Food Environment Foodscapes Health System Change Urban food systems

South London’s Changing Foodscape

It’s been five hours since lunch, you’re running for the train and your stomach is rumbling! You must eat but the only thing in sight is fast food. It’s not ideal and certainly not healthy, but it does the trick until you get home for dinner.

This is a familiar scenario for many of us urban dwellers. It’s a prime example of how the decisions we make are not always conscious. If this is the case, then what is really influencing our decisions around the food we eat?

Emerging research in food systems and decision making suggests education and “nudging” incentives are often diluted in complex urban environments and are rarely enough to induce behavior change.

Given our own recent study of foodscapes in South London, we’ve found that people’s food choices seem to be dictated by the time of day, their current experience and the environments that they are passing through. We call this the ‘Bermuda Triangle’, and it indicates that there are multiple layers of influence in our decision making. Given our study findings, this ‘Bermuda Triangle’ may hold greater influence over our food choices that we consciously recognize.

Read the rest of our Gehl Blog post here.

Together with Sophia Schuff (Urban Anthropologist) and Jeff Risom (Chief Innovation Officer) from Gehl urban design consultancy, I am putting together a series of blog posts on urban design and foodscapes.

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