Sustainable Foodscapes in Urban Regions

The concept of foodscapes

A sustainable urban living and working environment partly made possible by foodscapes. This is the study focus of the VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) professorship ‘Sustainable Foodscapes in Urban Regions’. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation has made a so-called ‘green plus’ subsidy available for the professorship. The professorship focuses on the development and study of new landscape-architectural concepts for more sustainable urban environments, from the perspective of foodscapes. The concept of foodscapes is interpreted broadly here. Examples include sustainable food production in the immediate vicinity of the town, or networks for food for local markets such as professional city farmers and ecological market gardens. Another example is the growing of food by local communities.

Town of tomorrow

Foodscape is also current as a policy theme – internationally as well. There has been growing interest in foodscape in recent years partly as a result of growing environmental awareness. However, the spatial and landscape-architectural task that foodscape – in the broadest sense of the word – entails, has barely been researched. The professorship will focus on the exploration of this spatial side. 

The professorship offers students the opportunity to contribute to new design solutions and strategies for the town of tomorrow, on the basis of a current social topic. They are offered a challenging learning environment, where they will come into contact with national and international experts. The professorship seeks international cooperation, by working on design projects together with students and lecturers from foreign universities, among other things. This way, work is carried out on a series of educational projects during the term of the professorship, which will contribute to the design of the metropolitan landscape of the future.

The professorship has been running for four years and started in March 2013. Noël van Dooren MSc is affiliated to the professorship of Sustainable Foodscape in Urban Regions as a professor and works with Rik Eweg, professor of Sustainable Agribusiness in Metropolitan Areas, among others. In addition, the professorship works with the Dutch Association for Landscape Architecture (NVTL) and the Green Deal for urban agriculture.

About the professor

After graduating from Wageningen in 1991, Noël worked at H+N+S. However, he has worked independently since 1997. Noel is active as a specialist journalist and was on the editorial board of Blauwe Kamer for many years. He is currently editor for the Journal of Landscape Architecture.

From 2004 until 2009, he was head of Landscape Architecture at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. Subsequently, he became coordinator of the new professional experience programme (nowadays known as PEP), and he was asked to do promotional research with the academy, with Amsterdam University of the Arts serving as his base. On the basis of this promotional research – Drawing Time – he was visiting researcher at Copenhagen University in 2014. Noel hopes to defend his research at the University of Amsterdam before the summer. This research into representation in landscape architecture was also the reason for an essay on design drawings by graduates from the VHL, which was included in the book “De noodzaak van ontwerpen” [English: The Necessity of Design] on the occasion of the retirement of Johan Vlug.

Water, energy, food and waste have always been important themes in Noël's work, from the large scale of the Dutch river area to rainwater harvesting in backyards. He is currently involved in the project ‘Designing the metropolitan food region of Amsterdam’, in cooperation with the Creative Industries Incentive Fund, Strootman Landscape Architects and Alterra. 

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about (the projects of) the professorship, then contact Noël van Dooren via

Address in Velp

Larensteinselaan 26a 
PO Box 9001 
6880 GB Velp