Giuseppe Feola presents at VIII Encuentro de patrimonio cultural Sogamoso

Giuseppe Feola presentó hoy al “VIII Encuentro de patrimonio cultural Sogamoso”, siendo relator en el foro:  “El paisaje como expression de la cultura en el territorio. El Encuentro de patrimonio cultural es organizado por la fundación Jischana Huitaca.

Agenda Foro Paisaje Cultural – Encuentro de patrimonio cultural Sogamoso 2023

New article | Nuevo artículo

Feola, G., Goodman M.K., Suzunaga, J., Soler, J., 2023. Collective memories, place-framing and the politics of imaginary futures in sustainability transitions and transformation. Geoforum 138, 103668.


A geographical perspective is crucial to understanding sustainability transitions and transformation, but previous research on place framing in sustainability transitions and transformation has had a marked focus on the politics of the future and its performativity in the present. This paper analyzes place-framing in sustainability transitions and transformation by examining how the conflicting collective memories of a place and the framings of the future of this place interact and lead to the justification of particular forms of socio-material development, land use and sustainability of the peri-urban spaces of the city of Sogamoso, Colombia. Based on 38 semi-structured interviews, we identify three distinct assemblages of future visions, collective memories and place frames, which we call urban development, recovering tradition, and cultural revitalization. The analysis shows that place framing is an exercise through which collective memories and future visions are connected and co-constituted in a spatio-temporal ‘dialogue’: collective memories, future visions and place frames are processes of social construction activated in the attempt to shape or contest sustainability transitions and transformation. We contend that the existence and mobilization of collective memories—and their critical influence on future visions—are a core aspect of the politics of place framing fundamental to the socio-material processes of sustainability transitions and transformation. Furthermore, a politics of place-making in sustainability transitions and transformation involves acknowledging and negotiating collective memories of the past as much as future visions. This suggests ways to critically counterbalance the marked future orientation taken in recent years by sustainability science and transition studies.

Giuseppe Feola presents at Transitions in Latin America and the Caribbean Network

Giuseppe Feola presented the paper ‘Las memorias colectivas, las construcciones sociales del lugar y la política de futuros imaginarios en las transiciones hacia la sostenibilidad’ at the Transitions in Latin America and the Caribbean Network – part of the Sustainability Transitions Research Network (held online).

Giuseppe Feola Presents at International Sustainability Transitions conference

On 06 October 2021 Giuseppe Feola presented the paper ‘Collective memory and place-framing in urban sustainability transitions‘ at the 12th International Sustainability Transitions conference (held online)


There is growing interest in the contribution of a geographical perspective on sustainability transitions. A new theoretical research agenda has emerged, framed around the conceptualization of scales, places and spaces in which transitions unfold. This paper contributes to this research field by advancing our understanding of how distinct collective memories of place are constructed and mobilized by different social groups to inform and justify competing place frames in urban sustainability transitions.
Sustainability transitions are often seen as inherently future-oriented by both researchers and practitioners. Moreover, it is often claimed that a condition for escaping the environmental crisis is the imagination of radically novel futures. On the other hand, some sustainability transition research and practice uses the past to derive ‘lessons’ for, or otherwise inspire present attempts to transition toward sustainability. However, much of this research is not sensitive to place, and tends to read the past as a singular history, rather than to acknowledge the multiple constructions of the past which coexist and compete in place-framing and sense-making more broadly.
Building on theories of place-framing (Pierce et al., 2011; Murphy, 2015) and collective memory (Halbwachs, 2001; Zerubavel, 2003), this paper examines the ways in which collective memory is constructed in the present -that is, which different pasts are remembered, how they are interpreted, and by whom- to inform and justify competing visions of a sustainable future for the city of Sogamoso, Colombia. In this city, recent changes in the planning regulation have allowed urban expansion in formerly agricultural peri-urban areas, which are also claimed for mining and tourism. The changes have laid bare ongoing land use conflicts, and the contested visions of a desirable future for this city. This study is based on 38 semi-structured interviews with key informants comprising leading members of the civil society (social, cultural and/or environmental non-governmental organizations, journalists), public servants at local authorities and members of the construction, education (universities, social enterprises) and farming sectors (self-provisioning farmers, commercial farmers, leaders of farmer organizations, retailers).
We identify three combinations of future visions, place frames and collective memory, namely: (i) a vision of economic progress, which involves a notion of unproductive, ‘empty’ peri-urban areas in waiting of economic development, and which constructs the past as a linear progress from backward pre-industrial tradition to hopeful modernity; (ii) decline, which involves a notion of peri-urban areas as ‘full’ of social and ecological relations, cultural meaning and emotional connections, and which constructs the past as a linear decline caused by economic development, from a dignified, autonomous, self-sufficient pre-industrial past to a culturally, socially and ecologically impoverished, morally corrupted modernity; (iii) cultural renaissance, which involves a notion of peri-urban areas as ‘full’ of social and ecological relations, cultural meaning and emotional connections, and which constructs the past as a circular process of recovering and reinterpretation of ancient, pre-Columbian socio-technical traditions as a place-specific approach to meaning-making and to building alternatives to capitalist development. These three place frames and collective memories provide three fundamentally distinct positions in relation to capitalist urban development, hence of a desirable future, in Sogamoso. Yet, the first frame, which is shared by urban developers, policy-makers and journalists, has the most purchase in the policy-making process and effectively influences not only the visions, but also concrete planning and urban development policies in this city.
The paper shows that an approach to place that is sensitive to multiple framings of the past, as well as future visions of a place, will equip sustainability transition scholars to recognize the multiple readings of place that social actors re-produce, and support a better understanding of the roots of conflict in sustainability transitions.

