The emergence of global food systems transformed food regions into mono-functional production landscapes. These landscapes cause cultural fragmentation, environmental deterioration and an undermining of regional autonomy. Food related organizations and institutions call for the urgency to strive against these conventional food systems by creating sustainable food systems instead. This challenge requires new, adaptive and holistic approaches which are currently lacking. With their new role as agro-architects, landscape architects can play an essential role in the development of sustainable food systems that guarantee the protection of cultural and environmental values, whist ensuring the livelihood for farmers.
This thesis focuses on the development of design principles which can be used to create new, sustainable food systems in city region landscapes. Three theoretical concepts were used to set the foundation for this research: city region food system, cultural food heritage, and permaculture; encompassing the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic. The food region Haarlemmermeer was used as a case study to deploy this theoretical knowledge into design practice, as Haarlemmermeer specific design guidelines were developed. Subsequently, these guidelines were applied and tested in designs to provide input for a sustainable food system in the Haarlemmermeer. From these designs, a number of recurring patterns and matching guidelines were observed on multiple scale levels. Guideline interconnections were made to subsequently generalize these into eleven design principles. These principles provide landscape architects with practical tools for the creation of sustainable food regions worldwide.