Fat Cities and Food Deserts: : Exploring a socio-spatial continuum
Abstract: Just as in Australian cities, European urban areas are suffering an increasing spatial, social, economic and political divide between the food enabled and those whose health is suffering from poor food choices. But are these really choices that are freely made? The paper explores the structural issues – expressed through governance, urban design, social practices and economic arrangements – that are creating a continuum of spaces from gastronomic quarters for the few to good food deserts for the many. Using case study research conducted as part of my doctoral study at the LSE Cities Programme I suggest some lessons for Australian cities to combat the unsustainable structures and processes that are correlated with poor urban food outcomes. The work particularly focuses on both inner city and suburban areas being regenerated – with specific examples from Australia and Europe - but also provides as a contextual framework a review of food implications of the dominant trends in urban development. The paper asks how, through better design and governance, we can support the conditions for fat cities – rich in sustainable food possibilities – while avoiding the epidemic of obesity that spaces towards the food deserts end of the continuum paradoxically create?