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Urban Food Environment Research: How time, movement, and (sometimes) big data are transforming the study of food shopping in cities

Event Type
Department of Geography & GIS
2049 Natural History Building
Oct 21, 2022   3:00 pm  
Dr. Michael J. Widener, University of Toronto - St. George
This event is free and open to public
Originating Calendar
Geography and Geographic Information Science

The proliferation of high-resolution geographic data with temporal attributes has led researchers in quantitative human geography to be increasingly interested in spatiotemporal dynamics. While geographic theories integrating data describing space and time have been around for over half a century, many geographers still struggle to collect and meaningfully engage with time use information. My entry into this discussion is through the subfield of quantitative health geography, which commonly focuses on understanding how the built environment influences behaviours that impact health and well-being. Here, there has been a recent turn to the use of individual-level spatiotemporal data, such as GPS-derived trajectories, to generate more complex representations of spatial exposure and access. However, this literature often overlooks the fact that a person’s movements are inextricably linked to their time use and temporal constraints. Put simply, our geography impacts our time use, and our time use impacts our geography. In this talk, I will review how researchers can merge theories and methods from time use research and geography to capture the ways underlying spatiotemporal constraints drive behaviours. Examples from a recent study using linked time use diaries and GPS trajectory data will be used to illustrate this approach. Lastly, two additional projects will be teased that use big data to further expand our ability to study and understand an individual's interactions with the food environment.

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