Monday, August 13, 2018

Urban Picture

Barcelona at day and night, by the talented Henry Do (ht Architecture)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Assorted R Packages for Spatial Analysis

  1. RgeoProfile is an R package for carrying out geographic profiling - a technique derived from criminology that uses the spatial locations of linked crimes to infer the home location (or locations) from which the criminal is operating, by Steve LeComber

  2. rayshader is a package for producing hillshaded maps of elevation matrices with raytracing and spherical texture mapping, by Tyler Mogan.

  3. dodgr: fast calculations of pairwise distances on directed graphs in R, by Mark Padgham

  4. rmapshaper: a simple way to simplify shape files, by Andy Teucher

  5. rpostgis: Linking R with a PostGIS Spatial Database, by David Bucklin and Mathieu Basille

  6. osrmr: a wrapper around the OSRM API, a super fast routing engine for OpenStreetMaps, by Adrian Stämpfli-Schmid

  7. stplanr is a package providing various functions and data access for transport research, by Robin Lovelace. This is the core package underneath The Propensity to Cycle Tool

Monday, August 6, 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

PhD Thesis submitted !

After  4 years, 9 months and 18 days  quite some time, I have finally submitted my thesis to the Examination School of Oxford University. The thesis is entitled “Distributive Justice and Transportation Equity: Inequality in accessibility in Rio de Janeiro”. You can read the abstract below.

Thank you Christine Moore , Homero Paltán and Kevin Wheeler for being there for me, literally !

I will soon share the thesis manuscript. For now, here is the abstract:

   Public transport policies play a key role in shaping the social and spatial structure of cities. These policies influence how easily people can access opportunities, including health and educational services and job positions. The accessibility impacts of transport policies thus have important implications for social inequalities and for the promotion of just and inclusive cities. However, in the transportation literature, there is still little theoretically informed understanding of justice and what it means in the context of transport policies. Moreover, few studies have moved beyond descriptive analyses of accessibility inequalities to evaluate how much those inequalities result from transport policies themselves. This is particularly true in cities from the global South, where accessibility and equity have so far remained marginal concerns in the policy realm. 
   This thesis builds on theories of distributive justice and examines how they can guide the evaluation of transport policies and plans. It points to pathways for rigorous assessment of the accessibility impacts of transport policies and it contributes to current discussions on transportation equity. A justice framework is developed to assess the distributional effects of transport policies. This framework is then applied to evaluate recent transport policies developed in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in preparation to host sports mega-events, such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, which included substantial expansion of the rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) infrastructure. This research presents ex-post analyses of the policies implemented between 2014 and 2017 and ex-ante analysis of an as yet unfinished BRT project. It evaluates how the planned transport legacy of those mega-events impacted accessibility to sports venues, healthcare facilities, public schools and job opportunities for different income groups. 
   The results show that there were overall accessibility benefits from the expansion in transport infrastructure between 2014 and 2017, but these were generally offset by the reduction in bus service levels that followed an economic crisis that hit the city after the Olympics. Quasi-counterfactual analysis suggests that, even if the city had not been hit by the economic crisis, recent transport investments related to mega-events would have led to higher accessibility gains for wealthier groups and increased inequalities in access to opportunities. Results suggest that those investments had, or would have had, greater impact on inequalities of access to jobs than in access to schools and healthcare facilities. The evaluation of the future accessibility impacts of the unfinished BRT corridor, nonetheless, indicates that such project could significantly improve access to job opportunities for a large share of Rio’s population, particularly lower-income groups. Spatial analysis techniques show that the magnitude and statistical significance of these results depend on the spatial scale and travel time threshold selected for cumulative opportunity accessibility analysis. These results demonstrate that the ad-hoc methodological choices of accessibility analysis commonly used in the academic and policy literature can change the conclusions of equity assessments of transportation projects.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Mapping the diversity of population ageing across Europe with a ternary colour scheme

Ilya Kashnitsky and Jonas Schöley have recently published this correspondence in The Lancet where they show a very clever way to visualize the spatial heterogeneity of population age structures using choropleth map with ternary colour scheme. The data wrangling was done in R, and the code to replicate get the data and replicate the figure is available on Github.

