I am currently a Lecturer/Assistant Professor at the National Centre for Geocomputation at Maynooth University in Ireland. As an urban geographer and spatial data scientist, my research is focused broadly on better understanding how urban spatial structure and transportation systems influence economic, environmental, and social outcomes in order to help solve the complex ongoing crises facing our interconnected global society in the 21st century: economic inequality, climate change, widespread health disparities, and other forms of social, racial, and environmental injustice. Cities are complex systems, and their spatial organization has a direct impact on basically every feature of human life: how our economy functions, how new ideas are generated, how people have access to jobs, how they interact with their friends and strangers, how they get exercise, how they get their food, how they vote, and how much they pollute – and the decisions that city governments make (or don’t make) thus have far-reaching impacts on people’s health, economic behavior, and relative social advantage or disadvantage.
I study these topics mostly using quantitative, data-driven approaches because I believe that “data is power,” and although all policy decisions inherently occur in a political framework (and structural political change is certainly a prerequisite for solving these complex problems), quantitative data and statistical analysis – when properly applied and understood – can provide powerful evidence in favor of particular policies that can foster beneficial change in the world. To make change, we always need to know the empirical situation: the drivers, consequences, and outcomes of urban spatial structure and planning policies. And as the data and methods used to characterize the empirical situation become more complex, we need to likewise sharpen our understanding and interpretation of these data and methods, which includes understanding how spatial ways of thinking and explicitly spatial methodological approaches can be used to analyze large datasets and can be better integrated into conventional statistical and newer machine learning methods.
These interests have manifested themselves in a number of peer-reviewed publications in scholarly journals such as Spatial Economic Analysis, Urban Studies, Environment and Planning – B, Industry and Innovation, the International Journal of Health Geographics, The Review of Regional Studies, and Urban Affairs Review, covering topics such as the impact of transit construction on adjacent new business creation, spatial optimization approaches for siting community gardens, and the impact of new business creation on inner city employment. Some of my recent work has been profiled in CityLab.
Looking ahead, my current research program includes ongoing and planned projects on a variety of related topics, including the impact of transit construction on regional greenhouse gas emissions, the features underlying observed racial and ethnic disparity in COVID-19 infection rates, the evolving retail “apocalypse” at the regional scale, and the development of spatially-explicit random forest models (among others).
Before coming to Maynooth, I worked as an Assistant Instructional Professor of GIScience and was the Assistant Director for Urban Informatics at the Center for Spatial Data Science (CSDS) at the University of Chicago. I graduated from Michigan State University in 2018 with a PhD in Geography. Before pursuing my doctorate, I worked as a long-range planner for two years in Manhattan, Kansas. I was the Staff Liaison to the Historic Resources Board, and worked on many GIS, demographic, and economic analyses. I received my AICP certification in May 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @KevinCredit for periodic research updates, and check out my profiles on Planetizen (where I teach courses on location optimization), Google Scholar, ResearchGate, and LinkedIn. I will also be filming two spatial data visualization tutorials (choropleth mapping and flow mapping) for an upcoming video series from SAGE Research Methods in spring 2021, so check those out as well!