Walkable neighborhoods are great for health, happiness and economic growth. Cities around the world that want to draw a talented young workforce increasingly focused on creating a good pedestrian experience. How could we measure and map walkability using data science tools?

This blog suggests an approach drawing on Pandana, an excellent Python library developed by Fletcher Foti.

What questions can this answer?

We will be dealing with proximity analysis along a road network. Measuring the density of amenities like shops, office and bus stations ‘as the crow flies’ is trivial; a density map can be produced in GIS software. But how about mapping the walk…


This post is by Ran Goldblatt, New Light Technologies, and Nicholas Jones, GFDRR Labs/World Bank.

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is one of the wonders of the digital age: founded in 2004, it has allowed volunteers to map some 42 million buildings and 1 million km of road — creating a valuable resource that often surpasses official maps for completeness and ease-of-use.

And in few circumstances are complete maps more crucial than disaster preparedness and response. Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas is just the latest example, with relief agencies relying on OSM data to understand the location of affected houses, schools and clinics.


Data For Change

Air pollution is one of the great killers of our age, causing 6.4 million deaths in 2015 according to a Lancet study — compared with 0.7 million from malaria. How can we drive more action to tackle it? In this post, we’ll walk through the steps to build a data-driven advocacy tool using Python code.

Inspired by a political strategy that paid remarkable dividends in London, we’ll demonstrate how similar tools could be built for New York or other cities that invest in open data portals and monitoring of pollutants like PM2.5.

Motivation: From Great Smog to great clean-up

Personally I had always associated air pollution with…


This post is by Nick Jones, Charlie Moffett and Hans He.

Well-maintained, walkable streets are essential for cities to thrive: they are associated with lively retail scenes, healthy communities and higher property prices. They’re also essential if you happen to use a wheelchair. But until recently, the quality of a city’s sidewalks was a data black hole. That is now beginning to change thanks to the uniquity of cellphone cameras, and to emerging 3D sensing technologies.

In this post, we will walk through the steps to build a simple condition monitoring system for city sidewalks. Using cellphones and ArcGIS, we…

Nick Jones

Data Scientist at the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) / World Bank.

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