Needless to say that, if you're interested in demography, R and data, you should be following the work and twitter accounts of Ilya and Jonas.

click on to image to enlarge it

image credit: Ilya Kashnitsky and Jonas Schöley.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tuk Tuk Uber

While I was in Dar es Salaam a few weeks ago, Manuel Santana drew my attention to these three-wheeler tuk tuks with "Uber" written at the back (photo below). At first, I thought that was just a marketing strategy or perhaps a funny joke. Little did I knew that those tuk tuks are regular service providers registered with Uber. This is quite telling of Uber's flexibility to adapt to the particularities of each local context (for better or worse).

ps. In case you're wondering, we didn't take Tuk Tuk Uber... We wouldn't be able to squeeze four people in a Tuk Tuk after dinner.

photo credit: Manuel Santana

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Friday, July 6, 2018

Chart of the day: The rich cultural diversity of 200 Years of US immigration

The accumulated history of US immigration visualized as rings in a growing tree trunk. The chart was created by Pedro M. Cruz and John Wihbey using IPUMS data. It's the first time I see migration data depicted in this way and it does a really terrific job drawing attention to composition diversity and population history.

UPDATE: Leah Boustan has just drawn my attention on Twitter for an important shortcoming of this cart. Leah has rightly pointed that:
"This graphic is great for visualizing changes in composition of immigrant flow to US over time but obscures dramatic fluctuations in magnitude. ~1 mil immigrants entered per year in 1910, down to 100k by 1930 — yet the concentric circles makes it seem like entry grows over time"

Thursday, July 5, 2018

TSU/Oxford is recruiting a Research Associate in Urban Mobility

The Transport Studies Unit (TSU / Oxford University) is recruiting a Research Associate in Urban Mobility to work on the PEAK Urban project. If you are interested on questions of transport accessibility, knowledge co-production*, transportation equity and everyday mobilities, you should take a closer look at the Job Details.

* participatory research in which local community members are involved as co-researchers.

This is a really exciting project working with Tim Schwanen (Twitter) in an extremely supportive environment with great colleagues in an excellent research center. I would jump at this opportunity if I could.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Quote of the Day: induced demand

“We assume that car use is an incompressible liquid that must be routed somewhere. But it’s more more like a gas that fills whatever space it's given.” Ian Lockwood, HT Taras Grescoe

Thursday, June 28, 2018

8th Anniversary of Urban Demographics Blog!

Just a few days ago, the Urban Demographics blog had its 8th Anniversary. I have reduced the activity in the blog quite a bit over the past year because I moved houses twice (from Oxford to Cambridge the other place, and then from the other place to Brasilia), and also because I've tried to procrastinate less focus on my thesis writing (more news on this soon). Still, this has been a great year, specially because I've had the chance to meet in person a few dozens of people who told me the blog had been actually helpful in pointing out useful study references, data sources etc. Please, feel free to drop me a line with suggestions on how to improve the blog.

Here just a few quick stats that show a summary of the blog over the past year. 

The 5 most popular posts:
  1. How much residential space could you rent with $1,500 in 30 global cities?
  2. The long-term effect of slavery on inequality today
  3. Using deep learning and Google Street View to estimate the socioeconomic characteristics of neighborhoods
  4. Heads up for some useful R packages
  5. Making a geogif with QGIS

Where do readers come from? (164 countries | 4,217 Cities) 
  1. United States (32.9%)
  2. Brazil (8%)
  3. United Kingdom (7.4%)
  4. Canada (3.8%)
  5. Germany (3.5%)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

On my way to Dar es Salaam

The blog has been quiet lately because I've been trying to finish my PhD thesis  I've been saying this for over a year now   but here are two quick updates. 

The 4th paper of my PhD has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Transport Geography \o/. You can read the pre-print of the study here.

The second update is that I will be in Dar es Salaam next week presenting this paper at a workshop organized by the Volvo Research and Education Foundation (VREF), who also kindly invited me to attend the Mobilize summit organized by ITDP.

I'm very excited to learn about some of the urban development challenges faced by African cities. This will also be a great opportunity to discuss how we can improve research methods to assess the equity impacts of transport policies on people's access to opportunities.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Staying away from trouble

When your boss is looking for you to discuss that project report but you just want to finish your PhD thesis. #truestory

image credit: ? via Glaucia Marcondes

Friday, June 8, 2018

Globally consistent estimate of carbon footprints of 189 countries and 13,000 cities

Daniel D Moran et colleagues developed the Global Gridded Model of Carbon Footprints (GGMCF). This model provides a globally consistent and spatially resolved (250m) estimate of carbon footprints in per capita and absolute terms across 189 countries. Their paper got recently accepted for publication (see below) and their data is freely available. Kudos to the team!

Moran, D., Kanemoto, K., Jiborn, M., Wood, R., Többen, J., & Seto, K. (2018). Carbon footprints of 13,000 cities. Environmental Research Letters.

While it is understood that cities generate the majority of carbon emissions, for most cities, towns, and rural areas around the world no carbon footprint (CF) has been estimated. The Gridded Global Model of City Footprints (GGMCF) presented here downscales national CFs into a 250m gridded model using data on population, purchasing power, and existing subnational CF studies from the US, China, EU, and Japan. Studies have shown that CFs are highly concentrated by income, with the top decile of earners driving 30-45% of emissions. Even allowing for significant modeling uncertainties, we find that emissions are similarly concentrated in a small number of cities. The highest emitting 100 urban areas (defined as contiguous population clusters) account for 18% of the global carbon footprint. While many of the cities with the highest footprints are in countries with high carbon footprints, nearly one quarter of the top cities (41 of the top 200) are in countries with relatively low emissions. In these cities population and affluence combine to drive footprints at a scale similar to those of cities in high-income countries. We conclude that concerted action by a limited number of local governments can have a disproportionate impact on global emissions.

credit: Moran et al

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

PolicySpace: agent-based modeling for public policy analysis

I've posted before about the "Humans of Simulated New York", a comprehensive agent-based model (ABM) of city life that is being led by Francis Tseng.

On a similar vein, my colleague from Ipea Bernardo Furtado has been developing the PolicySpace project, an agent-based modelling platform for public policy analysis. According to Furtado:

"PolicySpace is an agent-based model, including families, citizens, residences, businesses, markets, taxes, mobility, and municipalities, that allows “what-if” questions. It is an in silico laboratory, of extremely low relative cost. Yet, it is flexible, adaptable, that anticipates trajectories and, quantitatively, measures horizontal effects across sectors, places and times. The book reviews the literature, explains concepts, and describes the methodology. It details the model, its parameters, and the full process. It validates the proposal and illustrates with applications."

The platform allows for the ex-ante evaluation/simulation of public policy alternatives in a way that takes into account the emergent complexity of the interactions between portions of society and institutions, in space and time. PolicySpace was originally designed for the Brazilian case but it is easily adaptable to other contexts. The code is written in Python, it is open source and the full code is available on Github. The platform is also modular, so it can expanded in a flexible way to gradually incorporate different aspects considered to be relevant for a variety of policy realms. For example, Francis Tseng is further expanding the PolicySpace platform to incorporate public and private urban transportation at fine spatial scale.

Earlier this year, Bernardo published a book where he presents a literature review of ABM and where he introduces, validates and demonstrates applications of PolicySpaceThe book PDF is freely available both in English and in Portuguese.

