Towards a greater understanding of healthy food accessibility in Melbourne: Part II
ABSTRACT: This investigation is derived from the concept of ‘food deserts’ - spaces within cities that do not provide adequate access to affordable, healthy food. The paper builds on previous literature research presented at SOAC 2011. This second and (abridged) final part produces the findings from the original scoping paper that sets out to examine possible barriers to accessing healthy food in metropolitan Melbourne. In building a comprehensive understanding of this field, the research takes a first step by looking at the physical configuration of the urban form, and asks whether there are travel barriers to accessing healthy food. Through empirical data and quantitative methods, the paper examines whether there are disparities in people’s ability to reasonably travel to supermarkets - used as a proxy for healthy food outlets - across the Melbourne Statistical Division (MSD), where such disparities are located, and their relative magnitudes. Given that this field is relatively new, the research devises a methodology for mapping ‘healthy food access’ using ArcGIS. This is done through first layering supermarket locations with walking paths, roads and tram networks, and calculating a gravity index of ‘accessibility’. The index is subsequently overlaid with car ownership rates in order to provide a more realistic picture of people’s actual travel options. Final results indicate that Melbourne does not suffer transit captivity.