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