Give Bernardo a shout if you would like to collaborate on the project, use it in your own applications or just give him some feedback.  He is co-organizing a special issue on Complexity Science and Public Policy, so some of you might be interested in that as well.

image credit: Francis Tseng and Bernardo Furtado

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Should cyclists be forced to wear helmets?

Here is a short summary of the evidence on bike helmets and cycle safety provided by some experts interviewed by the Guardian - HT Rachel Aldred and Phil Maynard.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The creative process lollipop chart

Stefanie Posavec came up with this brilliant 'chart' to illustrate the creative process of coming up with a great idea.

It reminds me of a story of this Brazilian band (Paralamas do Sucesso), when the lead singer/composer was asked about their success. Long time ago a journalist asked him: "When a band releases a new album, they usually get one maybe two songs in the top hits. How come you get so many top hits for every new album you release after so many years on the road?". His secrete, his said, was that every day he would write the lyrics of a new song. It took a lot of discipline, for sure, but at the end of the year he would have more than 300 songs. Most of them would suck, of course, but certainly a few would be good material that could be worked further.

Ok, I don't remember the exact words of the dialogue, but you get the idea. And frankly, I think that's a good advice for young researchers looking for good research questions. Read a lot of papers so you have an informed understanding of what are the knowledge gaps in your field. Then put yourself to ask as many questions as you can think of and write them down without censoring yourself. At some point you will have many questions (20? 50?). Revisit your list of questions after a few weeks and some more reading. You'll realize most of them won't work. Some are too ambitious, some have been answered already, some are just not that relevant etc. Once you have three or four questions that sound reasonably good, it's time to do more reading and to discuss these questions with more experienced mentors/supervisors/friends. Remember to be humble.

"You ask me if I keep a notebook to record my great ideas. I've only ever had one." (Albert Einstein )

The bottom line is this:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Using deep learning and satellite imagery to improve land use classification in cities

Marta Gonzalez and colleagues have a recent paper using deep learning and satellite image data to improve land use classification. The authors have made documented code and Jupyter notebooks available hereI'm self recommitting the paper and code to my future self. HT Marco De Nadai.

Albert, A., Kaur, J., & Gonzalez, M. C. (2017, August). Using convolutional networks and satellite imagery to identify patterns in urban environments at a large scale. In Proceedings of the 23rd ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (pp. 1357-1366). ACM.

Urban planning applications (energy audits, investment, etc.) require an understanding of built infrastructure and its environment, i.e., both low-level, physical features (amount of vegetation, building area and geometry etc.), as well as higher-level concepts such as land use classes (which encode expert understanding of socio-economic end uses). This kind of data is expensive and labor-intensive to obtain, which limits its availability (particularly in developing countries). We analyze patterns in land use in urban neighborhoods using large-scale satellite imagery data (which is available worldwide from third-party providers) and state-of-the-art computer vision techniques based on deep convolutional neural networks. For supervision, given the limited availability of standard benchmarks for remote-sensing data, we obtain ground truth land use class labels carefully sampled from open-source surveys, in particular the Urban Atlas land classification dataset of $20$ land use classes across $~300$ European cities. We use this data to train and compare deep architectures which have recently shown good performance on standard computer vision tasks (image classification and segmentation), including on geospatial data. Furthermore, we show that the deep representations extracted from satellite imagery of urban environments can be used to compare neighborhoods across several cities. We make our dataset available for other machine learning researchers to use for remote-sensing applications.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Urban Picture

Nova Iguaçu (Brazil). Nova Iguaçu is a municipality in the Metropolitan Area of Rio de Janeiro. The ocean and some of Rio's mountains can be seen in the background of the picture.

source: vonsenke on reddit, HT Vitor Gabriel

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Against All Authority

Happy mothers day

credit: ?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Visualizing space-time networks

I've said this on Twitter before but I should say it here as well. Craig Taylor and the Ito World team have some of the best data visualizations of geospatial data related to cities and transport networks.

