the regenerating spaces of Borough, Broadway and Exmouth Markets. It suggests that 'food quarters' have emerged in each place, modelling new forms of interconnection between physical design and social processes in which food-related renewal is at the heart. Using case study research, informed by design, morphological and social science techniques, the book explores how the interplay between compact city design and social practices focused on food, strongly influences the making of everyday life in these places. It demonstrates that the quarters have at once enriched the experience of food and eating, and increased urban sustainability and conviviality in and around previously moribund food spaces, while paradoxically contributing to gentrification effects. The book frames this experience within more spatially dominant approaches to city design, which seem to close off convivial food options and choices that would support a more satisfying and resilient urban life. The book draws some conclusions about the complexities of designing and planning for food-led renewal that might apply more broadly to other places in London and potentially to other cities in future.
Dr Susan Parham is an urban designer, town planner and political economist with a PhD in Urban Sociology from the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics. She began writing about food and cities in the late 1980s and since then has continued to explore the complex interplay between urban development, design and planning and sustainable food systems and cultures. Dr Parham has worked as both a planning and urban design practitioner and academic in Australia and Europe, including roles as a rapporteur and programme analyst for the OECD, and is currently Head of Urbanism at the University of Hertfordshire. She is Vice Chair of the charity Living Streets, a former chair of the Council for European Urbanism, which she helped to found in 2002, and a Fellow of the RSA.