Hot and Hungry Cities: The Future of Urban Food Wars

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This century will be defined by two trends: how we manage climate change and how we manage the rise of megacities. Over the next 20 years, the global urban population will grow from 3.5 to 5 billion people. The strain on resources and the environmental stresses that accompany the growth of cities – especially in brimming urban centers like Dhaka, Bangladesh; Lagos, Nigeria; and Mexico City – will create even more challenges as access to food and clean water become increasingly limited. It is no wonder that in 2015 the National Intelligence Council determined that food security is a national security matter. Countries facing severe shortages of food or affected by climate change are also the most vulnerable to destabilizing conflicts that affect U.S. interests around the globe.

Yet it is only recently that food security practitioners, traditionally focused on rural areas, have begun to turn their attention to megacities. In the world’s massive urban centers, migration from rural areas – often the result of vulnerable populations fleeing conflict or environmental degradation – has created new challenges to ending global poverty and hunger.

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