ENERGIES’ LANDSCAPES | Food, Nutrition and Urban Environment
Online - Zoom
23 October, 2020








00:30 (+1)

Available with English subtitles in the coming days

How can we assess how cities, outside their urban limits, affect the 'domesticated' country landscape and how they have profoundly marked the natural environment?

Undoubtedly, many factors can be listed as co-responsible for this outcome, although one in particular has been underestimated: energy. We are used to thinking about energy as matter that can move systems, machinery, and plants. Still, we often forget that humans also consume energy. All around the world, there are more than seven billion people, who, every day, consume energy at very different levels. In so-called developed countries, people absorb a massive amount of food and beverages, to keep up the strength required to handle miscellaneous tasks and activities.

At rest, sitting at the table in our homes, each one of us utilizes 20-25% of the total amount of energy we take in daily through food just to keep our brains functioning. Under stress, the amount of energy we use for this purpose increases considerably. Anatoly Karpov, the great chess player, could lose up to three kilos of his weight, consuming six thousand calories, due to the mental effort required to play a game of chess. As chess players navigating through urban chaos, we all have to spend extra energy to cope with the unforeseen, incorrectly designed spaces for interaction or all the stressors associated with indoor areas that are not exactly well-conceived. Like Anatoly Karpov, we burn an enormous quantity of calories due to the stress generated by the constant need to recalculate our interaction with the environment. In this harmful state of affairs, our brain is forced to turn off our automatic driver, our pre-reflective ways of modulating our relationship with spaces, just like a plane in a storm.

A surplus of mental work triggers an excess of nutrition to balance energy consumption. Can we try to figure out how many calories humanity wastes each day in this balancing act?  Fatigue added to the primary exertions involved in human relationships – in the family and at work - creates an overload that sometimes drives many people to abuse junk food, drugs, and alcohol.

Is there a dangerous link between this kind of food production and these stressors? What does this mean for the agro-industrial organization of food chains and for the landscape outside cities?  Do our ways of managing both the countryside and wild nature mirror the wrong way we design cities?

If we could calculate the number of calories consumed badly by people every, divided up for each country, and then translate this figure into the energy required to produce it, we could probably recognize this daily energy imbalance as a directly outcomes of mistakes embedded in city planning.

Can we start to analyse how the frustration and stress involved in constantly dealing with all this effort influences our choice of foods containing more fat, proteins and glucose, thereby laying the foundations for a streamlined way of managing food production on a global scale, which has such obviously destructive consequences on the rich and varied country landscape outside cities? Maybe, this approach now could also resonate with those regarding, the penetrations into the wilder nature searching wood, minerals, and other natural resources, in too many areas of the world. Does this remind us of something associate with the spread of a virus?

It is time to join the dots. Our artificial environment affects domesticated nature, inside and outside our cities, and it also affect the delicate balance between ecosystems in wild nature. Cognitive enhancement cannot be supported by an insane city. So, we need to combine all these challenges into one, if we want to restart not peacefully accepting this old devasting framework, namely from the blind street inside which we brought future generations.

The event is organized by TUNED | Lombardini22


With us in this project:



Neuroscientist and researcher at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan

Graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a BSc in Psychological Sciences, she obtained an MSc in Research Methods and Statistical Analysis in Psychology also from the University of Hertfordshire and a PhD in Neuroscience from Università degli Studi di Parma, Italy. After conducting neuroscientific research at the University of Parma for about ten years, she is presently researcher at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), Milan, Dep. of Psychology, Research Unit on the Theory of Mind.

Her main research interest is in developmental psychology, particularly focusing on social cognition and decision-making processes in the human-human and human-robot interaction in a life-span perspective. Research activities involve various national and international collaborations.

She is Member of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD), for which she holds the role of Representative of Early Career Scholars. Additionally, she is member of the Italian Association of Psychology (AIP), section of Developmental Psychology and Education, and of the International European Association on Developmental Psychology (EADP).


