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A Healthy Mix?

Health-Food Retail and Mixed-Use Development- Mobility-related Analysis of Grocery-Shopping Behavior in Irvine, California


Benjamin Heldt

Mixed-use developments are one of the means planners use to realize land-use changes required by SB375 to encounter climate change. The mix of land uses is intended to reduce distances between activities. However, for their economic viability, such projects require specialty retail as anchor tenants which draw a special customer base that may be willing to travel far. Consequently, specialty may contradict a mixed-use development’s intention to reduce traffic. This research looks into the spatial behavior of the customers of a health-food store that is located at the mixed-use development «Park Place» in Irvine, CA. Using a POS-intercept survey and GIS, the author found that regular health-food shoppers indeed travel significantly farther distances than occasional health-food shoppers.


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This research emerged from my exchange semester at the University of California, Irvine which was funded by the Network for European-United States Regional and Urban Studies (NEURUS). It is therefore intended to contribute to the knowledge exchange between the United States and Europe in the field of urban planning. With this research I have finished my study program in Geography at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Several persons contributed to this research and as some of them do not even know how much they helped me, I want to acknowledge them here. First of all, I would like to thank Kathrin Pätzold (now Klementz) who inspired me to do this research and was always there if I needed really good advice. I appreciate her geographic knowledge and kindness and also her willingness to talk to me on the phone at night over thousands of kilometers. Second, I want to thank my parents and Randy Deshazo who brought up the main ideas of this research, although they do not know it. Third, I would like to thank the NEURUS members, in particular, Scott Bollens, Elmar Kulke, and Peter Dannenberg who also gave me advice and who supported me in the U.S. and at home. I am also very thankful for the valuable help and the time dedicated to my research by Stephanie Keys and Deborah Rubino. Fourth, I would like to thank Ijing (for dancing), Blair (for her friendship), Eliza- beth (for delicious chocolate and Randy) and Janet (for her...

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