Spatial Dynamics of the Local Food Environment in the City of Chicago: An Investigation of Data Sources and Methods

Michael D Bader, University of Michigan
Jennifer A Ailshire, University of Michigan

Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of the local ecological environment on individual health outcomes. Data collection and analysis methods, however, need to be developed in order to extend our understanding about the mechanisms through which the local ecological environment contributes to individual health. In this paper we present a promising form of ecological data collection by combining commercial and observational data in addition to methodological innovations for analysis of these innovative data. We adapt the geostatistical method of kriging used in environmental and material sciences to demonstrate how the spatial autocorrelation of observations in the social environment can be used to derive accurate estimates of contextual variables from a relatively small sample of blocks in the city of Chicago. We use these estimates to measure the effect of the local ecological environment on individual health behaviors. Implications for data collection and spatial analysis are discussed.

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Presented in Session 128: Spatial Dimensions of Local Processes