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A multivariate approach to delimit neighborhoods

Authors: Melissa Barnett*,
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Quantitative Methods, Urban Geography
Keywords: Geographical Information Systems, Neighborhoods, Uncertainty
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Neighborhoods are organic entities that are in a state of constant change and are driven by the specific context of the problem being investigated. The resulting lack of consensus on a common geographic definition for what constitutes a neighborhood can lead to biased interpretations of relationships between human activities and place. Further, while the existing geographical information system’s software allows users to combine various geographic entities to create regions, they are not designed to explicitly assess how changing combinations impact the data that is contained within them. This research develops an exploratory geographical information system’s framework that will allow users to dynamically delineate neighborhoods based on over one hundred various user-specified characteristics, including socioeconomic and other measures of neighborhood quality obtained from secondary data sources including parcel data, land use/land cover information, and other attribute data from the United States Postal Service. The proposed methodology creates custom geographies from readily available tract data obtained from various federal and state data repositories in the form of an index. Further allowing the user to dynamically weight the combinations of variables used to define their neighborhood. The framework is designed to be flexible, thus allowing users to explore how changing definitions of population-based characteristics impact the shape and scale of their neighborhood boundary.

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