Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Grocery Stores: Neighborhood Retail or Urban Panacea? Exploring the Intersections of Federal Policy, Community Health, and Revitalization in Bayview Hunters Point and West Oakland, California
by Elias, Renee Roy, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2013, 150; 3616545
Abstract (Summary)

Throughout the nation, grocery retailers are reentering underserved communities amidst growing public awareness of food deserts and the rise of federal, state, and local programs incentivizing urban grocery stores. And yet, even with expanding research on food deserts and their public health impacts, there is still a lack of consensus on whether grocery stores truly offer the best solution. Furthermore, scholars and policymakers alike have limited understandings of the broader neighborhood implications of grocery stores newly introduced into underserved urban communities.

This dissertation analyzes how local organizations and agencies pursue grocery development in order to understand the conditions for success implementation. To do this, I examine the historical drivers, planning processes, and outcomes of two extreme cases of urban grocery development: a Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market (a chain value store) in San Francisco's Bayview Hunters Point and the Mandela Foods Cooperative (a worker-owned cooperative) in Oakland's West Oakland districts.

Through a comparative institutional analysis, I find that both Fresh and Easy and Mandela Foods reflect distinctive neighborhood revitalization legacies, critical moments of institutional capacity building, localized versions of national policy narratives, and the role of charismatic leaders in grocery store implementation. While national narratives shape the rhetoric of urban grocery development, ultimately local context dictates how food access issues are defined, who addresses them, and how. These findings suggest that federal grocery incentive programs should: 1) maintain a broad framework that enables local communities to define food access problems and their solutions on a case-by-case basis, 2) encourage diverse solutions not limited to grocery stores and supermarkets, and 3) emphasize community reinvestment goals.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Corburn, Jason
Commitee: Chapple, Karen, Hutson, Malo, Weir, Margaret
School: University of California, Berkeley
Department: City & Regional Planning
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public policy, Social structure, Urban planning
Keywords: Community health, Federal policy, Food deserts, Grocery stores, Urban revitalization
Publication Number: 3616545
ISBN: 978-1-303-83393-9
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