The Emerging Food Desert in Kyoto: A New Challenge for Planners for a Sustainable and Health Living in the Built Environment

  • Daisuke AbeEmail author


Food is a basic human need. Japan has experienced a trend towards urbanisation, which means that many people are both physically and culturally separated from the sources of their food. “Food deserts” does not merely mean a food access and utilisation problem. It rather means health hazards for the socially vulnerable caused by this adequate access to food. In Japan, food deserts have been identified mainly in depopulated areas, but the phenomenon would also emerge even in urban areas which are seemingly satisfactory in terms of the amount of grocery stores and food access. This chapter studies the current conditions of the emerging food desert problem in Kyoto City Center and aims to identify endangered areas where the social capital-like mutual assistance system in the neighbourhood has been gradually depressed. The argument in this chapter might imply the need to identify future risk neighbourhoods.



This study is greatly indebted to the graduation essay written by Tatsuya Fujii, entitled “Toshi wo Mushibamu Shoku no Sabaku. Kyoto-shi ni okeru Toshigata Food Desert no Jisshou Kenkyu” [in Japanese] (Food Desert invades City. A study on urban food desert in Kyoto City [English translation]) which was submitted in January 2018 to the Faculty of Policy Science of Ryukoku University, Kyoto.


  1. Ajuntament de Barcelona. (2015). Plans i Projectes per a Barcelona 2011–2015. Barcelona: Ajuntament de Barcelona.Google Scholar
  2. ESRI (Economic Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan). (2014). Anzen Anshin na shakainokouchikuni motomerareru kagakugijutu-innovation ni Kansuru Kenkyu. Tokyo: Cabinet Office. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  3. Gallagher, J. (2013). Revolution Detroit: Strategies for Urban Reinvention. Detroit: Wayne State University.Google Scholar
  4. Heart Foundation. (2011). Food-Sensitive Planning and Urban Design. A Conceptual Framework for Achieving a Sustainable and Healthy Food System. Melbourne: National Heart Foundation of Australia (Victorian Division).Google Scholar
  5. Recovery Park web site.
  6. Iwama, N. (2017). Toshi no Food Desert Mondai. Social Capital no teika ga maneku machinakano “shoku no sabaku”. Tokyo: Nourin Tokei Kyokai. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  7. JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency). (2007). Urban Planning System in Japan.
  8. Keizaisangyosho. (2014). Kaimono Jakusha To ni Kansuru Hokokusho. Tokyo: Keizaisangyosho. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  9. Keizaisangyosho. (2015). Kaimono Jakusha Ouen Manyuaru ver3.0. Tokyo: Keizaisangyosho. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  10. Kouseiroudousho. (2011). Kokumin Seikatsu Kisochousa. Tokyo: Kouseiroudousho. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  11. Kouseiroudousho. (2014). Kokumin Kenkou Eiyou Chousa. Tokyo: Kouseiroudousho. [in Japanese].Google Scholar
  12. Taylor, D. E., & Ard, K. J. (2015). Detroit’s Food Justice and Food Systems. Focus, 32(1), 13–18.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ryukoku UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations