The USDA Economic Research Service’s Food Environment Atlas and Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America provide a wealth of data on health issues and determinants (causes). Boasting an easy-to use interface the Food Environment Atlas deals with a very wide range of issues including grocery store access, restaurant expenditures, food assistance, food insecurity, food prices, local foods, health and physical activity information (e.g. obesity, fitness facilities), and socioeconomic characteristics. There is online documentation and data can be downloaded in Excel format.
The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America adds even more information about people, jobs, the character of agricultural production, and levels of urbanization. Again documentation is available and data can be downloaded.
As blogs have proliferated some have begun to deal with health and places. Below I list a sampling of the range of such sites, many dealing with health issues as part of a larger interest in topics such as urban development or housing. They are in alphabetical order.
|From State of the Planet blog
Healthy Cities (http://healthyurbanplanning.blogspot.com/) is the blog of Jason Corburn, a faculty member at Berkeley. It focuses on highlighting resources such as reports and statistics and has an international flavor.
) is maintained by Robert Neuwirth. Neuwirth is journalist and author of Shadow Cities
, a 2006 book based on a total of two years of living in four different squatter settlements. My undergraduate students find it a compelling read. Neuwirth’s blog deals with a wide range of issues about urban settlements.
State of the Planet (http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu) is a compilation of blogs from the Earth Institute at Columbia University. It is by far the most elaborate in this list with fancy graphics, multiple contributors, and obviously represents a lot of staff time. It has a useful keyword search.
Walk Score, the blog
) builds off the popularity of the walkscore tool. In the main web site an automated calculation based on destinations such as shops. As an expert on pedestrian planning I think this is oversimplified but the tool itself is fun and the blog is a mix of example results and tips about using the scoring (e.g. how to customize scores).
Other web resources about health and places are available at: http://designforhealth.net/blogs-about-health-and-places/