Urban Food Deserts: Perspectives from the Global South

Sustainability Special Issue

Edited by Jonathan Crush and Zhenzhong Si

The industrialization of the urban food system, alongside the proliferation of supermarkets, has dramatically transformed the landscape of food accessibility in cities. In many countries, especially the US, the spatial consolidation of food provisioning has deprived many urban neighbourhoods of easy access to food, particularly foodstuffs integral to a healthy diet. These often socioeconomically disadvantaged urban areas are referred to as “food deserts”. However, studies of urban food deserts in cities of the Global South are sparse, given their complicated urban food systems with the strong presence of informal food economies and diverse food sources. This Special Issue include both empirical studies and theoretical discussions of urban food deserts in the Global South, with a focus on a broad range of issues such as food accessibility, food affordability, urban food sources, informal food economies, supermarketization and the food security characteristics and consequences of food deserts, as well as urban policies that contribute to or mitigate the existence and development of food deserts. Papers in the Special Issue approach these themes from various disciplinary and theoretical perspectives.