Here’s my latest scheme for
local civic work, connected to the Prince
George’s Information Commons. We would train young people to rate local food
sources (both shops and restaurants) for healthiness. We would then generate an
online map of the healthiest places in the community to buy food. This map would
be our direct public service. Meanwhile, we would use the data in combination
with local health statistics to test these hypotheses:
- It is good
for your health to live near a source of healthy food.
- It is bad for your
health to live near a source of unhealthy food.
- It is bad for your health
to live near no food sources (because then you have to drive and don’t get exercise).
doubt, healthy food outlets tend to locate near healthy populations, so we’d have
to be careful before drawing the conclusion that the presence of a health-food
store explains the good health of its neighborhood. But with the appropriate
statistical controls, we might discover that the availability of various kinds
of food does matter for healthand that would be useful for planners to know.