Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Measuring exposure to air pollution using mobile phone data

Tijs Neutens and colleagues have a new paper where they use mobile phone data to assess people's exposure to air pollution in Belgium in high spatio-temporal resolution. Some of you might be interested (via GAUMAS).

Dewulf, B., et al. (2016). Dynamic assessment of exposure to air pollution using mobile phone data. International journal of health geographics, 15(1), 1.

image credit: Dewulf, et al. (2016)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Urban Picture

Obs. I will away for the next couple of weeks, but I'll try to stay active on twitter.

Venice and other incredible cities from above

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Biographical note: moving to Cambridge

In the next few weeks I will be moving to Cambridge, or as we say here in Oxford: 'The Other Place' :)

My wife will undertake a one-year Masters degree there while I finish my PhD. I will probably spend most of my time stuck in libraries writing papers and dissertation, but of course I would be happy to have some social live and beer as well.

If you're in Cambridge, feel free to drop me a line to get a beer/coffee and chat about life and everything else. In case you have insomnia problems, I would be glad to help, talking you through my doctoral research on transportation equity, distributive justice, socio-spatial inequalities in cities, transport accessibility modeling and sports mega-events.

King's College Chapel

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Using Computer Vision to Measure the Quality and Impact of Urban Appearance

Interesting paper on computer vision & urban economics, by Cesar Hidalgo and colleagues. Ungated version here.

Naik, N., Raskar, R., & Hidalgo, C. A. (2016). Cities Are Physical Too: Using Computer Vision to Measure the Quality and Impact of Urban AppearanceThe American Economic Review, 106(5), 128-132.

For social scientists, developing an empirical connection between the physical appearance of a city and the behavior and health of its inhabitants has proved challenging due to a lack of data on urban appearance. Can we use computers to quantify urban appearance from street-level imagery? We describe Streetscore: a computer vision algorithm that measures the perceived safety of streetscapes. Using Streetscore to evaluate 19 American cities, we find that the average perceived safety has a strong positive correlation with population density and household income; and the variation in perceived safety has a strong positive correlation with income inequality.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Message of the Day

How equal do we want the world to be? You'd be surprised

This is the question Norton and Ariely try to answer in their paper 'Building a better America - One wealth quintile at a time'. This is a relatively old paper by now, but still central to debates on economic/social policy, and it's a really good paper anyway.

Here is the TED talk summarising the study.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Aggregate homeownership rates for different countries

Quartz has an interesting piece on why most Germans prefer renting instead of buying their homes. (via Simon Kuestenmache). The data in this chart is a bit outdated but homeownership rate was still relatively low in Germany in 2013, at 43%. In Brazil, this rate was 75% in the year 2011.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Most popular R packages in the tweetosphere

David Robinson has done a great work scraping twitter data to find the most popular packages in R based on the #7FavPackages hashtag.

My personal take: a lot of people don't know what they're missing out with the package data.table, which I would place in top1 in my list.

In short, data.table has extremely simple syntax and unprecedented speed when working with large datasets (it takes me just a few seconds to generate several aggregated columns from a dataset with ~200 million rows).

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Top 10 Craziest Intersections

Oh, humans and our monstrous creativity to deal with self-inflicted problems.

ps.the magic roundabout (3:40min) is definitely one of my favourites.