Poverty is widely perceived as an ailment of the developing world, but its reach extends to rich countries where the recent recession has only exacerbated the problem. The need for governments and organizations in these contexts to devise effective approaches in responding to this often overlooked but critical emergency is the subject matter for this year’s consortium workshop* with students from the Mundus Urbano consortium.

The joint urban action and workshop, titled “Food Banking: An emergency response to the crisis in developed countries,” will assist the Food Bank of Barcelona (Fundació Banc dels Aliments Barcelona) in their current efforts to improve the logistics and quality of its operations in response to the needs of the city’s poorest residents who are still suffering grave side-effects of the economic crisis in Spain.

The food banking concept reached Spain in 1987, two decades after the first food bank was founded in Phoenix, Arizona by John Arnold van Hengel. Today, the Food Bank of Barcelona is making significant changes to the configuration of its network, distribution centers and their online platform. They plan to create clusters of micro-distribution centers throughout the city to improve logistics and increase their cold storage capacity  to make better use of fresh products. Students will analyze the impact of these changes by mapping their reconfigured network of distribution centers with data of the services they provide, and also propose alternative internal layouts of the buildings themselves to increase efficiency.

The workshop features presentations by university professors, international experts and NGO workers and represents an opportunity for all those involved to listen to real-life stories from victims of poverty and learn about dealing with poverty as an emergency in developed contexts, managing basic food resources, and measuring the impact of food banking.

Students will present their analysis and proposals in an open event at the UIC campus on Thursday, February 11th 2016. Come join us!


*Hosted this year at our UIC campus, the yearly consortium workshop brings together students from the four  universities of the Mundus Urbano consortium–Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany), Université Pierre Mendès Grenoble (France), Universitá Tor Vergata Rome (Italy), and our own Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (Barcelona).

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