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Using geographic theory and data to understand food environments

December 6, 2019
3:30 p.m.
Broad Auditorium, Pepper Center
636 West Call St.

The Department of Geography presents a talk by Michael Widener, Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto Department of Geography and Planning: "Using time geographic theory, GPS trajectories, and time-use data to understand food environments."

The ubiquity of GPS enabled devices and other location-sensing technologies has revolutionized how geographers and health researchers design and execute studies exploring the links between the built environment and healthy behaviours. While these new data sources provide high resolution and dynamic information about movements and exposures, their use is often applied without a critical assessment of their strengths, limitations and connection to geographic theory.

Given this, Widener will propose a revisiting of core theories from time and transportation geographies and link these to research on food shopping and dietary behaviours. I use data from our recent Food Activities, Socioeconomics, Time-use, and Transportation (FASTT) Study, which collected seven days of GPS, health, dietary, and time-use data in two neighbourhoods in Toronto, Canada. Examples from the FASTT Study are used to demonstrate the exciting potential of linking time and transportation geographies to everyday health behaviors.

A valuable lecture for faculty and students in Geographic Information Science, Urban and Regional Planning and Public Health.