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This paper argues for a more active role for cities in shaping agricultural and food policy. The arguments for a stronger involvement of the cities beyond the mere regulation of the food purchase and food consumption process are based on recent changes in producer-consumer relations and the problems arising from recent trends in urbanization in relation to agriculture. The paper deals with four major components. First, the driving forces of the agricultural transition process and urbanization are reviewed from an historical perspective. Second, the problems arising from urban-rural relations in the context of food supply are analysed. Third, the spatial dimension of land use in urban areas including the different forms of agriculture such as urban, periurban and rural agriculture and their implications for the urban environment are dealt with. Finally, a synthesis is provided to be used as a basis for developing the type of policy interventions often carried out by city administrators.

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