Landscape Architect, Professor at Univesity of Florence

Landscape architect, Phd University of Essex, professor at University of Florence, Associate at CNR, Institute of Cultural Heritage Sciences, founding partner of Studio Bellesi Giuntoli, that works internationally on garden and landscape design, urban space planning and restoration of historic gardens with the ambition of combining beauty, livability and respect for the environment.

Professor at Dpt. of Economics and Management of the University of Ferrara

Gianfranco Franz is architect and planner with an extensive experience in policies and practices for sustainability and local development, strategic spatial planning and urban creativity. He teachs at the Dpt. of Economics and Management of the University of Ferrara (Italy). In the 90s urban planning was his major focus of interest, from 2003 to 2015 he coordinated the first international and interdisciplinary MA programme in EcoPolis - Policies for Sustainability and Local Development at the University of Ferrara. Since 2006 he has been involved in strategic planning practices in Italy and Brazil, has worked on urban regeneration and creativity, has developed policies and tools for smart cities and, recently, for circular cities and regions. Since 2017 he has elaborated theoretical views on cultures of sustainability, the Anthropocene, and Ecological Footprints, encompassing a humanistic, social, and economic perspective. At present ecological thinking and cross-disciplinary methodologies are at the core of his research. He is member of the International and Interdepartmental PhD programme in Environmental Sustainability and Wellbeing. In 2012 he founded Routes towards Sustainability, an international university network promoting multi, trans-and cross-disciplinary approaches to the development of places, cities, communities within the framework of sustainability and wellbeing.

Architect and philosopher

Sarah Robinson is an architect who has pactice independently the San Francisco Bay Area over the past 17 years. Her work has been nationally and internationally recognized for its sensitivity to booth human and ecological needs.
She studied Philosophy at University of Winsconsin-Madison (Magna cum Laude) and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, drawing at the Art Students' League in New York and travelled the globe before joining the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture where she earned her M.Arch. She participates in Public Architecture’s one percent program and was Architect-in-Residence in San Francisco’s public schools.

Her book Nesting: Body, Dwelling, Mind (William Stout Publishers, San Francisco, 2011) was inspired by his phenomenological studies and his experience as a practicing architect. The research for this book inspired “Minding Design: Neuroscience, Design, Education and the Imagination”, an international symposium she created and organized that gathered leading architects and neuroscientists in order to explore how breakthroughs in neuroscience enable us design in a way that support our minds. Together with Juhani Pallasmaa she is co-editing the book Minding Desing, that builds upon the symposium opening dialogue.

Sarah is currently practicing architecture in Pavia, Italy where she moved in 2012 with her husband and their three kids.

Italian Chapter Director

As well as his role as a practicing architect and scientific director of the NAAD Master’s programme and the TUNED branch of Lombardini22, David is the Co-Director of the new architecture magazine ‘Intertwining’, with Sarah Robinson and Alessandro Gattara. He has carried out public and private construction projects and participated in international competitions. David is widely published and is a co-ordinator of events and publications on the subject of architecture and neuroscience.

Nutrition expert, Associate Professor of human nutrition at the Department of Food and Drug, University of Parma

Francesca Scazzina is an Associate Professor of human nutrition at the Department of Food and Drug, University of Parma. Since 2009, being involved in food educational projects implemented in primary schools of the Parma area, Francesca acquired a deep experience in educational health learning programs and children population surveys. She is member of SINU (Italian Society of Human Nutrition), Senior Collaborator of The Need for Nutrition Education/Innovation Programme (NNEdPro, Cambridge Foundation, Cambridge, UK, jury member of BCFNYES! member of the scientific committee of Giocampus Project, member of the scientific committee of the Parma UNESCO City of Gastronomy Foundation. Moreover, she is co-founder and Scientific Coordinator of Madegus spin off of University of Parma focused on developing specific strategies and educational tools to improve nutritional knowledge, dietary habits and lifestyle. Additionally, she is working in the framework of diet sustainability, applying the nutritionist's viewpoint to a topic that had been mainly faced with an ecological approach, being a partner in the European Union's Horizon 2020 Project STRENGTH2FOOD_Food quality for sustainability and health.