Food System Mapping & Modeling
About This Group

Who feeds us? How are we eating? How does our food impact the environment? How could we eat in the future? These are the questions we try to answer in Working Group 1. 

We take a closer look at the way food and agriculture work today to learn how we can create ecologically and socially sustainable agrifood systems. We also assist the other Working Groups by providing information about food production and consumption at our different project sites. 

Because food and agriculture are linked in complex ways, we use a range of methods in our research. These include for example GIS and land use analysis, spatially and conceptually mapping formal and informal food flows, participatory foodshed mapping, consumer surveys, ecological footprint modelling in collaboration with the Global Footprint Network, and modelling of potential future diets.

Main Members
Kazuaki Tsuchiya
Assistant Professor, Tokyo University


I am interested in how the linkages between urban lifestyles and local and global ecosystems lead to environmental changes and health issues. I believe that food, the focus of the FEAST project, is the key to untangling lifestyle-ecosystem linkages.
Yuji Hara
Associate Professor, Wakayama University


Yuji Hara graduated from the Department of Geography, and did his Master Degree in Landscape Planning at The University of Tokyo, where he received his PhD in 2007. He specializes in landscape ecology/planning and anthropogenic geomorphology in the context of Asian rice culture, and conducts extensive field research in Wakayama/Osaka, Bangkok, Metro Manila, Tianjin and other Asian cities. Recently he has been involved in and investigating the Minabe-Tanabe Ume System, the GIAHS site in Wakayama, central Japan.
Christoph Rupprecht
Project Researcher, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature


I study the diverse entanglements of living beings, especially through the lens of food and agriculture. My interests include degrowth, more-than-human geography, sustainable food systems, informal green space (such as vacant lots and street or railway verges), urban ecology, and environmental justice.

Homepage  ・Twitter

Ni Hui
Instructor, Ritsumeikan University
I specialize in International Agribusiness and Agricultural Development, Sericulture and silk industry.
Katsunori Iha
Research Economist, Global Footprint Network
I am seeking a life where I can laugh, think and connect others through soil.
Ayako Kawai
PhD student, Australian National University
My interest is in bio-cultural diversity conservation, and my PhD project is about 'how to transmit local crop variety seeds, seed saving skills and related culture to next generation in Japan'. It would be great if I can contribute to improve the situation around local crop variety conservation. I currently live in Canberra, and am trying to get a farm plot so that I can start practicing organic farming & seed saving.
Kimisato Oda
PhD student, Kyoto University

I study the relationship between people and riparian nature in areas of human activity such as cities and agricultural villages, with a focus on the Lake Biwa hydrological system. Using food as point of entry, I want to learn more about how characteristic regional food culture is connected with aquatic organisms, especially fish.

Louis Augustin-Jean
Visiting Scholar, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Louis Augustin-Jean is currently Visiting Scholar at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and was formerly Associate Professor in Development Economics at the University of Tsukuba. His current research interests are in the field of the economic sociology of food (the sociology of food markets in China; geographical indications in Asia) as well as food safety and food risks.

Publications and outputs


Peer-reviewed paper on urban agriculture on "Sustainable Sciences”

A journal article “Assessing urban agriculture potential: a comparative study of Osaka, Japan and New York city, United States” co-authored by Prof. Yuji Hara, WG1 Chair and Associate Professor at Wakayama University, was published in Sustainable Science. Abstract: In this study, we examined urban agricultural production potential in New York city (NYC) in the United States and Osaka in Japan i...


Peer-reviewed paper of WG1's research on land use in Kyoto City published on "Sustainability"

A peer-reviewed paper “Urban Agriculture as a Sustainability Transition Strategy for Shrinking Cities? Land Use Change Trajectory as an Obstacle in Kyoto City, Japan” co-authored by Kimisato Oda, Christoph Rupprecht, Kazuaki Tsuchiya (The University of Tokyo) and Steven McGreevy was published on an international journal, Sustainability 10(4). “Urban Agriculture as a Sustainability Transition St...


Prof. Yuji Hara's paper published on "Sustainability"

A peer-reviewed paper “The Minabe-Tanabe Ume System: Linkage of Landscape Units by Locals” by Prof. Yuji Hara at Wakayama University was published on “Sustainability 10(4)”. “The Minabe-Tanabe Ume System: Linkage of Landscape Units by Locals” by Yuji Hara, Yuki Sampei and Hirotaka Tanaka Abstract:This paper focuses on the Minabe-Tanabe Ume system, which was designated as a Globally Important Ag...

Ready for more-than-human? Measuring urban residents’ willingness to coexist with animals (Christoph Rupprecht)

A peer-reviewed paper “Ready for more-than-human? Measuring urban residents’ willingness to coexist with animals” by Christoph Rupprecht (FEAST Project Researcher), which includes the research outputs of WG1, was published on Fennia-International Journal of Geography. Abstract: In the context of rapid urbanisation, geographers are calling for embracing non-humans as urban co-inhabitan...


The 1st RIHN/UCB International Workshop (Christoph Rupprecht)

On November 6-7th,  the first RIH/UCB International Workshop “Food, Agriculture, and Human Impacts on the Environment: Japan, Asia and Beyond” to commemorate the signing of a memorandum of understanding was held on the Berkeley campus. Christoph Rupprecht, Project Researcher, gave a talk on the WG1 research outputs as follows: Part I. Food and Agriculture Session 1. Urban biocultural foo...

Informal Urban Green Space: Residents’ Perception, Use, and Management Preferences across Four Major Japanese Shrinking Cities

Abstract: Urban residents’ health depends on green infrastructure to cope with climate change. Shrinking cities could utilize vacant land to provide more green space, but declining tax revenues preclude new park development—a situation pronounced in Japan, where some cities are projected to shrink by over ten percent, but lack green space. Could informal urban green spaces (IGS; vacant lots...

How can Mediterranean societies thrive in an era of decreasing resources?

Highlights: The average Food Footprint of a Mediterranean resident is approximately 0.9 gha per person—with a range from 0.6 gha—thus higher than that of such countries as India (0.4 gha), China (0.5 gha), Costa Rica (0.6 gha) and Germany (0.8 gha). In analysis of 12 Mediterranean cities, Cairo has the highest total Ecological Footprint, followed by Barcelona and Rome. The Mediterranean cit...

Informal urban green-space: comparison of quantity and characteristics in Brisbane, Australia and Sapporo, Japan

Abstract: Informal urban green-space (IGS) such as vacant lots, brownfields and street or railway verges is receiving growing attention from urban scholars. Research has shown IGS can provide recreational space for residents and habitat for flora and fauna, yet we know little about the quantity, spatial distribution, vegetation structure or accessibility of IGS. We also lack a commonly accepted...

The Political Economy of Agro-Food Markets in China: A Social Construction of the Markets in an Era of Globalization

About the book: China’s agricultural production and food consumption have increased tremendously, leading to a complete evolution of agro-food markets.The book is divided into two parts; the first part reviews the theoretical framework for the ‘social construction of the markets,’ while the second part presents the implication for the agro-food markets in China....