Urban livelihoods under a changing climate : Perspectives on urban agriculture and planning in Lusaka, Zambia.
With rapidly deteriorating national and local economies, many urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa are resorting to informal sector activities to ameliorate the current food insecurity that poor households face. Among these activities is urban agriculture, which is used both as a source of basic foodstuffs and also for income generation. In many cities, the growing of food crops is considered as an activity for rural areas, and is therefore, excluded from urban development and planning policy. This state of affairs has traditionally presented major challenges for many small-scale urban farmers to realise their full potential and attain household food security. In recent years, changes in climatic conditions (e.g. drought and flooding), coupled with a lack of policies supporting the activities of the urban poor, have combined to make it difficult for households to adapt to the changing urban environment. Drawing upon recent field-based research in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, the paper explores the relationships between urban livelihoods and extreme weather events, and evaluates the extent to which changes in climate and urban governance are impacting upon urban agriculture. The paper has wider relevance in the context of evolving strategies for achieving sustainable urban development, poverty reduction and food security in Africa and elsewhere.