Great Problems, Great Minds Seminar Series: Making a Difference Through Urban Data Science



Join the Social Sciences Colloquium at the Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring guest speaker Karen Chapple, a director of the School of Cities and a professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, who will present “Making a Difference Through Urban Data Science.” This seminar will take place on Wednesday, April 10, from 5–6:15 p.m. over Zoom.


This talk explores the use of geographic information and big data in addressing urban challenges such as the housing affordability crisis and post-pandemic recovery. Using the examples of residential displacement and downtown recovery, this seminar shows how urban data science can influence the policy-making process. At the same time, data science raises new challenges in community engagement and ethics.


Karen Chapple is a director of the School of Cities and a professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto, and also a professor emerita of city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as department chair. She studies inequalities in the planning, development, and governance of cities and regions throughout the Americas. She has published international peer-reviewed articles in these research areas in top journals, such as Cities, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, and the Journal of the American Planning Association. Her most recent publications, in Cities and the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society, use mobile phone data to analyze post-pandemic recovery patterns. Her most recent book is Transit-Oriented Displacement or Community Dividends? Understanding the Effects of Smarter Growth on Communities (with Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, MIT Press, 2019). Her research has been funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Center for Housing Policy of the U.S. National Housing Conference, Brookings Institution, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Urban Land Institute, MacArthur Foundation, Fannie Mae Foundation, Asset Funders Network, Ford Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Urban Studies Foundation, Microsoft, and numerous state and local governmental, nonprofit, philanthropic, and private agencies and organizations in California. In 2015 Chapple founded the Urban Displacement Project, a research portal examining patterns of residential, commercial, and industrial displacement, as well as policy solutions. Chapple received the 2023 Regional Studies Association’s Sir Peter Hall Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Field. She holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia University, an M.S. in City and Regional Planning from the Pratt Institute, and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley.

“Making a Difference Through Urban Data Science” is part of the Social Sciences Colloquium of the Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series which explores the major problems facing humanity as we move into the heart of the twenty-first century. To see the full schedule and videos from previous events, visit the seminar series page. For more information, contact Associate Professor of Social Sciences Hao Huang at

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