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Measuring Food Deserts via GIS-Based Multicriteria Decision Making: The Case of Tehran

Author: Hassan Mohammadian Mosammam, Mozaffar Sarrafi;Jamileh Tavakoli Nia, Ali Mohammadian Mosammam
Publisher:The Professional Geographer

The purpose of this article is to identify food deserts using a geographic information system (GIS)-based multicriteria decision-making (MCDM) approach in the city of Tehran. We have found that, compared to technocratic methods, GIS-based MCDM and taking into account people or their agents' opinions in the food deserts analysis leads to different results. Whereas measuring food deserts based on the distance to large retail food stores indicated that a large part of the northern neighborhoods of Tehran do not have access to large food stores, identifying the food desert through the GIS-based MCDM approach revealed that northern neighborhoods of Tehran have relatively good access to healthy, affordable food. In addition, results indicated that individual factors have a more effective role than environmental factors in food accessibility. Food accessibility analysis revealed that more than 26.6 percent of Tehran's people (2,049,796) are living in very low and low food accessibility areas. Accordingly, to achieve a relatively healthy and inclusive food environment, establishment of a food council, development of mobile food markets and farmers' markets, extension of public transport, enhancement of food literacy, and community-based development of small full-service grocery stores, especially in southern and western sections of Tehran, should be pursued. In addition, addressing Tehran's food desert issues would be incomplete without due attention to the wider political and economic environment.

Organization: Academia/ University
Region: Near East
Coverage: Iran
Areas of focus: Social and economic equity
Tags: Data innovation, Household food security, Monitor and evaluation