Navigation Links
Mapping food deserts
Date:3/3/2011

EAST LANSING, Mich. Maps are great for showing where things are. They're also good for showing where things aren't.

Two Michigan State University professors have developed interactive maps that offer a visual perspective of urban food deserts. By using GIS (geographic information systems) technology, they are showing, rather than simply telling, how urban residents are losing access to fresh produce and balanced nutrition.

Phil Howard, assistant professor of community, agriculture, recreation and resource studies, and Kirk Goldsberry, assistant professor of geography, conducted their research in Lansing. They found that many supermarkets have closed their stores that serve urban areas and have moved to the suburbs. They also showed that Michigan's state capital is a model for what's happening to food environments around the country.

"The change in food environments is recurring all over the nation," said Howard, whose research is supported by MSU's AgBioResearch. "The best selection of produce and the lowest prices have moved to the suburbs. So if you want lettuce in Lansing, or in most U.S. cities, you're going to have to drive to get it."

One aspect on which the study focused was store locations. It showed that less than 4 percent of the population lived within a 10-minute walk of a supermarket. The researchers also looked at the cost in reaching those stores as well as the availability of produce at each retail location. They took into account everything from urban party stores, which may offer lemons and limes, to suburban box stores, which offer nearly 250 different produce items.

By taking actual food inventories and pairing that data with geospatial inputs, the team was able to precisely measure geographic access to produce sections. What was revealed was a tale of two food environments. First, people with cars can overcome many geographical obstacles to obtain fresh produce while pedestrians' ability to obtain fresh produce is becoming increasingly challenging, Goldsberry said.

"I like to think of it as a nutritional CAT scan at the urban scale," Goldsberry said. "The Lansing food model definitely favors drivers because the stores with the best selection of produce are furthest from the densest population areas."

The maps give residents, city officials and community organizations an outreach tool to visualize their food environment. Having a highly detailed method to examine each city's food environment provides a graphic illustration of areas where produce is abundant and where it's lacking, Howard said.

"When people see a map, people gravitate to their neighborhood and make a decision about how it stacks up to others," he said. "They see a high-resolution image of their food environment that literally allows them to point out disparities and geographical challenges in their communities."


'/>"/>

Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@ur.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mapping human vulnerability to climate change
2. Carbon mapping breakthrough
3. Mapping out pathways to better soybeans
4. OBIS selects OpenGeo for Web-based geospatial mapping
5. Bugging out: NC State researchers help track wayward pests through mapping
6. Mapping heart disease
7. Genome mapping technique speeds process of finding specific genes
8. AgriLife scientists do groundwork for genetic mapping of algae biofuel species
9. First phase of pan-tropical forest mapping debuting at COP15
10. Scientists take early steps toward mapping epigenetic variability
11. A Canada-wide technology platform for mapping the human interactome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2017)... 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing event ... emerging and evolving technology through its 3D Printing and ... alongside the expo portion of the event and feature ... focused on trending topics within 3D printing and smart ... event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the Jacob ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Florida , April 11, 2017 ... a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors ... Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s ... ... of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... 2017   EyeLock LLC , a leader of ... States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. ... of an iris image with a face image acquired ... company,s 45 th issued patent. ... given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently come ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/18/2017)... ... September 18, 2017 , ... ... optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces Bryan Coddington ... , What: Digital Transformation in Medical Device – The Journey to FDA Compliant ...
(Date:9/15/2017)... ... 15, 2017 , ... San Diego based graphene materials and ... round of financing, totaling $600,000. The round was entirely filled by existing ... at a company valuation of $10M. , Grolltex, short for ‘graphene-rolling-technologies’, ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... ... September 14, 2017 , ... DrugDev , ... at the third annual DrugDev Summit, November 7-8, 2017 in Philadelphia, PA. The ... progressive clinical research leaders for best practice case studies, keynote presentations, lively breakout ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... ... September 14, 2017 , ... ... utilizing its extensive experience with Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) and ‘big ... laboratory testing. In 2014, US healthcare spending exceeded $3.0 trillion with nearly 1/3 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: