How food shapes cities

Interesting new video on TED: Carolyn Steel on How food shapes cities gives a historical view of the forces that have shaped cities.

The talk compares the ordinary urban landscape, where more and more of us are living, with the extraordinary landscapes of industrial farming. We then jump back to C17th, where a city’s food was obvious to the inhabitants from the bustling outdoor markets, and because of limited refridgeration and limited mobility of produce. With the advent of trains in the mid C19th, cities started to become decoupled from geography and this process continued with the car in C20th.

Food has gone from the core to the periphery, from the social to the private, and from the personal to the anonymous.

She refers to Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s fresco The allegory of good government (1338-1339) but illustrates this with a picture of his Effects of good government on city and country. Looks like they’re both in a series of frescoes in Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, so they’re connected.

Looks like the council library has a copy of her book The Hungry City.

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