Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Food Desert Caravan Charette This Saturday

Project Brief from Architecture for Humanity, Chicago Chapter:

Food Desert Caravan 

Project Partner
Food Desert Action

A July 2006 study sheds light on a major facet of community disinvestment in Chicago’s African-Americancommunities: the lack of grocery stores. The study examines the phenomenon of “food deserts,” described as “communities with little or no access to grocery stores and quality, nutritious food choices.”

Roughly one in six Chicago residents lives in a food desert. The report demonstrated statistically significant relationships between food access and diet-related disease, including diabetes and obesity, and premature death.

A significant part of the cost and risk in grocery retail lies in real estate. This involves tremendous cost, and is an irreversible decision once made. Minimizing the real estate aspect of the business could reduce start-up costs and lower risk for a new enterprise.

Project Description and Goals
The Food Desert Caravan is a proposal for a mobile store, built in a retrofitted city transit bus, to restore urban food access. The Caravan will focus on providing fresh produce.

Parameters and Design Considerations
• Chicago Transit Authority accordion-like bus
• Four season operation
• Green, sustainable and energy efficient technologies (i.e., bio-diesel fuel, solar-powered sound system, reused materials, etc.)
• Appropriate shelving, refrigeration and storage for produce
• Accessible/universal design
• Storage area for packaged pre-ordered produced boxes/bags
• Space for income generating signage/advertisements
• Easy loading and unloading produce
• Space for point of purchase area
• Area for educational and promotional materials
• Speedy Construction (easily replicated)

Conceptual Design Charette, 8am-12pm, Saturday December 5, 2009
Location: MacArthur Foundation, 140 S. Dearborn, Suite 1700

Geoff Malia

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