Geographic Information, Spatial Networks, and the New Urban Science

Authors: Geoff Boeing*, Northeastern University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Ambassador Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The β€œnew” science of cities has its roots in decades of scientific approaches to urban studies across multiple disciplines, including urban geography, regional science, urban economics, and GIScience. Compared to past approaches, it particularly draws on new methodologies from statistical physics and computer science. Building on these modes of analysis, it couples the methods and tools of geographic information systems, computational social science, spatial data science, and network science to study cities. This talk explores urban science at the intersection of these fields, focusing on spatial networks and presenting new scalable methods for analyzing urban equity, resilience, accessibility, and human mobility using open-source software and collaboratively-generated data from OpenStreetMap. Human movement through cities is largely constrained to pre-designed spatial networks that embody values of power, aesthetics, and prevailing technology. The quality of urban spaces – and for whom these spaces perform – rests upon these outcomes of urban planning. Although circulation networks critically underlie city mobility and human dynamics, it has historically been difficult to acquire and consistently analyze high-quality network data at-scale around the world. This talk presents methods to explore city spatial structure and circulation worldwide to understand, visualize, re-think, and communicate complex urban patterns and spatial outcomes. It reflects on who produces knowledge within the paradigm of urban science and how we might foreground marginalized voices, while considering the aims of urban science and whom the discipline serves.

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