PAS Memo

PAS Memo is an online newsletter published six times a year that reaches thousands of practitioners through APA's Planning Advisory Service.

About PAS Memo

Today's planners need to stay informed about innovative strategies and techniques for a wide range of planning topics.

PAS Memo delivers this information to you. It highlights current cutting-edge topics — such as green roofs and climate change adaptation — while providing the latest findings and best practices in classic planning areas such as stormwater management and housing affordability.

PAS Memo is written by practicing planners and experts in the field eager to share their expertise through illuminating case studies. Each article provides a list of links to online resources for planners who want to dig deeper.

PAS Memo is available to Planning Advisory Service subscribers only.

Current Issue

November/December 2015

Community Food System Assessments

Has your community been diagnosed with a "food desert"? Food desert mapping, which uses proximity to a supermarket to rate residents' access to food, has attracted much media attention since it was introduced in the mid-2000s. But planners should know that this simplistic approach falls short of truly identifying and understanding the complexity of food access issues a community may face.

In contrast, a community food system assessment provides a more comprehensive tool to identify the assets and barriers for a community's food system. Conducted at the neighborhood, city, or even regional level, this assessment tool offers a systems approach that provides planners with ways to identify issues and solutions, engage the community, and inform policy making.

This month's PAS Memo addresses the limitations of the food desert concept and provides guidance for planners on conducting a community food system assessment. Examples of assessments, resources, and a case study of Buffalo, New York, are also included to demonstrate how various communities have used this tool.

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Previous Editions

Access the archive of previous issues of PAS Memo. Beginning March/April 2015, also download issues in PDF format.

Previous Editions

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