Thursday, January 18, 2018

A challenge for your mental model of the world map

Here is a great exercise to test how accurate is your perception of the relative sizes of countries and continents. My score was 67% in my 1st try and 74% in my second try. Not good considering I'm doing a PhD in geography. sssh don't tell my university otherwise they might not give me my degree

This is part of a PhD research at Ghent University. ht Sebastian Meier‏

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Following the advice of my supervisors

"Sure, it is totally doable", I said...  #truestory

many times #truestory

Friday, January 12, 2018

Data visualization of the day

Scott Kerr‏ on Twitter: "Data visualization of where I cut stuff"

image credit: Scott Kerr‏

Thanks Chico Camargo for the pointer!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The effects of rent control on tenants, landlords, and inequality

Good read on the effects of rent control. There are many interesting results and Damon Jones presents a very good summary and discussion in this thread.

Diamond, R., McQuade, T., & Qian, F. (2018). The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords, and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco. NBER Working Paper No. 24181

We exploit quasi-experimental variation in assignment of rent control to study its impacts on tenants, landlords, and the overall rental market. Leveraging new data tracking individuals’ migration, we find rent control increased renters’ probabilities of staying at their addresses by nearly 20%. Landlords treated by rent control reduced rental housing supply by 15%, causing a 5.1% city-wide rent increase. Using a dynamic, neighborhood choice model, we find rent control offered large benefits to covered tenants. Welfare losses from decreased housing supply could be mitigated if insurance against rent increases were provided as government social insurance, instead of a regulated landlord mandate.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sao Paulo from above in new year's eve

This video is from 2016/2017 but there are shorter ones from this year and from 2014 which also give a good idea of how Brazilians take year's eve quite seriously.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

On my way to Washington DC

I'm flying to DC in the next few days. Thanks to the Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship I was awarded in 2017, I am going to present part of my doctoral research at both the TRB annual meeting and Transforming Transportation. In both occasions, I will be presenting an in-progress version of the 3rd paper of my thesis, which you can read below. In case you're in DC next week and would like to grab a  coffee or beer, drop me line or a tweet.

Pereira, R. H. M., Banister, D., Schwanen, T., & Wessel, N. (2017). Distributional effects of transport policies on inequalities in access to opportunities in Rio de Janeiro. SocArXiv. doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/CGHX2. Available at

The evaluation of the social impacts of transport policies is attracting growing attention in recent years. Yet, this literature is still predominately focused on developed countries. The goal of this research is to investigate how investments in public transport networks can reshape social and geographical inequalities in access to opportunities in a developing country, using the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) as a case study. Recent mega-events, including the 2014 Football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, have triggered substantial investment in the city’s transport system. More recently, though, bus services in Rio have been rationalized and reduced as a response to a fiscal crisis and a drop in passenger demand, giving a unique opportunity to look at the distributional effects this cycle of investment and disinvestment have had on peoples’ access to educational and employment opportunities. Based on a before-and-after comparison of Rio’s public transport network, this study uses a spatial regression model and cluster analysis to estimate how accessibility gains vary across different income groups and areas of the city between April 2014 and March 2017. The results show that recent cuts in service levels have offset the potential benefits of newly added public transport infrastructure in Rio. Average access by public transport to jobs and public high-schools decreased approximately 4% and 6% in the period, respectively. Nonetheless, wealthier areas had on average small but statistically significant higher gains in access to schools and job opportunities than poorer areas. These findings suggest that, contrary to the official discourses of transport legacy, recent transport policies in Rio have exacerbated rather than reduced socio-spatial inequalities in access to opportunities.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Making a geogif with QGIS

In case you would like to make geogifs using QGIS, Alasdair Rae has recently created a really good tutorial.  Topi Tjukanov has also written a post showing the step-by-step process of how you can use QGIS Time Manager to create a stunning geogif like this one below. 

obs. Alasdair and Topi have worked in many other great projects and they are extremely generous, often sharing their data and code openly. These two are definitely worth following on Twitter.

5 hours of train GPS points in Finland
credit: Topi Tjukanov