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The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is a university-wide entity dedicated to an increased understanding of cities through cross-disciplinary research, instruction, and civic engagement. As the global population becomes increasingly urban, Penn IUR engages with scholars and policy makers to foster innovative strategies to inform the sustainable 21st century city.


Table of Contents

Big or Small Cities? On City Size and Economic Growth

Susanne A. Frick, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment

Planning Ahead for Better Neighborhoods: Long Run Evidence from Tanzania

Guy Michaels, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
Dzhamilya Nigmatulina, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
Ferdinand Rauch, University of Oxford
Tanner Regan, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
Neeraj Baruah, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
Amanda Dahlstrand-Rudin, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Improving Disease Outbreak Forecasting Models for Efficient Targeting of Public Health Resources

Nuwan Lasantha Fernando, LIRNEaisa
Sriganesh Lokanathan, LIRNEasia
Amal Shehan Perera, University of Moratuwa
Azhar Ghouse, Independent
Hasitha Tissera, Independent

Examining the Impact of Ridehailing Services on Public Transit Use

Yash Babar, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management
Gordon Burtch, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

The Local Economic Impacts of Regeneration Projects: Evidence from UK's Single Regeneration Budget

Stephen Gibbons, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment
Henry G. Overman, London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Matti Sarvimäki, Aalto University - Department of Economics, Government of the Republic of Finland - Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT)


URBAN RESEARCH eJOURNAL
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"Big or Small Cities? On City Size and Economic Growth" Fee Download
CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12324

SUSANNE A. FRICK, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
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ANDRÉS RODR?GUEZ-POSE, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment
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Policy-makers and academics frequently emphasize a positive link between city size and economic growth. The empirical literature on the relationship, however, is scarce and uses rough indicators for the size for a country's cities, while ignoring factors that are increasingly considered to shape the relationship. In this paper, we employ a panel of 113 countries between 1980 and 2010 to explore whether (1) there are certain city sizes that are growth enhancing and (2) how additional factors highlighted in the literature impact the city size/growth relationship. The results suggest a non-linear relationship which is dependent on the country's size. In contrast to the prevailing view that large cities are growth-inducing, for the majority of countries relatively small cities of up to 3 million inhabitants are more conducive to economic growth. A large share of the urban population in cities with more than 10 million inhabitants is only growth promoting in countries with an urban population of 28.5 million and more. In addition, the relationship is highly context dependent: a high share of industries that benefit from agglomeration economies, a well-developed urban infrastructure, and an adequate level of governance effectiveness allow countries to take advantage of agglomeration benefits from larger cities.

"Planning Ahead for Better Neighborhoods: Long Run Evidence from Tanzania" Free Download
IZA Discussion Paper No. 11036

GUY MICHAELS, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
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DZHAMILYA NIGMATULINA, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
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FERDINAND RAUCH, University of Oxford
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TANNER REGAN, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
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NEERAJ BARUAH, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
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AMANDA DAHLSTRAND-RUDIN, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
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What are the long run consequences of planning and providing basic infrastructure in neighborhoods, where people build their own homes? We study "Sites and Services" projects implemented in seven Tanzanian cities during the 1970s and 1980s, half of which provided infrastructure in previously unpopulated areas (de novo neighborhoods), while the other half upgraded squatter settlements. Using satellite images and surveys from the 2010s, we find that de novo neighborhoods developed better housing than adjacent residential areas (control areas) that were also initially unpopulated. Specifically, de novo neighborhood are more orderly and their buildings have larger footprint areas and are more likely to have multiple stories, as well as connections to electricity and water, basic sanitation and access to roads. And though de novo neighborhoods generally attracted better educated residents than control areas, the educational difference is too small to account for the large difference in residential quality that we find. While we have no natural counterfactual for the upgrading areas, descriptive evidence suggests that they are if anything worse than the control areas.

"Improving Disease Outbreak Forecasting Models for Efficient Targeting of Public Health Resources" Free Download

NUWAN LASANTHA FERNANDO, LIRNEaisa
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SRIGANESH LOKANATHAN, LIRNEasia
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AMAL SHEHAN PERERA, University of Moratuwa
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AZHAR GHOUSE, Independent
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HASITHA TISSERA, Independent
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How can we use mobile network big data to model human mobility for forecasting disease outbreak forecasting and use those models to provide better resource allocation in public health sector for resource-constrained developing countries?

In light of the exponential growth of mobile connectivity and its proliferation in various demographics of Sri Lanka, Mobile Network Big Data has become a tool to derive rich behavioral insight into the population of the country as a whole. Deriving aggregate human mobility patterns related to disease propagation using MNBD has allowed us to develop better forecasting models, which in turn can improve overall resource allocation decisions and help to fight and reduce the effect of infectious diseases such as dengue.

This paper discusses the mobility models derived using MNBD and the forecasting models developed. It further goes on to discuss the impact this will have resource allocation in the public health sector due to the application of developed models.

1. What is the impact of human mobility in propagating vector-borne infectious diseases such as dengue?

2. What advantages are offered by modeling human mobility using MNBD when compared to traditional methodologies?

3. How can the results from the forecasting models be used for resource allocation in the public health sector?

I. Literature/Prior Work:

The significance of human mobility in propagation of infectious diseases has been established in multiple works done previously (Brockmann, Hufnagel, & Geisel, 2006; Dirk Brockmann, 2010). A number of research studies have been published that derive human mobility patterns using call detail records (CDR) in multiple domains (Isaacman et al., 2011; Samarajiva, Lokanathan, Madhawa, Kreindler, & Maldeniya, 2015). Using mobility models derived from MNBD within the domain of infectious disease outbreak forecasting has also been prevalent recently (Wesolowski et al., 2015).

