Resilience to food insecurity: Measuring access to food in the urban environment
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Food security in urban environments is becoming an increasingly important issue worldwide; urban expansion and urban infilling means that city populations are rising while the amount of available land for growing food is reducing. Accessibility of food, in regards to potential food growing space and food retail locations at the household level, is a key indicator for determining how resilient households are to food insecurity. This thesis investigates accessibility of food in urban environments, and a methodology has been developed that employs a non location-specific data structure that assigns resilience categories to individual households. User-defined input variables for the amount of food-growing space required per person, and the maximum travel distance allowed, mean that different scenarios can be created. Two case studies of Christchurch and Stockholm are used to demonstrate how different datasets can be incorporated to give insight into the levels of resilience to food insecurity. Examples of potential sources of error caused by the variations in input dataset quality have been uncovered in the case studies, and possible strategies for dealing with these sources of error are discussed. Results of this study showed that greater maximum travel distances play a key role in accessibility of food in the urban environment, and that both cities are reliant on food retailers to supply food to the urban population, even when potential food growing space is taken into account. City planners or decision-makers can use the methodology developed in this thesis to make decisions about where potential growing space needs to be protected or allocated. They can also use it to model the potential effects of different scenarios, such as the addition of new subdivisions or changes in land use for public land.