The Food Desert in Aged Countries of East Asia: A Case Study of Taipei City and Tokyo Metropolis

Authors: Chong-En Li*, PhD student, National Taiwan Normal University., Nae-wen Kuo, Professor, National Taiwan Normal University.
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Asia
Keywords: food deserts, food accessibility, Taipei, Tokyo
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The food desert refers to areas where residents cannot buy or can't afford fresh food, which often leads to poor health of the people. It’s a problem of social exclusion, which has attracted the attention of the scholars from Europe and North America. Previous studies in these countries have found that food deserts are tend to occur in communities with impoverished residents or people of color. By contrast, such research is relatively rare in aged countries in East Asia, such as Taiwan and Japan. Hence, this study selects Taipei and Tokyo as examples to discuss whether the causes of food deserts in these two cities are different as those in Europe and North America. Firstly, the road network feature, the minimum statistical area feature, and retailer location feature were used to draw the “food accessibility map”, and the resident age structure data were used as the weighted to calculate the “food accessibility index”, and to draw the “food accessibility index map”. After overlaying it with the attribution of the solitary elderly, we can get the “food desert map”. We found that the old downtowns in Taipei, with the largest number of solitary elderly, have another type of food deserts problems. It always resulted from many solitary elderly persons living here are reluctant to go out to buy fresh food and we regard it as “social alienation” situation. This finding is similar to the Japanese scholars' research on Tokyo, but it’s different from the cases of European and North American cities.

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