Urban Challenge: Food Deserts

Sprawl-style mega-cities, epitomized by Los Angeles, have entire communities with limited access to transportation and no access to fresh food within a mile radius.  These vast tracts have become known as "food deserts" and are part of the growing epidemic of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

What if a large supermarket chain deployed a small fleet of re-imagined food trucks into these neighborhoods lacking access to fresh, healthy meals - where dialysis centers are popping up faster than the fast food joints that surround them...

We asked that question as part of a use case looking at our own city, and this short video highlights one example of how we could rapidly explore this solution space to test, learn, and refine around our insights.

Given that lack of access to basic nutrition impacts the ability to maintain engagement in education, long-term health forecasts, and stable employment potential, enabling regular access to fresh foods and education around eating habits can rebuild a foundation of wellness in food deserts.  A modest investment in offering true food security has major impact later on the cost of medical services provided by the city, as well as the opportunities then available to the residents of lower income neighborhoods.  And this kind of health intervention is not only good for us but also a way to fuel social connectedness and improve quality of life in general. 

As with all of our work, we are concerned about two primary factors: 

  1. Ways that new thinking and "test and learn" experiments can address an entrenched issues
  2. How a solution can then scale to really impact growing urban populations worldwide

And, as the video describes, we acknowledge the complexity dynamics of this challenge and the need to engage participation from Subject Matter Experts, lateral thinkers, and Citizen Stakeholders as we develop approaches to food deserts.

If you are interested in developing solutions for this issue, please get in touch with us today!