School of Computational Science and Engineering and School of City and Regional Planning Joint Seminar with Associate Professor Marta Gonzalez

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Atlanta, GA

Event Details

What: School of Computational Science and Engineering and School of City and Regional Planning Joint Seminar

Name: Marta Gonzalez

Date/Time: Tuesday, March 23 at 11:00 am


Title: Unraveling the interplay of the Urban form and Mobility Science for Planning Cities

Abstract: The marketing rhetoric around Smart Cities have left some unfulfilled promises when facing sustainability and social well being. Yet, ubiquitous data collection (including mobile devices, GPS, social media, and synoptic video) require new capabilities of computation to disrupt the field of urban planning. 

In the first part of my talk, I present one example of how to use big-data to support urban planning decisions in the covid19 era. Via mobile phone data for twenty cities around the world, we study how the distance covered by individuals (rg) varies as the location of their residences moves away from the central business district (CBD). We show that the changes in the statistical distribution of rg between the inner city and the residents of the suburbs classify the centrality of cities better than the population distributions alone. In turn, we propose metrics of urban form and mobility based on rg  to predict the infective reproduction number (R0) of COVID-19 in eleven Spanish cities. In the second part I show A new urban planning paradigm where, within minutes, inhabitants can access their basic living needs by bike or by foot. In this work, we present novel insights of the interplay between the distributions of facilities and population that maximize accessibility over the existing road networks. Results in six cities reveal that travel costs could be reduced in half through redistributing facilities. In the optimal scenario, the average travel distance can be modeled as a functional form of the number of facilities and the population density

Bio: Marta Gonzalez is an Associate Professor both in City and Regional Planning and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a Physics Research faculty position in the Energy Technology Area (ETA) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Gonzalez works in the urban science space, with a focus on the intersections between people within social networks and the built and natural environments. Her goal is to design urban solutions through new technologies. To that end, she has developed tools that impact transportation research and discovered novel approaches to model human mobility and the adoption of energy technologies. Her scientific approach is informed by the statistical physics of complex systems and network science. Gonzalez’s research includes the application of big data to understanding human network behavior, with applications in transportation networks, energy efficiency planning and characterization of disease proliferation. Gonzalez was a Scientific Advisory Board member of PTV AG. She was the recipient of a U.N. Foundation award to study consumption patterns of women and girls in the developing world and of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation award to study access to financial services in the developing world.


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