II. Proposed Method:

We propose our own method to calculate human mobility by using the number of call detail records for a subscriber at a given administrative district to come up with a single measure to indicate the human mobility of that particular administrative district. This measure, along with weather data and vegetation index values are used in our models to forecast dengue outbreaks. This research is a collaboration between LIRNEasia, University of Moratuwa and the Epidemiology Unit of Sri Lanka.

III. Data Sources:

Pseudonymized Call Detail Records (CDR) used in this research are from multiple mobile network operators in Sri Lanka for a span of more than 1 year from 2012 to 2014. Weekly dengue case data for different administrative districts was obtained from the Epidemiology Unit, while the weather data has been obtained from the meteorology department of Sri Lanka. Vegetation index was derived using satellite data.

"Examining the Impact of Ridehailing Services on Public Transit Use" Free Download

YASH BABAR, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management
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GORDON BURTCH, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management
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We examine the impact that ridehailing services, such as Uber or Lyft, have had on the utilization of various modes of public transit in the United States via an agency-level analysis. We first evaluate the effects by exploiting the temporally and spatially staggered entry of Uber across the United States to estimate a difference-in-differences model. In doing so, we introduce a novel panel-data matching approach that explicitly seeks to match treated agencies with control agencies that exhibited similar pre-treatment trendsin transit utilization over the twenty-four months prior to the arrival of ridehailing services. Our estimates indicate that ridehailing service entry has led to significant reductions in the utilization of road-based, short-haul public transit services, namely city buses, while increasing utilization of rail-based and long-haul transit services, such as subway and commuter rail. We further show that the estimated cannibalization and complementarity effects are attenuated and amplified, respectively, by transit agencies’ pre-existing quality of service. We evaluate the robustness of our results in several ways, such as performing permutation tests and accounting for the entry of multiple ridehailing service operators. For estimates of the city bus impacts, we further consider an alternative, second source of identification, namely a natural experiment in which the Google Maps application incorporated ridehailing services directly into users’ transit/direction recommendations. Here, we show that cities that hosted ridehailing services at the time of the Google Maps change exhibited much larger losses in bus utilization relative to cities that had yet to receive such services, consistent with our main findings. We discuss implications for policymakers and transit operators.

"The Local Economic Impacts of Regeneration Projects: Evidence from UK's Single Regeneration Budget" Fee Download
CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12311

STEPHEN GIBBONS, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment
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HENRY G. OVERMAN, London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
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MATTI SARVIMÄKI, Aalto University - Department of Economics, Government of the Republic of Finland - Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT)
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We study the local economic impacts of a major regeneration programme aimed at enhancing the quality of life of local people in deprived neighbourhoods in the UK. The analysis is based on a panel of firm and area level data available at small spatial scales. Our identification strategies involve: a) exploiting the fine spatial scale of our data to study how effects vary with distance to the intervention area; and b) comparing places close to treatment in early rounds of the programme with places close to treatment in future rounds. We consider the long run impact of schemes funded between 1995 and 1997 on outcomes up to 2009. Our estimates suggest that the programme increased workplace employment in the intervention area but this had no impact on the employment rates of local residents.

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About this eJournal

Sponsored by: the Penn Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania

This eJournal distributes abstracts, working papers, and recently published articles focused on urban research, establishing a platform through which researchers can access the latest urban-focused research from scholars worldwide. With more than half the world population now urban - the United States, Latin America and Europe are more than three-quarters urban while Asia and Africa are experiencing rapid rates of urbanization - global urbanization has led to a new emphasis in urban-focused research at the intersection of numerous disciplines, including anthropology, city planning, economics, history, political science, real estate, sociology and area studies. These fields aim to increase our understanding of the drivers of urban growth and, from a policy perspective, the forces that contribute to the development of sustainable urban forms. A primary goal of the Urban Research eJournal is to gather and distribute new research that addresses the governance, policy, economics, design and social issues that surround global urbanization. Through the diffusion of the most up-to-date and classic urban-focused articles currently posted in different networks on SSRN, the Urban Research eJournal aims to serve as a single point of access for the growing literature in urban research.

Editors: Eugenie L. Birch, University of Pennsylvania, and Susan M. Wachter, University of Pennsylvania

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Advisory Board

Urban Research eJournal

ELIJAH ANDERSON
William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Sociology, Yale University - Department of Sociology

RAPHAEL W. BOSTIC
Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

YONGHENG DENG
Head of Department of Real Estate, Professor of Finance and Real Estate, National University of Singapore, Business School and the School of Design and Environment, Professor of Real Estate and Finance, Provost`s Chair and Director, National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Real Estate

GILLES DURANTON
Professor of Real Estate, University of Pennsylvania - Real Estate Department

RICHARD FLORIDA
Director & Professor of Business and Creativity, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Global Research Professor, New York University (NYU)

EDWARD L. GLAESER
Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics, Brookings Institution, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

WILLIAM N. GOETZMANN
Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance & Management Studies; Director Yale - ICF, Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

ABHA JOSHI-GHANI
Director, Knowledge and Learning, The World Bank

IRA KATZNELSON
President of the SSRC, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University

KYUNG-HWAN KIM
Professor, School of Economics, Sogang University, President, Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements, Vice Minister, Government of the Republic of Korea - Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT)

CATHERINE L. ROSS
Harry West Professor of City and Regional Planning, Director, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, Georgia Institute of Technology

BISH SANYAL
Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology - School of Architecture and Planning

SASKIA SASSEN
Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University - Department of Sociology

MICHAEL H. SCHILL
Dean and Harry N. Wyatt Professor of Law, University of Chicago - Law School

ANTHONY YEH
Dean of the Graduate School, The University of Hong Kong - Graduate School