Abstract for: Meeting Urban Food Needs: Food Supply and Distribution Systems as Complex Systems

The growing of urban population and the fast urbanization process, in developing nations and those in transitions, are both strongly affecting to which extent quality and safe food can be made accessible to urban households. In order to meet urban food needs of urban family units, effective, coordinated and sustainable interventions, framed within local policy, strategy and planning perspectives, are required to increase the efficiency, dynamism, comprehensiveness and sustainability of Food Supply and Distribution Systems (FSDS). This work aims to discuss how a complex-systems perspective can shed light on the analysis of complex FSDS when aiming to meet urban food needs. Firstly, the study explores the common features between complex systems and FSDS and defines the viability of a System Dynamics approach to meet the challenge. Then it proceeds through a qualitative analysis by means of specific tools of the methodology and finally ends up with a quantitative analysis and explores the outcomes of a first set of testing scenarios.