Newest interactive tool helps communities evaluate supermarket needs. On August 2, 2019, the Department of City Planning launched the Supermarket Needs Index, a new interactive online map that shows fresh food store access across New York City. The map highlights which neighborhoods are underserved or lacking grocery store options.
The Index is based on a variety of factors like a concentration of stores, walkability, access to vehicles and the number of families with children in poverty. The map highlights areas by low, medium and high need. The Index will help communities, supermarket operators and policy researchers to evaluate the needs of an area. The Index also highlights stores that participate in the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program. The FRESH program provides zoning and financial incentives to support the creation of grocery stores in underserved communities.
According to DCP, FRESH projects have provided almost 860,000 square feet of new or renovated grocery store space throughout the city and have created 600 new jobs with another projected 900 jobs at FRESH locations currently under construction.
DCP Director Marisa Lago stated, “Existing FRESH locations are literally bearing fruit and vegetables! This new digital tool empowers communities to directly assess their need for fresh food retailers – and then advocate for FRESH designation. The FRESH program works, so DCP is especially pleased to be working with the Deputy Mayor’s Office and the City Council to make FRESH even better, ensuring that more families have easy access to good, healthy food.”
Currently, city planners and economic experts are working with City Council members to evaluate the effectiveness of the FRESH program and how it can be improved. DCP plans to work with elected officials and other stakeholders to develop effective strategies for improving and expanding the FRESH program.
To view the interactive map, click here.
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018.)