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Project overview, objectives and work packages

SustUrbanFoods involved stakeholders in the methodological design of the sustainability indicators through participatory workshops.


SustUrbanFoods “Integrated sustainability assessment of social and technological innovations towards urban food systems” was a Marie Skolodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) individual fellowship with a duration of 24 months and is funded by the European Commission. The project concluded in May 2018.

Improvement of current knowledge on sustainability and urban agriculture

Urban food systems are sprouting around cities of developed countries to improve the sustainability of cities and citizens’ diets. In particular, urban food systems are being developed upon social and technological innovations to become competitive in the urban environment. A limited number of studies have worked on quantifying the sustainability performance of urban food activities. Even more, studies lack of a three-bottom perspective that integrates the environment, economy and society dimensions.

SustUrbanFoods aims to develop an interdisciplinary methodological framework to assess the sustainability of urban food systems with the aim of providing with tools and data for supporting policies and decisions on sustainable urban food systems towards local and green economies. The integration of life cycle assessment and ecosystem services accounting methods is the basis of the SustUrbanFoods’ scheme to analyze the impacts and benefits of urban food systems on the three dimensions of sustainability. Case studies in 4 different countries that exemplify diverse social and technological innovations will be assessed.

Career development

As a MSCA-IF, the project aim to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers wishing to diversify their individual competence in terms of skill acquisition at multi- or interdisciplinary level through advanced training, international and intersectoral mobility.

SustUrbanFoods will provide the fellow with an ideal learning-by-doing framework for improving knowledge, scientific and soft skills, particularly through knowledge exchange and training with the host institution and the partner company. Results will be disseminated to both academia and general public.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 708672.


The main goal of SustUrbanFoods “Integrated sustainability assessment of social and technological innovations towards urban food systems” is to develop an interdisciplinary methodological framework to assess the sustainability of urban food systems.

Specific objectives:

  • Create an interdisciplinary methodological framework based on a social participatory process to evaluate the sustainability of urban food systems
  • Identify the main sustainability aspects of social and technological innovations in urban food systems
  • Diagnose current sustainability metrics employed in the assessment of sustainable and local food systems
  • Determine the best sustainability metrics to perform understandble sustainability metrics for the future use by the general public
  • Design data collection sheets for evaluating the environmental, economic and social sustainability of urban food systems
  • Apply the new method to 10 different case studies along Europe, including both social and technological innovations
  • Highlight similarities and differences regarding the sustainability patterns of different typologies of urban food systems and innovations
  • Contribute with new environmental, social and economic data on urban food systems to set the basis for decision-making in the design and implementation of new urban food systems
  • Provide with further knowledge regarding urban food systems for decision- and policy-making processes
The project includes 5 work packages: WP1 - project management, WP2 - methodological design, WP3 - data collection, WP4 - sustainability assessment, and WP5 - dissemination and outreach.


The SustUrbanFoods project is structured in five work packages:

  • WP1: Project management
  • WP2: Methodological design
  • WP3. Data collection
  • WP4. Sustainability assessment
  • WP5: Dissemination and outreach