Urban Futures 

Urban Futures

Aim of the project

Urban Futures works at the intersection of urban food systems, youth wellbeing, and climate action. Operating in intermediary cities in five countries, it supports local partners and especially young people to create more inclusive, climate-resilient cities and urban food systems.

Why is this project important?

Our current food systems are not meeting the needs of people or the planet. Food systems are responsible for 34% of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet the “triple burden” of nutrition is increasing. At the same time, rapid urbanization will result in 68% of the world’s population living in urban areas by 2050. As cities already consume nearly 80% of all food, urban food systems have a major local and global impact on issues including climate change, youth wellbeing, and economic opportunity.

Intermediary cities are growing fastest and will host over 400 million new residents in the next 15 years. Local authorities are increasingly taking charge of issues affecting them. For example, we see cities taking the lead on climate action through initiatives like the C40 and Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. And the UN Food Systems Summit showed the importance of urban food systems transformation, the need for building agency and changing narratives, and the central role of young people.


An inception phase in 2023-4 is localizing the programme framework and co-creating city strategies with local partners and experts. Further updates will be published as the programme becomes more established. Activities will focus on three areas:

  1. Influencing and supporting the development and implementation of transformative urban food policies through multi-stakeholder platforms and youth movements
  2. Shaping new narratives that reimagine inclusive, climate-resilient cities to inspire behaviour change and influence consumption patterns
  3. Enabling young sustainable food entrepreneurs to flourish and increase financial flows towards inclusive, climate-resilient cities


Ten intermediary cities in Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Zambia and Zimbabwe


2023 – 2027


Urban Futures is led by Hivos, with RUAF as a main partner, together with multiple local partners, networks and experts. The  programme is funded by Fondation Botnar.


René van Veenhuizen, Hivos

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