Just a few days ago, Craig tweeted some of his latest work with neat visualizations of drive-time network for catchment area analysis. Here is a video comparing different cities in the UK and a brief explanation on how to read the dataviz.
"30 minute drive time analysis from major UK cities visualised as 3d coral geometry. 
The thickness of artery is proportional to the number of networks connected to it indicating busier routes. The falloff in height is linked to the proximity to the centre. 
Corals aren’t normalised in scale as the purpose of this is visualising the form and pattern the networks create. Animation is a boomerang motion scaling from 0 to 30 min and back again. Congestion/traffic not accounted for."

click at the bottom of the video to watch it in full screen and high definition

Yep, there are some obvious parallels here with Time Geography and in particular with the representation of space-time prisms. The static version of the space-time trees gives a sharper visualization of the data.

The space-time tree, or 3d coral geometry as Craig said.

and the inverted original dataviz, "the drive time web"

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Cities in Brazil: A Law and Economics Research Agenda

Just a few days ago, Edward Glaeser presented at the Harvard Law School Brazilian Association Legal Symposium (video below). Glaeser talked about his recent research and some of the questions it raises towards a research agenda on various challenges faced by cities in Brazil but also in other countries from the developing world. This is a self-recommendation post, I haven't watched the full video yet. Hat tip Bruno Bodart.

ps. curious fact mentioned in the video. Glaeser's PhD thesis advisor at Chicago was the Brazilian economist José Scheinkman.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

When the deadline is close and you need to finish that manuscript

This is how I feel my PhD thesis looks like right now.

image source: reddit

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Map of the day: how many Switzerlands fit in Brazil

Quite a few, actually. You can  procrastinate  play around with your own map comparisons to  here.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Mass housing aerial photography in Mexico

“High Density”, a photo essay by Jorge Taboada addressing the proliferation of large and segregated complexes of social housing in Mexico. Hat tip Yuri Gama

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ex-ante evaluation of the accessibility impacts of transport policy scenarios: equity assessment of BRT expansion

About a month ago, I submitted the 4th paper of my PhD research for publication. The preprint of the paper is available at Open Science Framework (OSF), and you can download it here. Please feel free to read and cite share the manuscript. Suggestions and  criticisms  nice comments are always welcome.

Pereira, R. H. (2018). Ex-ante evaluation of the accessibility impacts of transport policy scenarios: equity and sensitivity to travel time thresholds for Bus Rapid Transit expansion in Rio de Janeiro. OSF Preprints

The accessibility impacts of transport projects ex-post implementation are generally evaluated using cumulative opportunity measures based on a single travel time threshold. Fewer studies have explored how ex-ante accessibility appraisal of transport plans can be used to evaluate policy scenarios and their impacts for different social groups or examined whether the results of project appraisals are sensitive to the time threshold of choice. This paper analyzes how different scenarios of full and partial implementation of the TransBrasil BRT project in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) will likely impact the number of jobs accessible to the population of different income levels under various travel time thresholds of 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes. Compared to a partial operation scenario, the full implementation of TransBrasil that extends this corridor into the city center would lead to higher accessibility gains due to network effects of connecting this BRT to other transport modes. Nonetheless, the size of the accessibility impacts of the proposed BRT as well as its distribution across income classes would significantly change depending on the time threshold chosen for the accessibility analysis. Considering cut-off times of 30 or 60 minutes, both scenarios of TransBrasil would lead to higher accessibility impacts in general and particularly for low-income groups, moving Rio towards a more equitable transportation system. However, under longer thresholds of 90 and 120 minutes, an evaluation of this project would find much smaller accessibility gains more evenly distributed by income levels. The paper highlights how time threshold choice in cumulative opportunity measures can have important but overlooked implications for policy evaluation.

