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Open Access Food System transformation in the Absence of Food System Planning: The Case of Supermarket and Shopping Mall Retail Expansion in Cape Town, South Africa

The South African, and wider African, food system is undergoing a rapid transformation, with an associated transformation in nutrition. Both transformations are most advanced in cities where the food system is increasingly characterized by the presence of supermarkets and fast food outlets in malls selling highly processed foods. While local government has no clear formal mandate to address the food system, this paper argues that it is playing a profound role in reshaping the food system through non-food related planning and policy decisions designed to achieve urban development objectives. This paper uses a case study of the changing food system in Cape Town, South Africa, as an entry point to examine the urban planning agenda that is inadvertently generating a food system that undermines food security. The paper therefore presents a 20-year geography of supermarket expansion in the city and a discussion on the impact of developer-led urban development in the form of the shopping mall on the food system. The paper argues that the absence of concerted food system planning has negatively impacted food and nutrition security. It concludes by suggesting that new opportunities for more inclusive urban food systems planning are being aff orded by UN-Habitat's New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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