Proximity Is Back!By Sabine Bognon
Urban food supply is a networked service: it works from infrastructural logics and actor interplay that govern urban livelihoods. This network is now worldwide and dominated by private trade and business. Since the early 2000s, the push for sustainable development has affected the food system, as well as other urban services. Reproaching the internationalization and the partitioning of hinterlands as well as the opacity of the food system, stakeholders aim for reterritorialisation of the supply network: they demand or seek renewed forms of both spatial and relational proximities, mostly in order to improve urban metabolism. Thus, the quest for a reterritorialised network governance and integrated production areas and consumption systems drives many initiatives. They are alternatives by their opposition to the densely networked food system, or hybrids by renewing the practices of the dominant network stakeholders. With the help of cases in Paris, I characterise the appropriation of the proximity concept, and assess the consequent ability of the food system stakeholders to transform, more or less radically, the food supply network.