Many faculty, postdocs, and graduate students at Brown University are pursuing research that involves spatial thinking and spatial tools of analysis. Information about their work can be found through links on S4's "people" page. Several major continuing projects and activities that are supported by S4 are highlighted here.
Several projects make use of web-based GIS maps, developed by S4 staff using ESRI technology, that allow users to visualize and interrogate mapped data directly on their browser. These map systems include a capability to zoom in close to see details from the contemporary street grid or satellite images, to download data for particular areas, and to save the map for use in presentations. One of these systems based on data developed by Patrick Heller and collaborators provides unique information on population distribution and public infrastructure in South African cities in the years before and after the end of apartheid.
The American Communities Project led by John Logan includes several different major initiatives that deal with urban and spatial inequality and issues of racial, ethnic, and class diversity and segregation. The Urban Transition Historical GIS Project brings together a variety of studies of the period 1850-1940, much of it taking advantage of the 100% microdata sets from the U.S. Census that are being made available by the Minnesota Population Center. These studies make innovative use of GIS methods to study spatial patterns at various scales. Mapped data sets and shape files are are being made available for download. Diversity and Disparities links scholars to contemporary studies of similar issues. Some materials were developed within the US2010 Project that was previously supported by the Russell Sage Foundation, including MapUSA (visualizing census tract and county data for 1940 through 2010) and the Longitudinal Tract Data Base (providing data within constant 2010 tract boundaries for the years 1970-2010). This collection also includes calculations of segregation and diversity measures over time that are widely used by scholars and students, as well as a number of research reports created by US2010 and by John Logan and collaborators. Two other related projects are US Schools, comprised of studies of school segregation and educational disparities, including mapped data in MapUSSchools, and the Hurricane Katrina Project that reports on impacts of hurricane damage in the Gulf Coast since 1950.
The Tools for Land Degradation Neutrality (TOOLS4LDN.org) project is an interdisciplinary global research collaboration to provide improved methods and tools for assessing land degradation and understanding the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable communities in affected areas through the integration of free and open platforms towards supporting country level implementation and reporting to the United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The Rio/Sao Paulo Project is a collaborative effort including researchers at Brown, Sciences Po, and institutions in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. In its initial phase it is organizing and mapping census data for neighborhoods within these cities in 2000 and 2010 that will be included in an on-line mapping system and also available to download for detailed analysis.
The Urban China Research Network is an international collaboration of researchers from multiple disciplines that is engaged in supporting research by new generations of China scholars.