Hungry Cities Partnership

Document Type

Hungry Cities Paper

Publication Date



Balsillie School of International Affairs


The efficiency of the infrastructure systems in cities will define the extent to which dystopic visions of urban futures become a reality. At the level of the individual household, vulnerability to hazards in cities is defined, in part, by the ability to access essential resources and services. This discussion paper proposes a model to help explain the relationship between access to urban infrastructure systems and household vulnerability to food insecurity. Food access in cities is primarily achieved through food purchases, where households convert assets into food at retail locations. When a household falls into food insecurity through trading household assets for resources, it is often trapped by a host of resource deprivations that have occurred over time. In this manner, the process compounds the vulnerability of a household to food insecurity. The data used in this paper was collected from 2014 to 2016 by the Hungry Cities Partnership using a household food security baseline survey in four cities: Kingston (Jamaica), Maputo (Mozambique), Mexico City (Mexico), and Nairobi (Kenya).