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The importance of co-location and culture in determining destinations for transport planning: a case study of access to a suburban healthy food basket

Scholes, S; Vaughan, L; Dhanani, A; Boniface, S; Mindell, J; (2014) The importance of co-location and culture in determining destinations for transport planning: a case study of access to a suburban healthy food basket. Presented at: Transport Research Board (Subcommittee on Health and Transportation), Washington, D.C., USA. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Access to healthy food is a basic prerequisite for health. Access depends on availability (retailers’ location, food options sold, prices) and people’s ability to travel there and back. This research investigates the role of spatial setting and social context in providing access to healthy food. The important influence of other destinations and of cultural preferences can be overlooked when defining likely destinations for transport planning. Method: The multi-disciplinary project combines a variety of data types: transport networks, food shopping survey data and land use data to understand the spatio-cultural practices of shopping within a suburban town centre in north London. One of the key methodological challenges was to integrate data that came in different formats. Transport networks were derived from UK road centreline maps and transformed using a geographical information system (GIS) to prepare the data for space syntax network analysis. Survey data on healthy/unhealthy food purchasing patterns were completed by the parents of Year 9 (13-14 year old) pupils at a Jewish secondary school, either through paper survey returns or via an online survey tool. The survey data, which required transformation of shop locations into spatial data points, were then combined with the street network and land use data obtained from the UK national mapping agency for further investigation within the GIS. Results: The most prominent finding from the initial data processing and visualisation is that the location of the school is the single most important common factor that influences a respondent’s food shopping locations. The large supermarket located adjacent to the school was the most frequently visited shop across all responses. This suggests that daily movement routines such as dropping-off and picking-up children from school are combined with other routines, in this case food shopping, to maximise the efficiency in time and travel distance to complete other daily tasks. Whilst not necessarily a surprising finding, this indicates that co-location between different land use functions associated with daily routines influences different aspects of daily life. Furthermore it suggests that in promoting healthy eating and shopping habits amongst certain groups, an understanding of the spatial synergies in daily routines is an important aspect to consider. A more surprising finding was an apparent complete break from this pattern of convenience shopping in the case of food items requiring kosher certification. Despite kosher foodstuffs being available in the adjacent supermarket, the results show that people are willing to travel further to purchase kosher food in specialist shops and delis. We conclude from this that there is a desire to frequent particularly Jewish places such as these in order to reinforce cultural ties and community membership, suggesting that cultural and community ties are realised in space above and beyond issues of convenience and price. Conclusion: Through analysing this data in concert it is possible to understand the relationships that exist between the spatial practices of food shopping and the socio-cultural motivations for specific shopping practices. Using a range of data sources beyond routinely available transport data enhances the understanding of travel patterns.

Type: Poster
Title: The importance of co-location and culture in determining destinations for transport planning: a case study of access to a suburban healthy food basket
Event: Transport Research Board (Subcommittee on Health and Transportation)
Location: Washington, D.C., USA
Dates: 2014-01-12 - 2014-01-16
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://amonline.trb.org/p14-5747-1.2485401?qr=1
Additional information: Copyright © The Authors 2014. This paper was peer-reviewed by TRB and presented at the TRB Annual Meeting.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1418155
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