Presentation at the VI Meeting of Cultural Heritage in Sogamoso / Socialización de resultados al VI Encuentro de Patrimonio Cultural en Sogamoso

Giuseppe Feola presented the talk Agricultura periurbana en Sogamoso: espacios, visiones, cultura at the VI Meeting of Cultural Heritage in Sogamoso on 9 April 2021. His talk was part of a panel discussion Cultural Heritage and Tourism: a necessary alliance. Giuseppe Feola’s talk focussed on the results of a survey of peri-urban agriculture in Sogamoso, which was also published in two journal articles in English and Spanish.

The event was organized by the Jischana Huitaca Foundation and was streamed live online. More information on the event is available here.

Giuseppe Feola presentó la charla Agricultura periurbanaenSogamoso: espacios, visiones, cultura al VI Encuentro de Patrimonio Cultural en Sogamoso el 9 de abril 2021. La presentación fue parte del foro Patrimonio Cultural y turismo: una alianza necesaria. La charla de Giuseppe Feola se enfocó en los resultados de una encuesta sobre la agricultural peri-urbana en Sogamoso, los cuales se publicaros en dos artículos en inglés y castillano

El evento fue organizado por la fundación Jischana Huitaca y transmitido en vivo online. Más información sobre el evento aquí.

The value of peri-urban agriculture: beyond productivity

This blog post was originally published in Spanish on the web platform LA. NetworkEste artículo fue publicado en castillano en la plataforma LA.Network.

A study in Sogamoso (Colombia) reveals the importance of peri-urban agriculture for local communities’ sense of purpose, social fabric, and resilience.

Peri-urban agriculture can contribute to food security and nutrition, income generation, and environmental management, for example through the reuse of urban organic waste, the creation of green belts, and the provision of ecosystem services.

However, in many cities in Latin America the imperatives of development are highly pressing and urban agriculture is often seen as a barrier to development. When development is defined in terms of technological and infrastructural ‘progress’, productivity, economic growth, and ‘modern’ and global cultural connections, peri-urban agriculture is often represented as a backwards, localized, low-tech and economically poorly performing activity—a legacy of past underdevelopment that should be abandoned in order to make space (land) for the expansion of a more ‘productive’ economy.

It is especially difficult to measure peri-urban agriculture’s less tangible effects on local communities and cultural identities. Thus, both those who oppose and defend urban agriculture often measure its impacts solely in terms of material or economic productivity, and assessments limited to monetary values have clashed with less easily quantifiable contributions such as the symbolic importance of food self-provisioning and its attachment to and reinvention of new peasant heritages and identities. In turn, challenges in measuring urban agriculture have contributed to its invisibility in planning documents and in the policy-making arena, particularly from a social and cultural perspective.

A study that we recently conducted in the Colombian city of Sogamoso reveals the importance of non-monetary contributions of peri-urban agriculture for local communities’ sense of purpose, social fabric, and resilience. In the city of Sogamoso, the contrast between the urban and rural worlds can be observed in all its contradictions in the peri-urban space. In Sogamoso, peri-urban agriculture has been explicitly framed by planners, developers, and local authorities as a barrier to economic progress.

This study finds a diversity of peri-urban agriculture in the city of Sogamoso. Peri-urban households involved in agriculture depended on this activity for their subsistence to different degrees. Alongside farm households that produced mainly for the market, there was a majority of households for which agriculture was neither the primary occupation nor the main source of income. Therefore, peri-urban agriculture in Sogamoso, as in other cities in the region, is by no means a homogeneous phenomenon. Furthermore, many household engaged with peri-urban agriculture as a widespread ‘normal’ practice in local communities, not because peri-urban agriculture was promoted by policy interventions, or development projects.

This study also found that many peri-urban households produce food for self-consumption (self-provisioning) and exchange food with other households outside of the market. Although not all peri-urban farmers engaged in food self-provisioning and exchange to the same extent and in identical forms, such practices were very widespread and involved vegetables, fruit, and herbs more than livestock or animal products. Food exchange was less widespread than self-provisioning; however, it was practiced by approximately a quarter of this study’s participants.

Peri-urban farmers had an overall strongly positive perception of the role of peri-urban agriculture in Sogamoso. Participants noted its positive contribution as a source of income as well as a source of healthy, clean food, which contributed to their food security. In summary, this study indicates the existence of a lively social network of food exchange and an even stronger practice of growing at least part of one own’s food supply in Sogamoso’s peri-urban space.

Why does this study matters for urban planning and the governance of sustainable development?

Firstly, this research provides evidence that contrasts with the dominant urban development discourses in Sogamoso, which have tended to overlook such diversity in their attempt to portray the urban fringe as an ‘empty’ space in waiting for more productive urban use.

Secondly this study also provides novel arguments for the protection and promotion of peri-urban agriculture in Colombia and across Latin America. Although urban agriculture is often measured in terms of productivity both by those who oppose and defend it, this study provides evidence in support of crucial non-economic and less easily quantifiable impacts of peri-urban agriculture on building local communities’ sense of purpose, social fabric, and resilience.

Thirdly and finally, while peri-urban agriculture is an already existing and widespread ‘normal’ practice that requires no set-up, or steering, local authorities and citizens can provide support to protect peri-urban agriculture against those seeking to eradicate such practices to promote other, more monetary forms of development.

The study cited in this article is a collaboration between the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Reading (United Kingdom), the Copernicus institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University (the Netherlands), and the Fundación Jischana Huitaca (Colombia). The study was funded by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) through the Environment and Sustainability Research Grant 2017/1. The study (in English) can be requested to Dr Giuseppe Feola via email at: or freely downloaded at this URL:

Invited post | Post invitado: Red de huertas urbanas en Sogamoso

Por: Karen Liseth Fajardo Becerra y Leidy Johana Fontecha Galindo, estudiantes de la Universidad de Boyacá- sede Sogamoso, Programa Administración de empresas.

Para el año 2018 la Fundación Jischana Huitaca ha venido trabajado sobre huertas urbanas, su importancia para la sostenibilidad y los beneficios de tener un consumo de alimento totalmente orgánico. Es por esa razón que para Julio de este mismo año nosotras Karen Liseth Fajardo Becerra y Leidy Johana Fontecha Galindo, como estudiantes de la Universidad de Boyacá- sede Sogamoso del programa Administración de empresas, con la colaboración de los Docente del área de Proyección Social propusimos hacer una investigación titulada “Fortalecimiento Empresarial para el Desarrollo de la Comunidad Agrícola de la Fundación Jischana Huitaca de las Huertas Urbanas de Sogamoso”. Esta red está conformada por personas adultas, que demuestran un gran interés por parte de los integrantes de la fundación en vincularse en el proyecto, el cual se desarrolló en 3 fases que se describen a continuación.

En la primer fase, se realizó la visita a cada una de las huertas de los integrantes donde se observaron los productos que cada uno de ellos tenían cultivados, el abono que realizaban y se identificaron diferentes problemáticas que tenía cada uno de los integrantes en sus huertas. De mismo modo se realizó una encuesta a 20 de los integrantes, donde se puede identificar que (i) el 54% son personas de estrato 2 si ninguna discapacidad, (ii) la razón principal para implementar la huerta, con un 41% del muestreo, es para el autoconsumo. Con estos resultados se demuestra la necesidad que tiene cada integrante de la fundación y lo que esperan con este proyecto y demuestran un gran interés a realizar una asociación y vincularse al proyecto. Por otra parte se realizó una socialización del proyecto en zonas periurbanas donde participaron activamente personas externas e internas de la fundación con el fin de discutir y resolver las problemáticas presentadas. Finalmente, en esta fase se realizaron diferentes reuniones para aclarar las problemáticas presentadas de acuerdo con los resultados de las encuestas en la Fundación, llevando a cabo el diagnostico de las encuestas aplicadas, proponiendo un cronograma de actividades con los líderes de la Fundación para realizar los diferentes talleres y capacitaciones que se llevaran a cabo durante la última fase.

