GAIN Discussion Paper Series 7 - Food systems planning for cities yet to be built

Food systems are essential to food and nutrition security. They are also major drivers of economic, environmental, and social development and can be positive forces for urban development. This is critical, as increasing urbanisation of the global population is shifting the relative burden of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition to cities. To keep up with this growth, greater urban infrastructure, including entirely new cities, is required.

Developing an entirely new city provides an opportunity through urban planning and design to address a range of development challenges. This paper will focus on how integrating food systems planning into design of new cities can improve access to nutritious and safe food (and therefore contribute to reducing levels of malnutrition). As food systems are impacted by, and contribute to, climate change, there is also an opportunity for well-designed cities to promote resilient urban food systems through considering options for climate change mitigation and adaptation. However, as this paper demonstrates, new cities being designed and built are not seizing the opportunities to address these development challenges. Further there is limited technical guidance available for doing such planning in practice.

A global call to action on new city development, by UN agencies and other key stakeholders outlined in the paper, is required to discuss how such development could be used to further the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement requirements whilst supporting healthy diets to improve nutrition.