The Purpose of My Research

For many years, Larimer, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, has faced issues of food insecurity revolving around deficiencies in the built environment. Government action and projects neglected Larimer, while improving nearby areas considerably. Meeting with longtime members of Larimer brought my research to life. The purpose of my research is to address and examine the built environment of Larimer, to evaluate the feasibility of a food-oriented business venture, through a teachable and publishable case study. The built environment can be defined as the design, density, public transportation, and walkability of a community. Each of these aspects shape the business environment, and thus impact the employment opportunities available, property value, and general commercial exposure, all of which are important determinants in quality of life. To accomplish this research, a fundamental understanding of Larimer’s business environment and communal experience is necessary. To build my knowledge of the community, I have and will be meeting with long-time members of the community, and community groups like the Larimer Consensus Group, Flourish, Local Dutch and Food21.

Food insecurity has been a continual problem in the Larimer community, and the supply-chain related premiums resulting from the recent pandemic have worsened the already challenging food environment of Larimer. Thus far, I have been working with Professor Audrey Murrell, Professor Ray Jones, Professor Barry Mitnick, and members of Flourish, Food21, and Local Dutch, to better understand the business-community relationship and it’s importance in establishing a successful, low-risk business venture. Larimer is uniquely impacted by a food insecurity issue, which is exacerbated by poverty and unemployment. Pittsburgh has nearly double the national percentage of residents in below the poverty line, meaning the issues of food insecurity in Larimer are likely underestimated, given poverty magnifies the impact of food insecurity. (U.S Census) The built environment’s impact on commercial exposure in Larimer restricts the influx of new businesses, and thus the economic viability of the residents, limiting their choice in food, transportation, and housing.

Given I intend to enter the worlds of either consulting or law, examining the feasibility of a business venture through an environmental, communal, and commercial analysis builds my ability to research, and create insights through otherwise static data. These skills will be hugely helpful in policy analysis, and determining the impact of legislation on communities. The ability to derive solutions from experiential research like interviews and seminars is a valuable trait that will help in both analysis and best-practice recommendations in the consulting industry.

The findings of my research will be presented through a structured, compelling case study, that will stoke internal dialogue in the reader, and stimulate self-discovery of the major integrated themes in the study. The reader should develop their own perspective on the compelling pressures involved in the situation, and the content will have perspectives for the reader to side with.

U.S. Census Bureau quickfacts: Pittsburgh City, Pennsylvania. (n.d.). Retrieved June 25, 2022, from

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