Some of the core findings of the paper mentioned in the abstract are illustrated in the figure below. The figure brings box plots that show the distribution of gains in job accessibility via public transport by income groups under partial and full operation scenarios of the TransBrasil BRT project in Rio de Janeiro. The results are shown separately given different choices of travel time thresholds in the accessibility analysis.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Assorted links

  1. Automation and AI will increase spatial/regional inequalities. Paper by Morgan Frank and colleagues

  2. Explore, select and download data of the global population projections by age, sex and education, a great collaborative work of researchers from the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital

  3. Greyhound: a powerful platform to interactively explore and analyze massive point clouds with Trillions of points in the browser, via Howard Butler

  4. The dynamical structure of political corruption networks. A paper by Haroldo RibeiroLuis Alves et al., analyzing 27 years of political corruption scandals in Brazil

  5. Citywide effects of high-occupancy vehicle restrictions: Evidence from “three-in-one” in Jakarta, by Rema Hanna et al.

  6. Want to find statistically significant hierarchical modules in weighted networks? paper here and code here, by Tiago Peixoto, who is the author of the graph-tool Python library

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Urban Picture

Petare, Venezuela

credit: via Ricardo Hurtubia‏. I couldn't find who is the author of the photo, though

Monday, March 26, 2018

Transport legacy of mega-events and the redistribution of accessibility to urban destinations

Good news! The 2nd paper of my thesis is coming out of the oven \o/ . The paper has not been assigned to a journal issue yet, but here you go (pdf).

The paper engages with the literature on mega-events and urban development to understand the particularities of transport planning in Rio de Janeiro, conducted for almost two decades under a context of mega-events planning. It is argued in the study that evaluations of the impacts of mega-events on urban infrastructure should take into account the distributional effects of the transport legacies created by those events, looking particularly at how such transport developments reshape social and spatial inequalities in access to opportunities.

This is the first empirical paper of my thesis. Two other empirical papers are currently under review, but you can read their preprints here and hereMy theoretical paper is available herein case you are interested  or have sleeping problems .

Pereira, R. H. M. (2018). Transport legacy of mega-events and the redistribution of accessibility to urban destinations. Cities. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2018.03.013

Local governments increasingly justify the hosting of mega-events because of their legacy value, assuming that all local residents benefit from those events. Yet, little attention has been paid to the distributive question of who benefits from the transport legacy left by those events. This paper reflects on the delimitation of transport legacies and its social impacts in terms of how such developments can reshape urban accessibility to opportunities. It analyses the transformation in the transport system of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. That transformation involved substantial expansion in public transport infrastructure, followed by cuts in service levels and a reorganization of many bus lines to streamline the transport system. The paper examines whether those recent changes have increased the number of people from different income levels who could access Olympic sports venues and healthcare facilities by public transport within 15, 30, 60 and 90 min. The analysis uses a before-and-after comparison of Rio's transport network (2014–2017) and a quasi-counterfactual scenario to separate the effects of newly added infrastructure from the reorganization and cuts of transport services. The results show that the infrastructure expansion alone would have increased the number of people who could access the Olympic sports venues, but it would have only marginally improved people's access to healthcare facilities. Nonetheless, the findings indicate that the streamlined bus system have offset the benefits of infrastructure investments in a way that particularly penalizes the poor. The analysis of both the implemented changes to the public transport network and the counterfactual scenario show that the accessibility benefits from the recent cycle of investments and disinvestments in Rio generally accrued to middle- and higher-income groups, reinforcing existing patterns of urban inequality.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Urban Picture

Morro da Providência favela, the first favela in Brazil, reflected on a new corporate building in the old port area of Rio de Janeiro.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

8th International Congress Mobility and Transportation, Bogotá

I will be in Bogotá (Colombia) speaking at the 8th International Congress Mobility and Transportation on the first week of April (conference program here). I was kindly invited by TRANSMILENIO S.A, the company that runs the renowned Transmilenio BRT system. The event will gather policy makers, private operators, start ups and academics to discuss some of the main issues and challenges in urban transportation in Latin America.

