Urban Commons for the Edible City—First Insights for Future Sustainable Urban Food Systems from Berlin, Germany
Urban planning is facing multi-layered challenges to manage the transformation towards a more sustainable and inclusive society. The recently evolved concept of an “urban commons” responds to the crucial need to re-situate residents as key actors. Urban food commons summarize all initiatives that are food-related (e.g., cultivation, harvest, and distribution), aiming at a visualization and utilization of value chains and the commons-based linkage between them.
We explored first insights of food commons in Berlin based on semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Urban food commons strengthen identification, participation, self-organization, and social resilience, are steered by bottom-up processes, and can be a powerful tool for a transformation towards urban sustainability. However, a viable political integration of existing initiatives lacks due to structural implementation problems. Respondents recommend a pooling of all initiatives in a strong network and a mediation interface to coordinate between food commons and city administration and politics. A combined approach of commons and edible cities will be helpful for the development of future prove food systems.