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Terms of engagement: mobilising citizens in edible nature-based solutions

Edwards, F. ORCID: 0000-0003-0389-193X, Manderscheid, M. & Parham, S. (2023). Terms of engagement: mobilising citizens in edible nature-based solutions. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, doi: 10.1080/17549175.2023.2218356


The Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations 2017) and the New Urban Agenda (United Nations 2017) emphasise the role of cities for achieving progressive, grounded, and holistic socio-environmental change. Food sharing activities, such as participation in community gardens, organic cooperatives, and urban farms and orchards, are recognised as positive urbanism transition pathways that can harbour many social, environmental, and economic co-benefits. To realise sustainable urbanism goals, the international project, EdiCitNet, applied “edible” Nature-based Solutions to facilitate societal challenges in ten participating cities. The project assumed that participatory processes across sectors within diverse cities would foster resilient project outcomes. However, while social engagement proved crucial, its implementation across diverse contexts also raised several questions regarding participants’ initial engagement and the ongoing social sustainability of the project. Analysing outcomes from the project’s first 18 months, we recognise how the type and scope of engagement can impact project implementation, highlighting how “soft” aspects such as trust, emotions, and values are crucial for the success of large-scale multi-sector projects and how aspects of power and empowerment are embedded in the process. These findings can inform the design and implementation of other sustainable urbanism projects, in addition to contributing to literature on social participation, engagement, and translocal governance.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Publisher Keywords: empowerment, engagement methodology, governance, participatory methods, sustainable urbanism, urban agriculture
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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