In the last decades, more and more local stakeholders have recognized the need for local food policies. They want to increase the proportion of consumed food that is produced and processed in the direct surroundings of their cities and wish to diminish the ecological footprint of urban food consumption, or guarantee the quality of the food. At the same time, there is too little land for agricultural production available in metropolitan areas to meet consumer demand. It is a challenge to optimally organize a food system for the production, processing and distribution of healthy food.
Cities are hubs for economic activity, social-life, culture and technological innovation. Climate change will affect these hubs, through extreme events, such as heavy rains, high water-levels, heatwaves and droughts. Climate adaptation strategies have been designed to cope with the effects of these events, including erosion, water shortage and breaches in dykes.
The increasing urban sprawl (the rapid expansion of the geographic extent of cities and towns) in Europe is causing land-use conflicts. Nearly 73% of the European population lives in cities, and this proportion is estimated to reach 82% by 2050. As a consequence, rural municipalities tend to be engulfed by growing metropoles, at the cost of the typical rural character and the social identity of the local rural communities.
Almost three out of four EU citizens live in urban areas and this number is anticipated to further grow. All these people need an inclusive, healthy, resilient, safe and sustainable living environment. One important challenge is to provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, 'green' and public spaces by 2030.