How Does Food Shape Cities?

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Food Matters.

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Watch this Talk on TED.com

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About Carolyn Steel's TEDTalk

The question of how to feed cities may be one of the biggest contemporary questions, yet it's rarely asked. We take for granted that if we walk into a store or a restaurant, food will be there, magically coming from somewhere.

A city the size of London eats about 30 million meals every day. Where does all that food come from? Without a reliable food supply, even the most modern city would collapse quickly.

Looking at food networks offers an unusual and illuminating way to explore how cities evolved, architect Carolyn Steel says. While food is a shared necessity, it's also a shared way of thinking.

"If you think of food as a flow, it's the most important flow in the city." — Carolyn Steel i i

hide caption"If you think of food as a flow, it's the most important flow in the city." — Carolyn Steel

James Duncan Davidson/TED
"If you think of food as a flow, it's the most important flow in the city." — Carolyn Steel

"If you think of food as a flow, it's the most important flow in the city." — Carolyn Steel

James Duncan Davidson/TED

In this TEDTalk, Steel discusses the daily miracle of feeding a city and shows how ancient food routes shaped the modern world.

About Carolyn Steel

Cities, like people, are what they eat. Architect and author Carolyn Steel uses food as a medium to "read" cities and understand how they work. In her book Hungry City she traces — and puts into historical context — food's journey from land to urban table and thence to sewer.

Purchase Featured Books

Hungry City

by Carolyn Steel

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