 To my supervisors, if the ever read this  I know this will be a little distraction from writing by thesis, but it will be a unique opportunity to share my research with experts in the region and to meet some great people. Also, I'm excited that I'll share the floor with Robert Cervero on a panel about the impacts of public transport on cities.

I will be presenting part of my doctoral research, looking at how major transport policies implemented in Rio de Janeiro have impacted people's access to schools and jobs and increased social and spatial inequalities in access to opportunities (preprint of this paper). I will also talk a bit about a new paper where I analyze the TransBrasil BRT project in Rio and estimate its likely future impacts on accessibility inequalities in the city (preprint here). I'll post more info about this paper soon.

Monday, March 19, 2018

"Even wealthy families, good neighborhoods and two parents can’t protect black boys from racism"

The title is this blog post comes from Emily Badger (Twitter), who has written a great piece for the NYT, covering the latest study of Raj Chetty and colleagues. Using a unique dataset, the study shows that black men consistently earn less than white men, regardless of whether they're raised poor or rich. The full paper is here.

The study is part of The Equality of opportunity Project, an ambitious and groundbreaking project led by Chetty. I've posted about the project in this blog a few years ago.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Using R to Predict Route Preferences in Bike Sharing

Daniel Patterson has written a really great post/tutorial on how to use R to identify what routes are most frequently used by cyclists in the bike sharing program of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. It's a good and quick read, you should check it out.

Daniel's analysis was conducted using stplanr, an R package for sustainable transport planning. This package was developed by Robin Lovelace, who is a great enthusiast for active transport and one of the most important developers for spatial and transport analysis in R.

credit: Daniel Patterson

Friday, March 9, 2018

Quote of the Day

And damn, I'm good at this!   the making mistakes part, at least 

I saw this quote on via Programming Wisdom, great account to follow on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Political populism and the revenge of the places that don’t matter

Earlier this year, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose (Twitter) published an interesting article where he points out to a pattern in the relationship between the outcomes of some national elections/referendums and the regional development inequalities in some countries. This is the core of Andrés' argument:
Persistent poverty, economic decay and lack of opportunities cause discontent in declining regions, while policymakers reason that successful agglomeration economies drive economic dynamism, and that regeneration has failed. This column argues that this disconnect has led many of these ‘places that don’t matter’ to revolt in a wave of political populism with strong territorial, rather than social, foundations.

According to Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, this help us understand the rise of populism we have recently witnessed in the national elections/referendums in Thailand, Germany, UK, France, USA and now in Italy. The strength of this apparently simple idea becomes evident when one looks at the spatial distribution of electoral outcomes vis-a-vis the social and economic disparities within those countries.

We have elections in Brazil this year. I’m looking forward to seeing whether the results are going to follow the pattern noted by Andrés. I’m afraid yes, but in a slightly different way. Like in many other countries, Brazil is also seeing the rise of a right-wing conservative populist wave. I believe this wave will be strong in the poorest regions and economically declining cities of the country, following the pattern of the "revenge of the places that don’t matter". However, my hunch is that this wave is going to be particularly strong in the rural areas that are thriving economically, not because of economic reasons but because these areas are traditionally conservative Moreover, I think it is really hard to say what is going to happen in the poor rural areas of the poorest stagnant regions of the country (North and Northeast). In the recent past, these regions have leaned towards the often populist center-left Labor Party, but the political importance of this party has been tremendously shaken in recent years due to corruption scandals and a a contentious impeachment process. If these regions keep their historical support to the Labor Party, this would contradict Andrés' conjecture.

These are only two small particularities that I think will make the Brazilian case diverge a bit from the pattern noted in the conjecture of the "revenge of the places that don’t matter". I might be wrong and I hope I am. In any case, the Brazilian election will be a good opportunity to put this conjecture to test.

image credit: Andrés Rodríguez-Pose