En la segunda fase se desarrolló una serie de talleres sobre fortalecimiento empresarial por las estudiantes Karen Liseth Fajardo Becerra, Leidy Johana Fontecha Galindo y los integrantes de la Fundación.  En los talleres, que se llevaron a cabo en la Casa de la Cultura de la Ciudad de Sogamoso, participaron activamente 10 personas. Por otra parte se realizaron unas encuesta a consumidores y comercializadores, donde seleccionamos 40 personas (15 consumidores y 25 comercializadores y vendedores informales). Se identificó que todos los comercializadores entrevistados estan interesados en adquirir y distribuir los productos de las huertas urbanas con un valor agregado y los consumidores están dispuestos a adquir estos productos orgánicos si el precio es igual a los productos no orgánicos. Se realizó una reunión junto a los líderes de la Fundación Jischana Huitaca, donde se planeó realizar un mercado en la Iglesia del Rosario invitando a los integrantes de la Fundación para llevar sus productos orgánicos y poderlos vender. En este punto de mercado participaron 10 personas llevando sus productos a la iglesia para venderlos y también dándolos a conocer a los consumidores.

En la tercera y última fase se desarrolló los temas para las capacitaciones. Se llevaron a cabo los talleres teóricos y prácticos en temas de producto, precio, plaza, promoción, anuncio publicitario. Se logró la realización de un logo el cual fue escogido para poder distribuir sus productos con un valor agregado. Durante este proceso también se realizó el abono orgánico que se utilizaría en la producción. Por último se realizó con mucho éxito un mercado popular campesino en la Iglesia del Rosario de la Ciudad de Sogamoso.

En suma, hemos realizado un estudio de mercadeo que ha permitido obtener conocimiento de la aceptación de la agricultura orgánica, el precio asequible para la comunidad, la cantidad adquirida y la presentación, además de las preferencias de hierbas aromáticas, hortalizas, frutales, tubérculos, en la población Sogamoseña. Hemos tenido un contacto cercano con las personas las cuales tienen una mentalidad de emprendimiento y por lo tanto este proyecto nos ha permitido valorar y apreciar nuestra cultura agrícola. Ha sido un trabajo único y que ha aportado grandes valores y conocimientos, no solo en el aspecto intelectual sino afectivo y humano, dejando una huella intachable en el corazón y en la vida tanto de nosotras como de cada una de las personas que han venido trabajando este proyecto para lograr comercializar sus productos y así lograr el propósito de la red de huertas que es comer sin químicos y tener una vida sana.

New publication/Nueva publicación: Sustainability Assessment of Urban Agriculture


Feola, G., Sahakian, M. Binder, C. R. 2020. Sustainability Assessment of Urban Agriculture. In: Binder, C.R., Wyss, R., and Massaro, E. (Eds.) Sustainability Assessment of Urban Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 417-437.

The pre-print version of this book chapter is freely available here.

Abstract. This chapter engages with the existing literature on urban agriculture and with concrete case studies to examine current challenges and ways forward for the sustainability assessment of urban agriculture. The chapter identifies current conceptualizations of urban agriculture, and sustainability assessment methods, and discusses them in the light of normative, systemic, and procedural dimensions of sustainability assessment. The chapter addresses the following questions:

  • How can urban agriculture be conceptualized? In particular, are there important conceptual differences between urban agriculture in the Global North and South, or between distinct forms of urban agriculture?
  • How can the sustainability of urban agriculture be assessed? What methodological differences, if any, should be taken into consideration in assessing different forms of urban agriculture in distinct urban contexts?
  • What are the current challenges and what are the opportunities for improving the sustainability assessment of urban agriculture?

The study finds that there is a paucity of assessment methods that have been developed specifically for urban agriculture and are flexible enough to be immediately applicable for different forms of urban agriculture in different contexts. This chapter suggests some opportunities to move the practice of sustainability assessment of urban agriculture forward. These include the adoption of inter- and transdisciplinary research strategies, and a critical approach to urban agriculture practices, power relations, social norms, and institutional conditions that have developed over time in specific contexts. A reflexive research approach and “dedicated investigation strategies” may also go a long way in supporting the sustainability assessment of urban agriculture.

Presentation at the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference

On August 28, 2019 Giuseppe Feola presented the paper Ordinary land grabbing in peri-urban spaces: land conflicts and governance in a small Colombian city at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference in London. | El 28 de Agosto 2019 Giuseppe Feola presentó el artículo Ordinary land grabbing in peri-urban spaces: land conflicts and governance in a small Colombian city en el congreso de la Real Sociedad Geográfica de Reino Unido en Londres.

Peri-urban land grabbing in Colombia

Blog post published on the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development’s website (available here) on our publication: Feola, G., Suzunaga, J., Soler, J., Goodman M.K. (In press). Ordinary land grabbing in peri-urban spaces: land conflicts and governance in a small Colombian cityGeoforum, DOI: