Access to quality food is vital to the health of a neighborhood. The absence of affordable, quality food can lead to increased rates of obesity, diabetes and hypertension and is not always due to low market demand. The food that is most accessible to many of the focus study neighborhoods comes from fast food restaurants and gas stations that lack fresh fruits and vegetables. Lack of access to quality food further decreases the viability and sustainability of a community. Vacant lots can provide opportunities for local food production that can connect residents to healthy food choices and nutritional education. Of all the focus neighborhoods, only East Price Hill falls within a walkable quarter mile of a full service grocery.
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Limited access to traditional banking and financial services has long been a barrier to wealth creation in marginalized neighborhoods. This lack of access often translates to higher costs for basic financial transactions. Lack of access to savings and the increased costs related to predatory financial centers, increases the cycle of poverty and diminished quality of life. None of the focus neighborhoods fall within a walkable quarter mile of a traditional financial institution.
Lack of access to a personal vehicle can make it much more difficult to accomplish many of life’s everyday tasks. Sole dependency on public transportation can limit opportunities for employment and drastically increase the time needed for grocery shopping, banking, and recreation. These quality of life issues can provide some focus for the rehabilitation of vacant lots insofar as they can be used to increase access and mobility for neighborhood residents via biking and walking trails that connect strings of vacancies.
Neighborhoods with more than 30% of households without access to personal vehicle:
South Fairmount (37%)
Many of the focus study neighborhoods lack adequate indoor plumbing and kitchen services. The lack of adequate kitchen services compounds the issue of access to quality food by decreasing the ability of a family to produce fresh, nutritious home-cooked meals. Inadequate plumbing facilities are defined as lacking either hot or cold piped water, a bath- tub or shower, or a flush toilet. Perhaps vacant lots can provide a neighborhood with the opportunity for communal kitchens and shower facilities in order to help meet some of the basic needs of community members.
Neighborhoods with more than 25% of households lacking adequate plumbing or kitchen:
North Fairmount (47%)
South Fairmount (28%)