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Applied Geographic Data Science to U.S Towns




11: Urban Studies and Planning

Faculty Supervisor:

Albert Saiz

Faculty email:


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Project Description

Research will be conducted on-campus. Are you interested in learning about economic history and urban planning? This project studies how the adoption of orthogonal street grids impacted the long-run development paths of hundreds of towns in the U.S. In particular, how these street patterns might have affected density, housing values, and segregation in these areas. This project is offering motivated students interested in geographic data science and spatial analysis, an opportunity to explore new approaches to digitize and measure the built environment. The goal of this study is to use GIS software combined with satellite images to map selected neighborhoods along railroad tracks.


Responsibilities The final deliverable will be a map visualizing the historical towns built along the railroad tracks. The team is looking for someone that is excited about applying geospatial methods in the context of urban studies and who is comfortable with GIS (though not required). More importantly, we welcome MIT students excited about testing different approaches and challenging ideas.