Edible Map of Peterborough

Edible walk, Peterborough, UK
Edible walk, Peterborough, UK
Edible walk, Peterborough, UK
Edible walk, Peterborough, UK
Top side of the Edible Map of Peterborough
Bottom side of the Edible Map of Peterborough

The Edible City of Peterborough, UK

This Edible Map focuses on the centre of Peterborough, UK. In the 1960s the Cambridgeshire town of Peterborough was designated a New Town. It now has a rapidly expanding population of nearly 200,000. e cathedral to the east and the shopping centre to the west dominate the city centre. Peterborough would like to be more sustainable, focusing on energy, water, transport and waste.

This map sets out a provocation for Peterborough, arguing that local food production needs to be at the heart of any sustainable city vision. It demonstrates that food growing will increasingly need to be taken seriously as a part of city landscape. More importantly, this map demonstrates that this is completely possible – and increasingly desirable, retrofited in and amongst the many differing building structures of the city. Our future cities will not be the same as the ones we have today, yet one thing is constant: we will need to eat, and there is no practical reason why part of this food couldn’t be produced locally right here in the heart of the city.

The map took a month to research on the ground in Peterborough, where I considered the potential for such practices as community gardens, aquaponics, and urban orchards within the city centre. The drawing reflects my concern with how sustainable and resilient are urban cities are in terms of food. The map can be used to answer question about how a city full of food production might look, but also the quantitative potential for space in our cities. Like the Newcastle or Hackney map, I have generally found that space suitable for food production is abundant, yet badly recorded and often ‘invisible’ to the day-to-day resident. The map attempt to make lost space, and its potential use, explicit and therefore to empower people to see their cities differently.

Close up Edible Map Peterborough
The Edible Map Peterborough

The map contains the following text.

Urban Agriculture is the practice of growing food in and around cities, providing local jobs and skills, using urban resources, and supplying food back to residents within the same city. I have drawn this Edible Map of Peterborough as a guide to help visualise a city where fruit, vegetables, livestock, fish, bees and other food sources could flourish and be nurtured in streets, empty rooftops and underused open spaces.

Using this map of central Peterborough, you can begin to explore the potential for Urban Agriculture in the city, in terms of both physical location and yield and practice. In drawing this map, I have spent time in the city, walking its streets and concrete spaces, looking over rooftops, and sitting in its green, grassy areas. The map therefore combines art and research together, intertwining analysis within a context of an artistic work.

However, the artwork is not so much the drawn map, but the participatory action of residents walking with the map. The Edible Map is a start, not a finish; it is a provocation and an invitation to take part as a walker in the city and imagine a very different landscape. It is a guide to the invisible, to the yet-to-be built and imagined; a guide for the amateur architect, and everyday resident, to have their city and eat it. It is an invitation to become a food-flâneur, to use your imagination and tactically augmenting your existing city, adding a bricolage of ideas and practices based around everyday actions, not planned or accounted for by professional designers. The necessity for the vision of an edible city comes from the idea that cities can, and should, grow part of the food they consume, in order to reduce their dependence on imported food, creating urban spaces that are more resilient and sustainable.

In the 1960s the cambridgeshire town of Peterborough was designated a New Town and is a rapidly expanding compared to other UK cities, with a population of nearly 200,000. The cathedral to the east and the shopping centre to the west dominate the city centre. Peterborough would to be more sustainable, focusing on energy, water, transport and waste.

This map sets out a provocation for Peterborough, arguing that local food production needs to be at the heart of any sustainable city vision. It demonstrates that food growing will increasingly need to be taken seriously as a part of city landscape. More importantly, this map demonstrates that this is completely possible – and increasingly desirable, retrofitted in and amongst the many differing building structures of the city. Our future cities will not be the same as the ones we have today, yet one thing is constant: we will need to eat, and there is no practical reason why part of this food couldn’t be produced locally right here in the heart of the city.