Saturday, March 25, 2017

Creating an animated world map of life expectancy changes from 1950 to 2100 in R

I've created this map after a couple of hours  procrastinating  testing the gganimate package in R, which makes it ridiculously simple to create this type animation in .gif or .mp4 format.

The map shows how the life expectancy of each country has changed from 1950 to 2015 and how it is expected to increase up to 2100. It looks better in full screen, but it's still a bit clunky.


I've also created a gist that shows how you can create this map yourself:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

cfp: special issue on informality in urban transport

Heads up. The Journal of Transport Geography has opened a call for papers for a special issue on "Concepts and methods on informality in urban transport across world regions".


Focus of the Special Issue:
The special issue intends to close the gap. Building on a set of original papers, it seeks to establish an account of the state-of-the-art of which concepts and methods are applied for what topics/aspects of informality in urban transport, an in-depth review of selected specific methods and their application in the field and the identification of their strengths and limitations, and the identification of lessons and directions for future research on the subject. The Symposium positions a set of overarching questions:
  • How and how well do existing concepts and methods capture the phenomenon of informality in urban transport? What are they missing out? What is the promise of new /emerging technology in data gathering? What can be won by combining methods?
  • What are the strengths and the limitations of approaches in specific case study contexts but also across cases and contexts?
  • How can case study and experiential-based methodologies inform network-scale analyses in more conventional transport geography?
  • What methods help to transfer knowledge from the research community across to policy making?

I saw this info on the new twitter account of the International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities, a research group recently created by Karen Lucas. You might wanna follow them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Humans of Simulated New York: comprehensive ABM model of city life

Here is a very interesting project that aims towards building agent based models to simulate cities and the impacts of policies on them. The project is available on GitHub. Kudos to the authors, who are all on Twitter btw Francis TsengFei Liu and Bernardo Furtado.

Tseng, F., Liu, F., & Furtado, B. A. (2017). Humans of Simulated New York (HOSNY): an exploratory comprehensive model of city life. arXiv preprint arXiv:1703.05240.

Abstract:
The model presented in this paper experiments with a comprehensive simulant agent in order to provide an exploratory platform in which simulation modelers may try alternative scenarios and participation in policy decision-making. The framework is built in a computationally distributed online format in which users can join in and visually explore the results. Modeled activity involves daily routine errands, such as shopping, visiting the doctor or engaging in the labor market. Further, agents make everyday decisions based on individual behavioral attributes and minimal requirements, according to social and contagion networks. Fully developed firms and governments are also included in the model allowing for taxes collection, production decisions, bankruptcy and change in ownership. The contributions to the literature are multifold. They include (a) a comprehensive model with detailing of the agents and firms' activities and processes and original use of simultaneously (b) reinforcement learning for firm pricing and demand allocation; (c) social contagion for disease spreading and social network for hiring opportunities; and (d) Bayesian networks for demographic-like generation of agents. All of that within a (e) visually rich environment and multiple use of databases. Hence, the model provides a comprehensive framework from where interactions among citizens, firms and governments can be easily explored allowing for learning and visualization of policies and scenarios.

credit: Francis Tseng

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Quote of the day: the idea of community



A passage of the book "The Just City", where Susan Fainstein quotes D. Harvey to draw attention to how the idea of "Community" is a double-edged value. At the same time a community provides its members with social support, it is also exclusionary.

" 'Community' has ever been one of the key sites of social control and surveillance, bordering on overt social repression. Well-founded communities often exclude, define themselves against others, erect all sorts of keep-out signs (if not tangible walls) .... As a consequence, community has often been a barrier to rather than facilitator of progressive social change, and much of the populist migration out of villages (both rural and urban) arose precisely because they were oppressive to the human spirit and otiose as a form of sociopolitical organization". (David Harvey, 1997)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Chart of the Day: the gender gap in science

Elsevier has recently published the report "Gender in the Global Research Landscape", in which they analyze 'research performance through a gender lens across 20 years, 12 geographies, and 27 subject areas'. The team at The Economist wrote a short summary of the report, showing this chart. 

Thanks Claudio Ferraz for the pointer on twitter.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Demographic fact of the day


Nigeria is the fastest growing countries in the world. The population of Nigeria will nearly double in the next 30 years.

Very interesting episode of BBC's Economic Tectonics on how economic power will shift as the world’s population changes, by Ruth Alexander.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Creative Process

This comes in cycles and I'm currently at stage #2, again.


Monday, March 13, 2017

The world's tallest and most densely populated slums

A short video about Tower of David, possibly the tallest slum today, located in Caracas, Venezuelza. (Thanks Telmo Ribeiro and Lucas Mation for the pointer)



And a short video about Kowloon Walled City of Hong Kong, which was of the most densely populated slums in the world until being demolished in 1994.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Special issue on Human migration and refugees

Nature has a new special issue on migration and refugees (via Nicolsa Perra).

The United Nations has declared that the number of displaced people has surged to unprecedented numbers. But a close examination of data reveals that current flows are just as high as in they were in the 1990s. Because it is difficult to track refugees, official data and statistics must be handled with care, and yet misleading reports are creating unjustified fears about refugees.



source: UNHCR via Nature