Built env. talk series: Dr. Takahiro Yabe (May 4th)

Decreased income diversity of urban encounters during the pandemic


Diversity of physical encounters in urban environments is known to spur economic productivity while also fostering social capital. However, mobility restrictions during the pandemic have forced people to reduce urban encounters, raising questions about the social implications of behavioral changes. In this paper, we study how individual income diversity of urban encounters changed during the pandemic, using a large-scale, privacy-enhanced mobility dataset of more than one million anonymized mobile phone users in Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Seattle, across three years spanning before and during the pandemic. We find that the diversity of urban encounters has substantially decreased (by 15% to 30%) during the pandemic and has persisted through late 2021, even though aggregated mobility metrics have recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Counterfactual analyses show that behavioral changes including a lower willingness to explore new places further decreased the diversity of encounters in the long term. Our findings provide implications for managing the trade-off between the stringency of COVID-19 policies and the diversity of urban encounters as we move beyond the pandemic. This seminar series is co-organized by CHUD (Center for Housing & Urban Development), GeoSAT (Center for Geospatial Sciences, Applications and Technology), and TAMIDS-DAL (Design and Analytics Lab for Urban Artificial Intelligence @ Texas A&M Institute of Data Science).

Speaker’s information

Dr. Takahiro Yabe is a Postdoctoral Associate at the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) and Media Lab, working with Professor Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland. Taka’s research focuses on the interplay between collective human behavior and urban infrastructure systems to make cities more inclusive and resilient to disasters and shocks. His research is published in interdisciplinary journals such as PNAS, Nature Communications, and Nature Machine Intelligence. He obtained his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2021, MS and BS from The University of Tokyo in 2017 and 2015, respectively. Taka has also worked as a Data Science Consultant for the World Bank, where he developed data science toolkits for disaster risk management and resilient urban transport. He is an incoming Assistant Professor at New York University, Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) from January 2024.

Time: 10:00-10:30 a.m. US Central Time (Thursday, May 4th, 2023)

Zoom Meeting ID: 961 4477 4538    Passcode: 292042

Direct Link: https://tamu.zoom.us/j/96144774538?pwd=cnZxS2RiRzBCQ2lNVmVlTm9DN3dqQT09

Host: Jiaxin Du, Data Science Ambassador@TAMIDS, PhD candidate@LAUP, TAMU

recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOKdg_xIpcQ