Monday, March 26, 2018

Transport legacy of mega-events and the redistribution of accessibility to urban destinations

Good news! The 2nd paper of my thesis is coming out of the oven \o/ . The paper has not been assigned to a journal issue yet, but here you go (pdf).

The paper engages with the literature on mega-events and urban development to understand the particularities of transport planning in Rio de Janeiro, conducted for almost two decades under a context of mega-events planning. It is argued in the study that evaluations of the impacts of mega-events on urban infrastructure should take into account the distributional effects of the transport legacies created by those events, looking particularly at how such transport developments reshape social and spatial inequalities in access to opportunities.

This is the first empirical paper of my thesis. Two other empirical papers are currently under review, but you can read their preprints here and hereMy theoretical paper is available herein case you are interested  or have sleeping problems .

Pereira, R. H. M. (2018). Transport legacy of mega-events and the redistribution of accessibility to urban destinations. Cities. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2018.03.013

Local governments increasingly justify the hosting of mega-events because of their legacy value, assuming that all local residents benefit from those events. Yet, little attention has been paid to the distributive question of who benefits from the transport legacy left by those events. This paper reflects on the delimitation of transport legacies and its social impacts in terms of how such developments can reshape urban accessibility to opportunities. It analyses the transformation in the transport system of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. That transformation involved substantial expansion in public transport infrastructure, followed by cuts in service levels and a reorganization of many bus lines to streamline the transport system. The paper examines whether those recent changes have increased the number of people from different income levels who could access Olympic sports venues and healthcare facilities by public transport within 15, 30, 60 and 90 min. The analysis uses a before-and-after comparison of Rio's transport network (2014–2017) and a quasi-counterfactual scenario to separate the effects of newly added infrastructure from the reorganization and cuts of transport services. The results show that the infrastructure expansion alone would have increased the number of people who could access the Olympic sports venues, but it would have only marginally improved people's access to healthcare facilities. Nonetheless, the findings indicate that the streamlined bus system have offset the benefits of infrastructure investments in a way that particularly penalizes the poor. The analysis of both the implemented changes to the public transport network and the counterfactual scenario show that the accessibility benefits from the recent cycle of investments and disinvestments in Rio generally accrued to middle- and higher-income groups, reinforcing existing patterns of urban inequality.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Urban Picture

Morro da Providência favela, the first favela in Brazil, reflected on a new corporate building in the old port area of Rio de Janeiro.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

8th International Congress Mobility and Transportation, Bogotá

I will be in Bogotá (Colombia) speaking at the 8th International Congress Mobility and Transportation on the first week of April (conference program here). I was kindly invited by TRANSMILENIO S.A, the company that runs the renowned Transmilenio BRT system. The event will gather policy makers, private operators, start ups and academics to discuss some of the main issues and challenges in urban transportation in Latin America.

 To my supervisors, if the ever read this  I know this will be a little distraction from writing by thesis, but it will be a unique opportunity to share my research with experts in the region and to meet some great people. Also, I'm excited that I'll share the floor with Robert Cervero on a panel about the impacts of public transport on cities.

I will be presenting part of my doctoral research, looking at how major transport policies implemented in Rio de Janeiro have impacted people's access to schools and jobs and increased social and spatial inequalities in access to opportunities (preprint of this paper). I will also talk a bit about a new paper where I analyze the TransBrasil BRT project in Rio and estimate its likely future impacts on accessibility inequalities in the city (preprint here). I'll post more info about this paper soon.

Monday, March 19, 2018

"Even wealthy families, good neighborhoods and two parents can’t protect black boys from racism"

The title is this blog post comes from Emily Badger (Twitter), who has written a great piece for the NYT, covering the latest study of Raj Chetty and colleagues. Using a unique dataset, the study shows that black men consistently earn less than white men, regardless of whether they're raised poor or rich. The full paper is here.

The study is part of The Equality of opportunity Project, an ambitious and groundbreaking project led by Chetty. I've posted about the project in this blog a few years ago.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Using R to Predict Route Preferences in Bike Sharing

Daniel Patterson has written a really great post/tutorial on how to use R to identify what routes are most frequently used by cyclists in the bike sharing program of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. It's a good and quick read, you should check it out.

Daniel's analysis was conducted using stplanr, an R package for sustainable transport planning. This package was developed by Robin Lovelace, who is a great enthusiast for active transport and one of the most important developers for spatial and transport analysis in R.

credit: Daniel Patterson

Friday, March 9, 2018

Quote of the Day

And damn, I'm good at this!   the making mistakes part, at least 

I saw this quote on via Programming Wisdom, great account to follow on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Political populism and the revenge of the places that don’t matter

Earlier this year, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose (Twitter) published an interesting article where he points out to a pattern in the relationship between the outcomes of some national elections/referendums and the regional development inequalities in some countries. This is the core of Andrés' argument:
Persistent poverty, economic decay and lack of opportunities cause discontent in declining regions, while policymakers reason that successful agglomeration economies drive economic dynamism, and that regeneration has failed. This column argues that this disconnect has led many of these ‘places that don’t matter’ to revolt in a wave of political populism with strong territorial, rather than social, foundations.

According to Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, this help us understand the rise of populism we have recently witnessed in the national elections/referendums in Thailand, Germany, UK, France, USA and now in Italy. The strength of this apparently simple idea becomes evident when one looks at the spatial distribution of electoral outcomes vis-a-vis the social and economic disparities within those countries.

We have elections in Brazil this year. I’m looking forward to seeing whether the results are going to follow the pattern noted by Andrés. I’m afraid yes, but in a slightly different way. Like in many other countries, Brazil is also seeing the rise of a right-wing conservative populist wave. I believe this wave will be strong in the poorest regions and economically declining cities of the country, following the pattern of the "revenge of the places that don’t matter". However, my hunch is that this wave is going to be particularly strong in the rural areas that are thriving economically, not because of economic reasons but because these areas are traditionally conservative Moreover, I think it is really hard to say what is going to happen in the poor rural areas of the poorest stagnant regions of the country (North and Northeast). In the recent past, these regions have leaned towards the often populist center-left Labor Party, but the political importance of this party has been tremendously shaken in recent years due to corruption scandals and a a contentious impeachment process. If these regions keep their historical support to the Labor Party, this would contradict Andrés' conjecture.

These are only two small particularities that I think will make the Brazilian case diverge a bit from the pattern noted in the conjecture of the "revenge of the places that don’t matter". I might be wrong and I hope I am. In any case, the Brazilian election will be a good opportunity to put this conjecture to test.

image credit: Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Scientific Communication

Quick note to say I've been a bit absent from blogging while I'm writing up  stressing out about  my PhD thesis.  I keep tweeting a bit more often though.

Cartoon by Tom Gauld, HT Arthur Charpentier