HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Rome, Italy or Virtually from your home or work.
Agri 2024

Anna Kirstgen

Anna Kirstgen, Speaker at Agri Conferences
Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Germany
Title : Exploring the future of Europe's sustainable urban agriculture initiatives | trends and transformative narratives


Europe's rural and urban areas are facing growing problems due to climate change, loss of biodiversity, unsustainable use of resources and growing alienation between urban and rural dwellers. These trends threaten the sustainability of urban development and food systems.

At the same time, various forms of urban agriculture are developing in many European cities, such as community and rooftop gardens or vertical farming projects.  Urban agriculture (UA) can thus become an effective response to various urban challenges such as food security, preservation of green spaces and community development. The integration of urban agriculture into urban environments opens up opportunities to support sustainable urban development and make food systems more resilient. However, to leverage those potentials, it is necessary to understand the current and future developments and challenges related to UA in order to leverage the benefits of these initiatives for a more sustainable future.

In our study, we identify trends and challenges related to urban agriculture (UA) in urban environments. Social, technical, environmental, economic and political trends that influence future UA projects are analyzed and prioritized for their relevance as key drivers, challenges and opportunities for UA in city contexts.

In a participatory process, foresight analysis, scenario development and prototyping of new forms of urban agriculture will then help to identify future potential, further develop possible formats and make urban agriculture sustainable in different urban contexts as part of the European project FoodCityBoost. The project focuses on these developments by investigating the effects of urban agriculture and providing knowledge for practitioners and policy makers to promote and disseminate the sustainable development of urban agriculture. 100 stakeholders from six case studies are working together, using a living lab-based approach. This will allow learning from regions and cities across Europe where urban agriculture is already thriving and supported by regional policy.

What will audience learn from your presentation?

  • Why is it important to understand current and future developments and challenges related to urban agriculture for a more sustainable future?
  • How does the participatory process of foresight analysis, scenario development, and prototyping contribute to identifying future potential and making UA sustainable in different urban contexts?
  • What are the social, technical, environmental, economic, and political trends that influence future UA projects and what are the challenges faced by Europe's rural and urban areas?
  • How can urban agriculture be a response to urban challenges such as food security, green space preservation, and community development?


Dr. Anna Kirstgen is a futurologist and works at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in the business unit Foresight for Strategy Development. Her work includes identifying and analyzing signals, trends and possible futures in order to better understand the drivers of change in society, technology and markets. Anna structures complex issues and maps out possible future developments. With her work she helps clients to identify opportunities and designs robust strategies for the future. Her portfolio includes methodologies such as roadmapping, visioning, scenario processes, horizon scanning and trend radar. She works with a wide range of clients, including ministries, industries and the European Commission.

Anna studied architecture at the Hafencity University in Hamburg and was a member of the International Doctoral Program "Spatial Research Lab –Urban Transformation Landscapes". In her doctoral thesis, she addressed the interplay of perception and effect of the built world by investigating the way in which space affects people and the means by which it is perceived.

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