Saturday, January 11, 2020

Is this Transit Oriented Development (TOD) ?

Aerial footage of the Maeklong Rail Market, Thailand. Captured by the talented Demas Rusli ( Instagram, Twitter).

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Plotting the metropolitan areas of Brazil in R

Here is a simple R script to download the shape files of Brazilian metropolitan areas by year and plot them in R.

obs. It's important to note that, since the 1988, metro areas are created by state governments. As a rule, this is done with absolutely no transparency nor any technical criteria. It is this legal issue, rather than the urbanization process in the country itself, that led to such an inflated increase in the number of metro areas in the country over the past two decades.

Number of metro areas in Brazil:
1970: 9
2001: 24 
2018: 77

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Procrastination is not about productivity

Procrastination is “a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, self-doubt”. At its core, it’s about emotions, not productivity. 

This is from this brilliant article written by Charlotte Lieberman for the NYT, probably the best piece on procrastination I’ve ever read.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Building up or spreading out? Urban growth across 478 cities

New paper by the Seto Lab in collaboration with Anjali Mahendra (who is also onTwitter).

Mahtta, R., Mahendra, A., & Seto, K. C. (2019). Building up or spreading out? Typologies of urban growth across 478 cities of 1 million+. Environmental Research Letters, 14(12), 124077.

Urban form in both two- (2D) and three-dimensions (3D) has significant impacts on local and global environments. Here we developed the largest global dataset characterizing 2D and 3D urban growth for 478 cities with populations of one million or larger. Using remote sensing data from the SeaWinds scatterometer for 2001 and 2009, and the Global Human Settlement Layer for 2000 and 2014, we applied a cluster analysis and found five urban growth typologies: stabilized, outward, mature upward, budding outward, upward and outward. Budding outward is the dominant typology worldwide, per the largest total area. Cities characterized by upward and outward growth are few in number and concentrated primarily in China and South Korea, where there has been a large increase in high-rises during the study period. With the exception of East Asia, cities within a geographic region exhibit remarkably similar patterns of urban growth. Our results show that every city exhibits multiple urban growth typologies concurrently. Thus, while it is possible to describe a city by its dominant urban growth typology, a more accurate and comprehensive characterization would include some combination of the five typologies. The implications of the results for urban sustainability are multi-fold. First, the results suggest that there is considerable opportunity to shape future patterns of urbanization, given that most of the new urban growth is nascent and low magnitude outward expansion. Second, the clear geographic patterns and wide variations in the physical form of urban growth, within country and city, suggest that markets, national and subnational policies, including the absence of, can shape how cities grow. Third, the presence of different typologies within each city suggests the need for differentiated strategies for different parts of a single city. Finally, the new urban forms revealed in this analysis provide a first glimpse into the carbon lock-in of recently constructed energy-demanding infrastructure of urban settlements.

ps. The image below was taken from the WRI report that originated the paper.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Friday, December 13, 2019

The mobility patterns of historically notable individuals

A new study using Natural Language Processing techniques to retrieve historical information from Wikipedia and analyze the spatial mobility patterns of historically notable individuals. A nice and inventive method to study historical mobility patterns. Science can be incredible and fun. (HT Marco De Nadai)

image credit: Lucchini et al 2019

Thursday, December 5, 2019

How much time do we spend with other people as we grow old?

A couple of years ago, I posted this chart showing how much time we spend with other people as we grow old. The chart was created by Henrik Lindberg using data from the America Time Use Survey, and the code to recreate this chart in R is available here.

p.s It's my birthday today and birthdays are always a good moment to reflect about life :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

geobr v1.1 is on CRAN

Good news! The new version of geobr v1.1 has been published on CRAN.

The geobr package in R is probably the easiest and fastest way to download shapefiles and official spatial data sets of Brazil. The package includes a wide range of geospatial data available at various geographic scales and for various years with harmonized attributes, projection and topology.

You can find a simple tutorial on how to use the package here.

The new release of geobr v1.1 includes 19 data sets:
  1. country
  2. region
  3. state
  4. meso region
  5. micro region
  6. intermediate region
  7. immediate region 
  8. municipality
  9. weighting area 
  10. census tract 
  11. statistical grid
  12. urban areas
  13. health facilities
  14. indigenous land
  15. conservation units 
  16. biomes
  17. legal Amazon 
  18. semiarid
  19.  disaster risk areas

Friday, November 29, 2019

Awarded research on historical inequality in Brazil

I am very proud to share that my friend and colleague at Ipea Pedro Souza has been awarded the Prêmio Jabuti for his book 'A History of Inequality: the concentration of top incomes in Brazil between 1926-2013'. The Prêmio Jabuti (the "Tortoise Prize") is the most prestigious literary award in the country. The book is based on his PhD thesis, which has already received two national awards btw.

If you read Portuguese, you can buy Pedro's book here, or download his PhD thesis here. There is a paper in English summarizing some of the key findings of his research. I've also posted the English abstract of his thesis below.

Souza, Pedro H. G. F. de. “A desigualdade vista do topo : a concentração de renda entre os ricos no Brasil, 1926-2013”, 12 de setembro de 2016.

This dissertation uses income tax tabulations to estimate top income shares over the long-run for Brazil. Between 1926 and 2013, the concentration of income at the top of the distribution combined stability and change, diverging from the European and American patterns in the 20th century. Contrary to benign industrialization and modernization theories, there was no overarching, long-term trend. Most of the time the income share of the top 1% of the adult population fluctuated within a 20%--25% range, even in recent years. Still, top income shares had temporary yet significant ups and downs which largely coincided with the country's most important political cycles. The top 1% income share increased during the Estado Novo and World War II, then declined in the early post-war years and even more so in the second half of the 1950s. The 1964 coup d'état reversed that trend and income inequality rose back to post-war levels after a few years of military rule. The 1970s were marked by instability, but top income shares surged again in the 1980s. The share of the 1% then decreased somewhat in the 1990s and perhaps the mid-2000s. There were no real changes since then. In addition, this dissertation analyzes the concentration of income among the rich, provides international comparisons of top income shares, and contrasts the income tax series with estimates from household surveys. The income tax series are also used to compute “corrected” Gini coefficients which take into account the underestimation of top incomes in household surveys. The major research questions are comparative and historically oriented, and I argue in favor of an institutional interpretation of the results. The motivation for and implications of this approach are presented in the more theoretical chapters that precede the empirical analysis. In these chapters, I engage with the history of ideas about inequality and social stratification and highlight the long and heterogeneous tradition of studies about the rich and the wealthy. My main argument is that the academic and political concern with distributional issues flourishes when inequality is conceived in binary or dichotomous terms.