Yet Another Geographer

Something just hit me about a month after I turned thirty

For all the change, contrast, and development that arises from your first thirty years, in the second (or third, I suppose, if you’re lucky…) do you just basically continue to exist how you are? Generally speaking, you’re not going back to college, learning to play the piano again, choosing another career… nobody in my generation has (or will have) the time or means for that, if we’re lucky enough for it to be an option.

The disappointing finitude of screens

One thing I’ve started to realize over lockdown, as I have restricted access to books, printers… physical media, is that the new paradigm of touch heavy full screen apps is fundamentally opposed to the “physical” mode of interaction that the desktop computing metaphor tried to mimic. Concerns about skeumorphism aside, the main idea of physical desktops that the desktop computing metaphor matches is that you can arrange documents/windows into stacks within a work area.

Boomeranging: It's all coming back to us

I’ve been getting very interested in the concept of the “boomerang generation” and the tension that broader social trend has with ideas around Cottagecore. They’re two very strong forces acting on the middle class… returning to intergenerational houses, folks can afford to live in the city. But, if the young increasingly don’t want to live in cities due to changing tastes and preferences, then we get another wave of suburbanization. Given my own short stint “boomeranging” to the countryside during the COVID-19 lockdown,1 I’ve been very intrigued by the intersection of the “return of the multi-generational” household and (possible) change in the tastes and preferences of young, house-buying people.

Gunnar Olsson and the Counterfactual Imagination in Geography

I suppose I’m writing this as an act of defiance against the lethargy of the Great Stall, or maybe just a way to process some feelings, but I’ve really tried to branch out across the full set of geography recently. I’ve been reading so much more than I used to, especially across the breadth of human geography. It’s been enlightening. For instance, after finishing the excellent piece on the discontinuing of the Univeristy of Michigan department of geography by Huntley and Rosenblum, I found myself working back through some of Olsson’s work.

Spatial Modelling 2 Lectures: Topics in Advanced Spatial Modelling

For an intro & discussion of some of the fundamental ideas in spatial statistics, we’ll cover a few main topics. Logistics Courses start at 11AM on the date listed. The “Join Remotely” links will work at 10AM for students to check their AV equipment. The remote sessions will be open from 11AM, through both practical sessions (1-3PM, 4-6PM). Plotting & spatial relationships in R (notebook) This practical/component will cover some of the fundamental concepts in quantitative geography, such as:

CUSP London, Exeter, and ASU

Man, it’s been a busy start to 2020. I’ve had such a great time talking to folks about new ideas on cities, spatial statistics, and machine learning. Back in late January, I gave a talk on our now-published paper on social boundaries in cities at CUSP London (slides), invited by my gracious and wonderful host, Jon Reades. Then, I went off to western Ireland for some short R&R, catching gale force winds at the Cliffs of Moher & some nice evenings in Dingle, Co.

Columbia GSAPP Lecture Series

Tuesday, I present on some of my research at the Lectures in Planning Series for the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. The work is on some of my current papers & methods for boundary analysis, understnading the structure and shape of boundaries in urban envionments. I’ll talk a litte bit about my Geosilhouettes paper (with Eli Knaap and Serge Rey), as well as two other papers (one on Kernel Learning and another on information theory, with no preprint availble).

Disabling Technologies

On “Routine” Computing at Scale as a Disabling Technology Ever since I read Mark Gahegan’s discussion and definition of Geocomputation in preparation to run the AAG 2019 Urban Data Science Panel, something he wrote about has really stuck in my mind. Namely, his discussion of disabling technologies is both very cogent and intellectually flexible: Disabling Technology (Gahegan, 1999) The late 1970’s and early 1980’s saw the rise of databases; large monolithic systems that standardised on interfaces, file structures and query languages.

Q-Step Festival & Geosilhouettes

On the 11th, I’ll be speaking at the Q-estival at the University of Exeter’s Q-Step Centre. The Q-Step program is a program to promote a “step change” in quantitative social science skills in the UK. I’m the Bristol Geography lead for the program. I’m real excited to take my first trip out to Exeter, see the place, and talk about some interesting computational social science! In my talk, I’ll present some work I’ve done with Eli Knaap & Serge Rey on urban social boundaries.

Deep work and the reverse todo list

I recently finished reading Cal Newport’s Deep Work: rules for focused success in a distracted world. While it’s pretty reasonable advice (like the nugget “When you work, work hard. When you’re done, be done.” p. 154), there are a few really powerful parts that I found very affecting and reasonable. Since I bet most folks take one message from Newport’s very well-publicized media appearances, and that’s his digital minimalism message. While that’s a pretty important concept, it actually isn’t the main message in Deep Work.