Mapping Food Access in New York City

New York City

By Nour Zein
food access, food insecurity, food availability, new york city,

Mapping the food access landscape in New York City.

Food insecurity is defined as “the lack of access to enough nutritionally adequate food for an active, healthy life for all members of a household” (Food Metrics Report, 2016). Areas with limited access to fresh produce have high rates of poverty, and diet related diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. The effects of food insecurity percolate to all parts of a society (health, education, economic development, etc..). Grocery stores have an important role to play in the accessibility of fresh food at affordable prices, especially in high density urban areas where households that do not have access to cars. A study conducted by New York City reveals a shortage of grocery stores which affects roughly three million New Yorkers. These areas lack access to fresh produce and rely on alternatives like convenience stores, gas stations, and pharmacies. The objective of my project is to explore the food access landscape of New York City by

− Identifying where the vulnerable communities are based on percent below poverty line

− Identify where the supermarkets are located

− Create a food insecurity index combing both data sets to identify poor areas with no access to supermarkets (severely food insecure areas)

− Add alternative food options to explore the diversity in food availability

We can see that areas in the Bronx and in Brooklyn are severely food insecure. This map can be used by policy advocates to look at where to allocate resources and address the concern of food insecurity.