Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Urban Picture

Paris, see you tomorrow.

[image credit:]

Quote of the day

“All models are wrong but some are useful.” (George E. P. Box)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Modeling Complex Systems for Public Policies Call for consultants

Spread the Words!

The Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) – a Brazilian think-tank linked to the government – is making a request for proposals for eight IDB consultants to contribute with chapters to a book on Complex Systems applied to Public Policies.

Here are the 8 topics:
  1. Complexity methods in education
  2. Complexity methods applied to transport planning
  3. Complexity theory in applied policy worldwide
  4. Cities as complex objects
  5. Economy as a complex object
  6. Society as a complex object
  7. Methods and methodologies of complex systems’ modeling
  8. Complex Systems: concepts, literature, possibilities and limitations

The deadline for submission of entries is April 15. Details below and here.

obs. I've worked at Ipea for more than 5 years and I know some of the people leading the project. I can tell it is awesome to work with them and this is a great opportunity to expand the impact of complexity studies to policy applications.

On one hand, the project aims at pushing forward the modeling frontier, its methodologies and applications for the case of Brazil. On the other hand, the project pursues actual improvement on the understanding of public policies’ mechanisms and effects, through complex systems’ tools and concepts.

The book encompasses five broad themes: (1) concepts and methods; (2) computational tools; (3) public policy phenomena as complex systems (specifically: society, economics, ecology and cities); (4) applied examples in the world and its emergence in Brazil; and (5) possibilities of prognosis, scenarios and policy-effect analysis using complex systems tools.

The consultant is expected to deliver a proposed extended summary, a preliminary version to be discussed in a seminar in Brazil (July-September 2014) and the final version of the chapter.

[image credit: ? ]

Book Outline: Complex Systems and Public Policy
Complex systems in the context of this project are defined as systems in which a number of agents interact in a complex, non-linear manner and behavior emerges from simple rules. Simulation approach of these systems from a public policy perspective represents modeling relationships among citizens, firms, and institutions, bounded by regulatory measures, and spatial, political, and budgetary constraints. In sum, working with Complex Systems and Public Policies means creating experimental computational environments where relevant characteristics are formally described, and from which insights for policy improvement can be easily and low-costly evaluated.


PART I. Complexity: theory and methods
1. Complex systems: concepts, literature, possibilities and limitations
2. Methods and methodologies of complex systems’ modeling
3. Operating complex systems

PART II. Public policy objects and complex systems’ approach
4. Society as a complex object
5. Economy as a complex object
6. Cities as complex objects
7. Ecology as a complex object

PART III: Applied modeling of complex systems to public policies.
8. Complexity theory in applied policy worldwide
9. Applications for Brazil

PART IV: Applications: specific cases
10. Agent-based models applied to transport planning
11. Learning analytics and agent-based modeling in education
12. Evolutionary models for the analysis of the Legislative

PART V: Complex public policies
13. The relevance of multiple models, sectors, and scales for public policy analysis
14. Simulating: scenarios, prospection and impact analysis for public policy

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Making Maps with Google's Fusion Tables

Alasdair Rae explains here how he makes his maps using Google's Fusion Tables.

[image credit: Alasdair Rae]

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Exploring + Managing the Earth from the Sky

Yesterday, I attended a great presentation by Greg Asner at the School of Geography and the Environment (Oxf). He talked about this amazing project that uses cutting-edge technology to study ecological systems, biodiversity etc. The kind of work that makes census data and household surveys look like child toys.

He gave a similar presentation though much shorter at TED Talks last year. 

You may ask why I went to this presentation.. after all it's not much related to urban development, transport policies or demography. In the end, I think that some people are so good in what they do you can always learn something from them, no matter what their field of research/activity is. Besides, science is fun.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Brazil's Largest Metropolitan Economies (replay)

The Brookings Institute has published some economic snapshots of Brazil's largest metro areas (which 'rank among the world’s 300 largest metropolitan economies'). All profiles are available in English and in Brazilian Portuguese.

Related Link: The top metropolitan economy in the world in 2012 (Interactive)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Urban Picture

[image credit: ? ]

Monday, March 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

"A prudent question is one-half of wisdom." (Francis Bacon)