Alison Pulker

Alison Pulker




My current research interests are related to urban food insecurity and urban food systems governance which forms the basis for my PhD research. Broadly, the aim of my PhD research is to understand the role and impact that urban planning and urban governance can have on promoting equitable access to a health promoting urban food system, through policy interventions and principle-led spatial and urban planning in collaboration with the multitude of actors involved in the urban food system.

I hold a BSocSci in Anthropology, Politics and IsiXhosa Communication (2014), as well as a Masters in City and Regional Planning (2016) from the University of Cape Town. My masters dissertation titled The relationship between urban food security, supermarket expansion and urban planning and policy in the City of Cape Town: A Case of the Langa Junction Mini Mall explored the impact that supermarket expansion has in low income areas, and the way in which urban food planning could mitigate these effects.

Since completing my masters, I have spent a year working at the City of Cape Town (2017 – 2018) in the City Growth Management team on the Metropolitan Spatial Development Framework Review. During this time, I was involved in various aspects of the document such as the public participation processes and keeping a record of the various public comments that were received. Since joining ACC in 2018, I have worked as a research assistant on the Integration Syndicate with Edgar Pieterse. During this project I was responsible for organizing various focus groups, establishing and keeping an updated database of key actors and organisations related to each of the five action areas of the Integration Syndicate, as well as planning and organising the Integration and Ideas Festival as the culmination of the project. Following the Integration and Ideas Festival, I have assisted with the production of a publication to document the findings and way forward of the Integration Syndicate.

As a PhD student at the ACC, I am fortunate to now be able to explore my research interests in urban food insecurity, and urban food systems governance through my PhD as part of the Nourishing Urban Spaces project.


  • Pieterse, E., Green, P. Knemeyer, B., Pulker, A. and Viviers, A. (eds.) (2019) The Integration Syndicate: Shifting Cape Town’s Socio-Spatial debate. Cape Town: African Centre for Cities
  • Joubert, L., Watson, V. Battersby, J (2018) Contributor to: Tomatoes and Taxi Ranks: Running our cities to fill the food gap. Cape Town: African Centre for Cities.