Rapid urbanization at global scale has brought significant changes in both social and economic structures. More and more people flee into urbanized city center for better living conditions and opportunities. This issues is particularly severe in developing countries and bring great impact on agriculture model and food security.
Urbanization changes people’s dietary habits. People with better economic conditions, whether living in rural or in urban environment, are more like to eat luxury food which consume much more energy during their production process, such as meat and diary products (Satterthwaite et al., 2010). And in addition, the changing dietary habits imply an increasing reliance on transportation. People are more relying on imported food. On one hand, they would like to consume imported food which might be in better quality compared with local food. And on another hand, they have to consume imported food because the rapid urbanization gradually erode agriculture land nearby (Matuschke, 2009). Thus, more energy will be consumed during both food productions and food transportation processes.
This will generated more green house gases and lead to severe environment impact at global level (Satterthwaite et al., 2010). In order to deal with those issues, an increase awareness of environment and sustainability among urban population is necessary and in addition, urban farming and supplementary agricultural land around city are all indispensable strategies as well.
Periphery nations and core nations are facing different food security issues brought by urbanization. Urbanization is in accompany with the reduction of agriculture land (Satterthwaite et al., 2010). Transformation from rural population into urban population will also bring shortage of human capital for agriculture. And in addition, higher urbanization rates also raise demand in water for both domestic and industrial purposes. This leads to the increasing dry of soils and pressure on ecosystem (Matuschke, 2009). All those changes indicate that there must be a challenge for food availability in the future at the global level. The decreased supply amount will result in the increase of food price globally. The price variation might will not bring too much influence for urban resident in core countries considering their personal income and economic status. But this would make significant impact for those urban poor in periphery countries since food consumption also takes a large proportion of their household budget.
Urbanization does not necessarily guarantee wealthy economic status of urban residents. Uncontrolled urbanization and low absorption capacities of those recently developed unban centers in peripheral countries brought and enhanced the phenomenon of urban poverty (Chen and Ravallion, 2007). Urbanization in periphery nations exacerbate the gap between rich and poor (Satterthwaite et al., 2010). Scholars have proved that in many areas, urbanization help decrease the malnutrition and increase dietary diversity (Satterthwaite et al., 2010). However, there is also research shows that urbanization also brought food safety concern to people in periphery countries (Matuschke, 2009). A large proportion of urban food is consumed outside of the house and in periphery countries, this need is met by street foods. The poorer the population segments, the higher rate of household’ food budge is spent on street food (Matuschke, 2009). And since in many periphery countries, street stalls are not set-up with strict regulation. Urban population is periphery countries is more vulnerable to infection and the consequential morbidity and mortality. Satterthwaite’s research (2010) also confirms that the exacerbated gap between rich and poor made poor urban residents less economic affordable for food and consequently the malnutrition among this group will be even worse.
As a short conclusion, rapid urbanization brings various issues associated with agriculture and food consumption for both urban and rural population. And the urban population in periphery countries will suffer more from the negative impact brought by those issues.