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Title:Food access in local food retail stores: a mixed method approach
Author(s):Shockley, Alisa
Advisor(s):McLafferty, Sara L.
Department / Program:Geography & Geographic InfoSci
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Food environment
food deserts
theories of access
corner stores
Abstract:This mixed methods study focuses on food access in local food retail environments within three neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Food deserts are areas in which residents have limited access to healthy foods. African Americans and populations residing in low-income urban neighborhoods often have poor access to supermarkets and healthier food options; and instead have more access to convenience stores that sell low-quality, higher priced and unhealthy food items. This thesis examines how store managers and owners actively shape local food environments by providing different types of foods at their stores located in different neighborhoods. Access is viewed as a relational concept involving actors with different degrees of power. The first section presents a quantitative analysis of the uneven spatial densities of corner stores, supermarkets and populations in Philadelphia. Results indicate that supermarkets are more geographically available in neighborhoods with high concentrations of white population, whereas corner stores are more available in predominately black neighborhoods. The second section presents a qualitative analysis of the availability of healthful foods within 25 corner stores and supermarkets in three contrasting Philadelphia neighborhoods. Using a food checklist and observational methods I analyzed food offerings, store characteristics and social interactions between retail clerks and their customers. Results showed a dearth of fresh food offerings in corner stores and physical and social barriers between store owners and customers in some stores. Differences in food offerings and store operations were also observed between supermarkets belonging to the same chain located in socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods.
Issue Date:2012-09-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Alisa Shockley
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-18
Date Deposited:2012-08

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