Wednesday, October 31, 2012

CAMUSS Symposium

For those interested in cellular automata models, you may watch a live broadcast of the CAMUSS* Symposium (November 8–10) here.

*Camuss - International Symposium on Cellular Automata Modeling for Urban and Spatial Systems

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chart of the Day

As a general rule, urbanization goes hand in hand with economic growth. But general rules are made to be broken. This chart was taken from the latest World Development Report (2013 p.53).

[Image Credit: The Economist]

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Global forecasts of urban expansion

A cutting edge study by Karen C. Seto (Yale) and others on urban growth projections around the world and some of its environmental impacts (via  Urbanization Project). Read a briefing of the study here or here.

"[...] despite projections that world urban populations will increase to nearly 5 billion by 2030, little is known about future locations, magnitudes, and rates of urban expansion. Here we develop spatially explicit probabilistic forecasts of global urban land-cover change and explore the direct impacts on biodiversity hotspots and tropical carbon biomass. If current trends in population density continue and all areas with high probabilities of urban expansion undergo change, then by 2030, urban land cover will increase by 1.2 million km2, nearly tripling the global urban land area circa 2000."

Immigration policy in the UK

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quote of the day

"You tell me the size of any city in the United States and I can tell you with 80 to 90 percent accuracy almost everything about it. The scaling laws tell you that despite all of the efforts of planners, geographers, economists, architects, and politicians, and all of the local history, geography, and culture, somehow cities end up having to obey these scaling laws. We need to be aware of those forces when we design and redesign cities." (Geoffrey West)

Soundtrack for the weekend: Jazz for Cows

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oxford short-course on Sustainable Transport

Spread the words!

From March 2013, the University of Oxford is launching a short-course programme in sustainable transport - Global Challenges in Transport Programme (more info here).

The programme offers 6 intensive, 4-day residential courses covering a range of topics:
  • New Technologies and Changing Behaviours;
  • Governance, Policy and Local Delivery;
  • Global Networks and Logistics;
  • Infrastructure, Development and Finance;
  • Health, Wellbeing and Urban Mobility; and
  • Energy and Climate Change.

Needless to say it sounds a great opportunity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Immigration and regional inequality in Brazil

A new paper by Irineu and Leo Monasterio. Congrats!

Immigration and the origins of regional inequality: Government-sponsored European migration to southern Brazil before World War I.


This paper studies the long-term consequences of the government-sponsored programs of European immigration to Southern Brazil before the Great War. We find that the municipalities closer to the original sites of nineteenth century government sponsored settlements (colônias) have higher per capita income, less poverty and dependence on Bolsa Família cash transfers, better health and education outcomes; and for the areas close to German colonies, also less inequality of income and educational outcomes than otherwise. Since that is a reduced form relationship, we then attempt to identify the relative importance of more egalitarian landholdings and higher initial human capital in determining those outcomes. Our findings are suggestive that more egalitarian land distribution played a more important role than higher initial human capital in achieving the good outcomes associated with closeness to a colônia.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Short talks on Longevity and Prospective age

A short talk on Longevity by Sarah Harper (Oxford).

This reminds me to mention the concept of "prospective age" by Sanderson and Scherbov (2005, 2010). Some countries are actually rejuvenating! Here is a five-minute talk by Scherbov on the topic.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Urban Picture

Shibuya (Tokyo) in 1952 (via PD Smith)

...and today

Monday, October 8, 2012

Charter Cities (and Paul Romer) in 15 min.

Alex Tabarrok summarizes in 15 min. the contribution of Paul Romer to Development Economics and his idea about the Charter Cities.

related link: Honduran charter cities in troubled muddy waters (here and here)

Digital records of life-space

In Germany, Malte Spitz asked his cell phone carrier what it knew about him. After some unanswered requests and a lawsuit , he received 35,830 lines of code -- a detailed account of six months of his life. You can watch the video below and 'browse' through it here.

The little concern I'd have about our digital traces being used for totalitarian purposes gets somewhat overshadowed by the overwhelming number of studies it opens.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Counting the World: documentary by UNFPA

Counting the World is a not so new documentary produced by UNFPA. The film documents the many stages of the census process in five different countries: Chad, Bolivia, Indonesia, Belarus and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  (via John Weeks)

4-minute trailer (or 21-minute version)