The aim of this research is to analyse the relationships between the foodscape and the food consumption and eating practices of urban dwellers. More particularly, it is a matter of characterising the configuration of food supply and “domestic space” in residential districts together with the type of catering available in the areas of activity. “Supply” refers to procurement zones (markets, shops) and catering sites. The expression “domestic space” relates to food production areas (balconies with plants, private or shared gardens, etc.) and the configuration of dwellings (kitchen, eating areas, storage areas). To what extent does the configuration of these areas influence consumption, eating habits and their sustainability? Furthermore, our aim is to assess the individual factors (representations, perceptions, etc.) which interact in the relationships between different spaces, consumption and practices with a view to identifying those which consolidate the effects of the foodscape on practices and those which mitigate them. Our project will thus establish a multi-level conceptual framework for the relationships between these different factors. The results of this research will make it possible to answer current scientific questions concerning the effects of gardening, the creation of open-air markets and the continued existence or the disappearance of local food shops on food, as well as questions concerning the effects of different mass catering methods.
Those results will be directly used to incorporate the objectives of improving food into urban policies (urban planning, urban policies, food strategies, etc.). This will be possible by the permanent interactions between researchers and local stakeholders throughout the project (cf. WP6).
Another output of this project will be the development of a methodology that could be applied in other contexts. This methodological step will be very useful to the “sustainable urban food systems” future program led by the Unesco Chair on World Food Systems and financed by the consortium of three foundations: Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso, Agropolis Fondation and Fondazione Cariplo.
A second, more institutional, objective is to enable researchers from different disciplines focussing on urban eating habits to cooperate on a given issue and to compare their points of view. By them all examining the effect of the environment on eating behaviours, each discipline finds itself on its own specific innovative research front where the progress of others is both useful and rewarding.
This research is conducted by researchers in the field of nutrition and in several social sciences disciplines (sociology, geography, urban planning). It does not call on technical sciences directly (for example agronomy or technology), although its results may be of interest to these disciplines. They can show how it is not only the intrinsic qualities of innovations and their “response” to a demand which ensure their success, but also the way in which these innovations are made available to the users.