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Urban sprawl and the emergence of food deserts in the USA

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  • Shima Hamidi

Abstract

Providing access to a variety of healthy and affordable foods has been the goal of several federal and state policy initiatives in the USA. The first step towards the successful implementation of these initiatives is to identify food deserts and to understand the mechanism by which food deserts arise. This national-level study investigates the association between urban sprawl and the emergence of food deserts at both regional and neighbourhood levels. Multilevel analysis is used to model the likelihood of a census tract being a food desert, controlling for sociodemographic and built environmental characteristics. We find that urban sprawl, measured via a compactness index, holds a significant association with the likelihood of a census tract being a food desert. Specifically, a one unit increase in the compactness index is associated with a 5.6% decrease in the odds of a census tract being a food desert. In conclusion, we recommend increasing the land use density, mix and walkability of neighbourhoods to create a supportive and attractive environment for food retailers in which to invest.

Suggested Citation

  • Shima Hamidi, 2020. "Urban sprawl and the emergence of food deserts in the USA," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 57(8), pages 1660-1675, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:57:y:2020:i:8:p:1660-1675
    DOI: 10.1177/0042098019841540
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Sangeetha Madhavan & Shelley Clark & Sara Schmidt, 2021. "Single mothers coping with food insecurity in a Nairobi slum," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 58(13), pages 2703-2720, October.
    3. Hui Luan & Daniel Fuller, 2022. "Urban form in Canada at a small-area level: Quantifying “compactness†and “sprawl†with bayesian multivariate spatial factor analysis," Environment and Planning B, , vol. 49(4), pages 1300-1313, May.
    4. Różycka-Czas Renata & Czesak Barbara & Staszel Andrzej, 2021. "Which Polish Cities Sprawl the Most," Land, MDPI, vol. 10(12), pages 1-18, November.
    5. Carlos Bueno-Suárez & Daniel Coq-Huelva, 2020. "Sustaining What Is Unsustainable: A Review of Urban Sprawl and Urban Socio-Environmental Policies in North America and Western Europe," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(11), pages 1-36, May.
    6. Yuval Arbel & Chaim Fialkoff & Amichai Kerner & Miryam Kerner, 2022. "Do population density, socio-economic ranking and Gini Index of cities influence infection rates from coronavirus? Israel as a case study," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 68(1), pages 181-206, February.
    7. Lisa-Marie Hemerijckx & Katarzyna Janusz & Sam Emelen & Samuel Tumwesigye & Jac Davis & Shuaib Lwasa & Anton Rompaey, 2022. "Food accessibility of different socioeconomic groups in sub-Saharan African cities: a mixed-method analysis in Kampala, Uganda," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 14(3), pages 677-694, June.

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