TURAS expert contact:
Stephan Kampelmann
Economist interested in spa...



The transition challenge

The fragmentation of agricultural land in peri-urban areas has decreased agricultural jobs and opportunities. Agricultural land has become scarce and expensive, and in many places plots are left fallow. In addition, the economic crises has, since 2009, caused the suburbanisation of formerly rural communities and rendered them extremely vulnerable to swings in labor market. Food production is moving further away from urban areas, while it proves difficult for planning to maintain or reactivate agricultural activities in rural communities that are affected by monofunctional suburbanisation.

The TURAS integrated approach

The peri-urban environment is no longer considered as left-overs of urbanisation and cheap housing areas, but as an opportunity for local economic activities, including agriculture, agritourism, and innovative business start-ups. Retaining food production in these lands also means securing a safe, environmentally-friendly, and high-quality supply of food for the city, and ability to preserve local biodiversity and habitat. Thus, the proposed transition involves a focus on educating young farmers who are better prepared and better connected to processing, transformation and marketing activities in the urban context. One key aspect is granting affordable access to public land. This allows for using it as an experimental entrepreneurial incubator that provides knowledge, advise and support for start-up farmers by setting up a network of fellow entrepreneurs, agronomy experts and business developers. The network also supports access to third-party investment and PPP projects.


economic opportunities sustainable urban structures inclusive communities

Creating systemic Knowledge

In this integrated project, diverse information on peri-urban localities are collated by looking at existing natural resources, economies, communities and relevant local actors. This helps to build a systemic understanding of local food systems and provides the basis for simulating the implementation of innovative agricultural business ideas and how they might change the existing system.

  • ...gathering knowledge of groups and projects across an institution or local area
    ...categorising diverse groups by relevant organisational form and background

  • ...facilitating system-thinking and providing knowledge-brokering between established actors and pioneers of sustainable and socially innovative economic activities

  • ...identifying local assets within the neighbourhood that could produce community value and be managed by the community

  • …supporting the type of collective systems-thinking that is needed for the transition process towards sustainability

  • ...developing an understanding of entrepreneurship as one part in a wider set of systemic interactions that include the community of users
    ...simulating and testing the feasibility of local business ideas

Developing shared visions

A constructive dialogue is created to bridge the division between the diverse goals of local community actors and existing visions of local authorities. It focuses on including and activating the young rural population, but it enables all stakeholders to collectively identify and formulate their wishes, values and visions for the creation of sustainable local food systems.

  • ...collecting and harnessing community concerns and opinions (to shape planning and development activites)

  • ...providing a framework in which niche actors can engage in meaningful and constructive cooperation with actors of the economic establishment

  • ...activating the local community in order to enable them to identify and formulate their wishes, values and visions for local assets with a task force of transdisciplinary designers and community stakeholders

Developing integrated strategies

Strategic alliances and cooperation between local actors are set up. A community-based decision-making structure is set-up with a focus on acquiring and managing collectively the necessary resources and local assets. Agricultural business ideas for sustainable local economies are developed.

  • ...identifying groups that would like to be more visible and to be available to connect
    ...creating an online-portal that provides information on these groups "at a glance view" and makes visible local services and projects offered to citizens

  • ...fostering sustainability transition of key local economic sectors through an innovative multi-stakeholder alliance which is coordinated and moderated by the local authority

  • ...accessing high level information on practical solutions and case studies for overcoming resource barriers in order to realise project ideas

  • ...elaborating and reasoning specific actions needed
    ...creating a symbiosis between communities and the local economy and bridges together compartmentalised actors

  • product-service-systems (PSS) by connecting local authorities, entrepreneurs and representative members of the community
    ...testing possible implementation strategies within a safe environment

  • ...a collaborative process and community-based institutional model to set up a strategic management plan in order to develop inclusive pathways to develop local social and green assets

Implementing transition activities

So far collated resources are used to establish innovative community-based agricultural start-up enterprises, guide and support related business activities, and set-up the appropriate physical, technical and organisational infrastructure. Additionally, collective management of the necessary resources and local assets is facilitated.

  • ...using guidelines and an online tool for setting-up and realising community projects
    ...making links to required resources

  • ...triggering and collecting (project) ideas

  • ...setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC) as a type of non-profit social enterprise that manages local assets and facilitates the development of skills and activities that benefit the community


Please get in touch with our expert contact for additional material.