Farm to fork: pedaling the path to local delights

Farm to fork: pedaling the path to local delights
Katarina Kuk
Promoting sustainable mobility and local farms through unified urban planning and GIS tools: Circular cycling path connecting local farms.

Katarina Kuk
Ljubljana, Slovenija
Team members
Katarina Kuk
Field of work
Architecture, Urban planning
Project category
Rural spaces
Project submitted

I am an urban planner and architect from Ljubljana. In 2021, I completed my master's degree in urban planning at the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana. The interdisciplinary urban planning program allowed me to explore areas such as urban ecology, environmental aspects of sustainable development, and geographic information systems (GIS). During my studies, I became increasingly interested in the connection between urban planning and the use of GIS tools, particularly in the context of climate change. My goal was to find ways to integrate these two fields, and this became the focus of my master's thesis. The final result was an interdisciplinary project that combined fieldwork, urban planning, and geoinformation methods. The outcome of the project was the digitalization of a cycling path plan, connecting local farms around the Sorško polje area.
While working on my master's project, I attended numerous online workshops on using ESRI software tools, which further inspired me for employing GIS tools in urban planning. In 2021, I participated in the ESRI conference for users, where I learned how digitalization can contribute to climate change and raise awareness. At the conference, my master's thesis project received second place in the student category and was also awarded the ESRI Best Final Work prize by GDi company, as well as the Maks Fabiani student recognition award by the Association of Slovenian Urbanists and Spatial Planners.
Currently, I work in the spatial department at the Geodetic Institute of the Republic of Slovenia. In my free time, I collaborate with colleagues from the faculty to write articles for the magazine "Prelom" on urban issues and local initiatives. Additionally, together with the Institute of Housing and Spatial Studies, we conduct participatory workshops to develop a vision for the development of the Stolpniška area where one of the local initiatives has recently appeared.

The project is about the production of a circular cycling path with the purpose to protect Sorško polje and the sustainability of its spatial development. The area is known for its best agricultural land and the dominant agricultural activity, and it is also a popular destination for cyclists. In the project I address the problem of non-compliance of existing cycling routes and the preservation of the rural character of the Sorško polje. By planning a circular cycling route around Sorško polje and unifying the profile of the route, I concluded existing cycling routes and tried to achieve the connection of the Sorško polje into a comprehensive system. At the same time, I have connected local agricultural activities and natural and cultural sites. The purpose of the project is the awarness of sustainable mobility, sustainable development and sustainable tourism of the Sorško polje in a digital form and in a form of urban plan. By creating an interactive website, I tried to rise awareness of food self-supply and to create a paradigm to promote the local tourism industry. My intention was to make a simple platform for visitors of the area, so that they could inquire about the route and local activities before making the trip, and so that they could check the farm offer in advance or on the location. The production and use of interactive map is a sustainable accessory for cyclists and local food buyers. By including local farms in the newly planned cycling trail and by promoting it through an interactive website, I wanted to increase the number of visitors and buyers of local produce. This would help to increase the sale of agricultural products, increase local food production over time, which in turn could lead to the need for new jobs on farms. In the future, I wish to further upgrade and complement the interactive website and propose to expand the area to create a wider system of cycle paths in connection with farms.