Mesogeography Social physics, GIScience and the quest for geographic knowledge

New publication: Miller, H.J.Mesogeography: Social physics, GIScience and the quest for geographic knowledge,” Progress in Human Geography, 42, 600-609.

Abstract: The 20th century witnessed the rise of social physics: the application of models and techniques developed for physical processes to social phenomena. Social physics left an enduring legacy in human geography via its stepchildren, spatial analysis and GIS, shifting geography from microgeography (description-seeking) and towards macrogeography (law-seeking). Social physics is back in the 21st century, and its renaissance with a concurrent rise in computational and data-driven approaches to science and policy raises a wide range of concerns, including the claim that this is just macrogeography writ large: a single-minded pursuit of social laws at the cost of treating people as particles and spatial context as abstract and sterile. I argue that this time is different: a more sophisticated social physics, spatial analysis and GIScience are emerging that emphasize heterogeneity and spatial context as key drivers of interesting behavior. I also argue that new social physics suggests another path to geographic knowledge somewhere in the middle: mesogeography – a focus on how processes evolve in spatial context. I discuss GIScience techniques and approaches that can facilitate the quest for mesogeographic knowledge.

Keywords: GIScience, social physics, spatial analysis, spatial context, spatial heterogeneity

New paper – Street use and design: Daily rhythms on four streets that differ in rated walkability

Werner, C.M., Brown, B.B., Stump, T., Tribby, C.P., Jensen, W., Miller, H.J., Strebel, A. and Messina, A. (2018) “Street use and design: Daily rhythms on four streets that differ in rated walkability,” Journal of Urban Design, DOI: 10.1080/13574809.2018.1448706

Opioid Innovation Fund – Franklin County Opioid Crisis Activity Levels (FOCAL) map

OSU’s Opioid Innovation Fund is supporting CURA’s project, the Franklin County Opioid Crisis Activity Levels (FOCAL) map. We will be building mapping and spatial analysis tools to understand the social factors associated with opioid overdoses and barriers to effective treatment.  This campus-community partnership involves Harvey Miller (CURA), Ayaz Hyder (College of Public Health), Lauren Southerland (OSU Wexner Medical Center). David All (WellHQ), Gretchen Hammond (Mighty Crow Media) and Sherri Kovach (Central Ohio Trauma System).