Identification of Key Components for a new Urban Food Strategy – Results of a Delphi Study in Cologne, Germany

Darya Hirsch, Zoe Heuschkel, Wiltrud Terlau


Urban food systems consist of many stakeholders with different perspectives, different interests and different governance tools. This study aimed at developing potential future scenarios for the food system of Cologne by analysing the system with a Delphi approach.

In our research-design, the suitability of the Delphi-method was evaluated not only as a tool for future modelling and scenario design, but also as a communication tool among the group of participants on a multi-stakeholder-platform. As a case study, the Food Policy Council of Cologne, Germany was used. Cologne can be seen as a forerunner among German cities in the development of a new urban food policy. Some of the successful steps to re-envisioning food as an urban system include joining the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, the decision of the City Council to become an edible city and the establishment of a Food Policy Council. For the study it was important to capture participants’ visions of a common goal regarding the governance of the urban food system and also to identify mental ‘silos’. It was obvious that the municipality of Cologne together with the Food Policy Council made great efforts towards participatory processes to build a vision for a sustainable and regional food supply. However, many stakeholder-groups in the process still work exclusively among themselves and do not actively practice the confrontation with the viewpoints of other relevant groups. This supports the maintenance of ‘silos’ and leaves little room for face-to-face discussions. Therefore, the primary aim of this study is to explore key components of food provisioning in the future for Cologne while confronting all stakeholders (municipal administration and politicians, farmers and food activists) with the perspectives of all group members. We used a multi-stakeholder Delphi approach with 19 panellists to find out essential components of the municipal regional food provisioning system in Cologne. Unique in this Delphi study is the bringing together of municipal administration, regional urban farmers and food activists. The research is still on-going, but preliminary results show that more communication among all relevant actors, especially horizontally among different city departments, in the urban food system is needed.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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