The Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda emphasise the role of cities for achieving progressive, grounded and holistic socio-environmental change. Shared food activities, such as community gardens, urban farms and orchards, are recognised as positive pathways that harbour social, environmental and economic co-benefits. To realise sustainable urbanism goals, the international multi-sector project EdiCitNet applies food-related Nature-based Solutions to facilitate societal challenges in ten participating cities. Such projects endorse a participatory process within diverse urban contexts. Social engagement is crucial for the project’s success yet is also highly localised and voluntary, raising questions regarding participants’ initial engagement and the ongoing social sustainability of their motivations, enablers and barriers within a complex project. Processes of co-creation including Urban Living Labs and a bespoke participatory planning approach bring together stakeholders to foster resilient outcomes. Through analysing process and outcomes over the project’s first phase, drawing on data from interviews with community leaders and the authors’ structured reflections, we recognise how engagement challenges project implementation and identify key points that can support solutions towards achieving future goals. These findings should support the implementation of other large-scale and complex Nature-based Solutions projects, in addition to contributing to literature on participation, engagement and governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability
Publication statusIn preparation - 22 Aug 2022


  • edible nature-based solutions
  • stakeholder engagement
  • city level food strategies
  • social inclusion
  • Social sustainability


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