UCL Grand Challenges


The suburban food basket

The role of spatial setting and social context in providing access to healthy food

The suburban food basket

1 October 2012


Grant: Grand Challenges Small Grants
Year awarded: 2012-13
Amount awarded: £5,000


  • Shaun Scholes, Institute of Epidemiology & Health, Population Health Sciences
  • Laura Vaughan, Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, The Bartlett/Built Environment

Dr Shaun ScholesProf Jenny Mindell and Prof Laura Vaughan explore how the availability and costs of healthy food baskets vary across spatial location, socio-economic position, and religion or culture in Borehamwood.

Access to healthy food is a basic prerequisite for health. Access depends on availability (retailers’ location, food options sold, prices) and people’s ability to travel there and back. This research investigates the role of spatial setting and social context in providing access to healthy food. The important influence of other destinations and of cultural preferences can be overlooked when defining likely destinations for transport planning.

Findings suggest that in promoting healthy eating and shopping habits amongst certain groups, an understanding of the spatial synergies in daily routines is an important aspect to consider.

Outputs and Impacts

Scholes, S; Vaughan, L; Dhanani, A; Boniface, S; Mindell, J; (2014) The importance of co-location and culture in determining destinations for transport planning: a case study of access to a suburban healthy food basket. Presented at: Transport Research Board (Subcommittee on Health and Transportation), Washington, D.C., USA.