Using the UrbanPop Basic Demographics Package to Assess Neighborhood Characteristics: An Exploration of Charlotte’s North End Smart District

Authors: Nathan Trombley*, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
Topics: Population Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: Small-area mapping, Microsimulation, Urban development
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The UrbanPop Population Model, developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, produces high-resolution and demographically detailed synthetic populations and summary data. By integrating multiple datasets, notably from the Census Bureau and BLS, the UrbanPop model produces outputs of joint demographic variables at both the block group of residence and of work. Furthermore, the model simulates where an individual of certain demographic characteristics is likely to commute from and to. As a case study, we analyze this data for Charlotte, NC’s North End Smart District, a collection of neighborhoods targeted for programs in community and economic development, excellence in quality of life, and the application of innovative technology. To better inform urban development plans in this district, we ask, “to what extent are the people who work in this area the same as those who live here?” and perhaps more importantly “are there demographic patterns in these daily flows (i.e. do individuals of a certain gender, race, education level, etc. work in the district, but leave at the end of the day while others tend to stay?)” Among other insights, we find that the district is largely residential for African Americans with bachelor’s degrees or less and a disproportionate number from this group go elsewhere for work while other joint demographic subcategories tend to come to the district for work but live elsewhere. Achieving a greater understanding of the dynamics and fine-grained demographics of neighborhoods and cities at large can help policymakers more appropriately and effectively design and implement urban development programs.

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