Tuesday, October 29, 2019

City walkability and upward social mobility

Here is a recent paper with some interesting findings suggesting that more walkable cities can facilitate upward social mobility (Thanks Pedro Nery for the pointer). The results are rather consistent with the studies by Raj Chetty and colleagues at Opportunity Insights, but it extends previous research by exploring how walkability can have positive effects on social mobility via both accessibility and psychological channels.

Oishi, S., Koo, M., & Buttrick, N. R. (2018). The Socioecological Psychology of Upward Social Mobility. American Psychologist. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000422

Intergenerational upward economic mobility—the opportunity for children from poorer households to pull themselves up the economic ladder in adulthood—is a hallmark of a just society. In the United States, there are large regional differences in upward social mobility. The present research examined why it is easier to get ahead in some cities and harder in others. We identified the “walkability” of a city, how easy it is to get things done without a car, as a key factor in determining the upward social mobility of its residents. We 1st identified the relationship between walkability and upward mobility using tax data from approximately 10 million Americans born between 1980 and 1982. We found that this relationship is linked to both economic and psychological factors. Using data from the American Community Survey from over 3.66 million Americans, we showed that residents of walkable cities are less reliant on car ownership for employment and wages, significantly reducing 1 barrier to upward mobility. Additionally, in 2 studies, including 1 preregistered study (1,827 Americans; 1,466 Koreans), we found that people living in more walkable neighborhoods felt a greater sense of belonging to their communities, which is associated with actual changes in individual social class.

obs. image credit: Virginia Suburbs, by La Citta Vita

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The urban footprint of the largest urban areas of Brazil

All my procrastination energy led to me to create this nice little image comparing the footprint of the largest urban agglomeration in Brazil. I created this figure using R and geobr, a package that facilitates downloading official geospatial data of Brazil (a quick intro to geobr here). In our latest update, we included official data on the urban footprint of all Brazilian cities in 2005 and 2015.

[click on the image to enlarge]

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pushing regional studies beyond its borders

New paper hot off the press discussing 5 perspectives to push the bounderies of regional studies. Good read to catch up with the literature and to reflect on potential research projects, specially if you're considering a graduate degree or grant application.

Harrison, J., et al. Pushing regional studies beyond its borders. Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2019.1672146

This paper explores how to push the field of regional studies beyond its present institutional, conceptual and methodological borders. It does this from five perspectives: innovation and competitiveness; globalization and urbanization; social and environmental justice; local and regional development; and industrial policy. It argues that the future of regional studies requires approaches that, in combination, result in the pushing on (by creating), pushing off (by consolidating), pushing back (by critiquing) and pushing forward (by collectively constructing) the field.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Fully funded PhD scholarship at the Transport Studies Unit at Oxford

Heads up: The Transport Studies Unit (TSU) at the School of Geography and the Environment of the University of Oxford will have one fully funded, three-year Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil/PhD) scholarship available for a citizen from a country in Africa, South and South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean or small island states in the Pacific or Indian Ocean. More details here.

I'm certainly biased here, but this is a great opportunity to study along brilliant researchers in an incredibly vibrant department at one of the top universities in the world. This is a competitive scholarship, sure, but this should not stop you from applying. You only need one spot. ;)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Build-up of OpenStreetMap data in East Asia

Another neat dataviz from the ItoWorld team, this time visualizing all the edits to road networks in OpenStreetMap for East Asia since 2008.

OpenStreetMap Series: East Asia Build-up from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

Friday, October 11, 2019

How many people have ever lived on Earth?

Have a guess. I can only say I was wrong by a lot :) Now select this back box to see how close your guess was. 109 billion  There is a nice article by PRB on this question and how one arrived at this estimate. HT Sergei Soares.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Precious advice on academic writing

Saturday, October 5, 2019

World population projected to reach 10.9 billion by 2100

The UN Population Division published this year its report World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision with lots of goodies, including the latest world population projections. Here are the ten key findings of the report:
  1. The world’s population continues to increase, but growth rates vary greatly across regions
  2. Nine countries will make up more than half the projected population growth between now and 2050
  3. Rapid population growth presents challenges for sustainable development
  4. In some countries, growth of the working-age population is creating opportunities for economic growth
  5. Globally, women are having fewer babies, but fertility rates remain high in some parts of the world
  6. People are living longer, but those in the poorest countries still live 7 years less than the global average
  7. The world’s population is growing older, with persons over age 65 being the fastest-growing age group 
  8. Falling proportions of working-age people are putting pressure on social protection systems
  9. A growing number of countries are experiencing a reduction in population size
  10. Migration has become a major component of population change in some countries

A neat visualization of population growth by region based on UN Population Division (2019) medium variant scenario projections. This chart was put together by Our World in Data, who have plenty more material on this and other topics.