Working Papers

Food Sensitive Planning and Urban Design – A Blueprint for a Future South African City?

Published 30 October 2020, by Gareth Haysom, Jane Battersby and Robyn Park-Ross

Publication: Food Security Working Paper #007

South Africa’s demographic profile is predominantly urban. As a result of our history, South Africa’s food system was largely an urban food system before the country’s demographic shift to being predominantly urban. It is therefore strange, that one of the key public goods, food, is absent from almost all urban planning and wider urban governance practices and strategic thinking.

Central to ensuring equitable developmental opportunities for all is access to safe, affordable and nutritious food. The current urban system does not provide equitable access, with many having to contend with unequal and unjust food system outcomes. Responding to this inequity is a responsibility of the state, particularly local government. Current project-driven responses will never facilitate redress. More robust and strategic actions are required.

Food Sensitive Planning and Urban Design is one area for such action. This paper draws on the work on a general transition to Urban Food Planning proposed by Rositsa Ilieva (Ilieva, 2016). While Ilieva’s work references mostly Northern planning shifts, the conceptual framework used offers both a practical way of seeing the challenge, but in doing so, also informs the structure of this paper. Ilieva suggests that there are four essential practices evident in food system planning. These include conceptual practice, analytical practice, organisational practice and the design practice.


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