Wednesday, February 25, 2015

4th Global Conference on Economic Geography 2015, Oxford

The School of Geography and the Environment and The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford are organizing the 4th Global Conference on Economic Geography to be held in Oxford on 19-23 August, 2015. It promises to be a good event.

Graduate students outside Europe may apply for funding to attend the conference, here.

ps.  If you are coming to the conference and would like to have a chat over coffee or tea beer, drop me a line.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

An Agent-Based Simulation of the Urban Growth in Latin American cities

Barros, Joana (2012). Exploring urban dynamics in Latin American cities using an agent-based simulation approach. In Agent-based models of geographical systems (pp. 571-589). Springer Netherlands. [Ungated version here, and PhD Thesis here]

This paper focuses on a specific kind of urban growth that happens in Latin American cities, called 'Peripherisation'. This is characterised by the formation of low-income residential areas in the peripheral ring of the city and a perpetuation of a dynamic core-periphery spatial pattern. The dynamics of growth and change in Latin American cities are explored using agent-based simulation. The objective is to increase the understanding of urban spatial phenomena in Latin American cities, which is essential to providing a basis for future planning actions and policies. Simulation exercises were used to revisit assumptions about urbanisation issues in Latin American cities and investigate important aspects of growth and change in these cities. These exercises allowed the problem of urban growth in Latin American cities to be unfolded through their dynamics, relating these dynamics to urban morphology, and thus presenting a new and important perspective on the phenomenon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Finding networks of segregation through Big Data

Vinicius Netto and colleagues have written an interesting study where they explore metadata from Twitter users moving around the city and try to derive their networks of spatial behaviour and  segregation. The authors would be glad to receive comments on the study.

Digital footprints in the cityscape: Finding networks of segregation through Big Data

Segregation has been one of the most persistent features of cities and therefore one of the main research topics in social studies. From a tradition that can be traced back to the Chicago School in the early 20th century, social segregation has been seen as the natural consequence of the social division of space, reducing segregation territorial segregation and taking the space as a substitute for social distance. We propose a change in the focus of static segregation of places to as social segregation is played by embodied urban trajectories. We analysed trajectories of groups of social actors differentiated by income levels in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Firstly, we used metadata from Twitter users moving around the city to derive geographic coordinates and timestamp of tweets, and identified users’ origins and destinations. Then we crossed information on trajectories with socioeconomic data in order to see potential social networks according to income, assess their spatial behaviour and potential spaces of social convergence – a geography of the segregative / integrative potential of encounters. This approach is intended to recast the spatiality of segregation potentially active in the circumstances of social contact in the city rather than in static territories and patterns of residential location.

[image credit: Netto et al, 2015]

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Queen Of Code

I have never heard about Grace Hopper until recently. After watching this short documentary from FiveThirtyEight, I can't believe it took me so long to know her story.

Grace Hopper was a computing pioneer in a male-dominated field. She has also invented the world's first compiler. In my lay terms Compilers are what enables computers to understand humans when we code in programming languages (e.g. Python, R, Java, etc). This is something we may take for granted today, but she is the person who conceived this idea, which made possible the rapid spread of personal computers.

This documentary is an important piece of the history of computing and a truly inspirational story, specially for women interested in coding and computer science.

Related Link: Gender differences in each programming language 

ps. Grace has also been credited to have coined the term "computer bug" after finding a moth stuck inside Harvard's Mark II computer in 1947, hence the term "debug" for solving problems in computer code.

Grace Hopper in 1952 (image credit: Boing Boing)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Urban Picture

Highway #5, by Edward-Burtynsky. (click here for another angle, ht Carl Schmertmann)

This picture was taken in Los Angeles (USA) wherelse?


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Olympic transformations in Rio

A different Time-lapse showing some of the urban transformations going on in the city center of Rio due the Olympic Games of 2016. In this case, the video shows the implosion of an urban highway in Rio. There are other official videos documenting this and other investments in Rio here.

For a critical take on the Mega Events happening in Rio, I would recommend as a good read Christopher Gaffney's blog and Julia Michaels' blog.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

GDP and GDP per capita of European cities

This is from the ESPON Atlas, Mapping European Territorial Structure and Dynamics, where you may find many other interesting maps and figures (via Brilliant Maps).

GDP and GDP per capita of European cities

[image credit: ESPON Atlas]