For Geoff Boeing, Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs (SPPUA) felt like a perfect fit: “an exciting university direction, a focus on big ideas and pressing issues, emphasis on applied work and making a real-world difference, not to mention a strong faculty that seems to just keep growing,” he said.
Boeing joined SPPUA this fall as assistant professor of public policy and urban affairs. He comes from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a postdoc in the Urban Analytics Lab.
Boeing took a break from his research on urban data science, urban form, and planning to chat with SPPUA about his research projects and how he translates his work into the classroom.
A: Often, we treat city form as some inevitable fact rather than something deliberately shaped by planning forces, politics, and power, as well as by often uncontrollable evolutionary processes. Growing up in cities, I always wanted to know “why” things were the way they were. This desire to understand these shaping forces motivates my research.
A: I have two main branches in progress. The first examines online housing markets: how their data offer us new insights into affordability, and how they can also reproduce longstanding urban inequalities as new digital inequalities. The second examines urban street networks: how they organize urban space and human circulation, and how we can trace their spatial signatures back to planning decisions, design paradigms, and local conditions.
A: I organize a lot of my teaching around my research. My methodological research ends up getting distilled into lectures for my methods class. My empirical research helps illustrate challenges and prospects of smart city technologies for students.
A: I am teaching “Urban Theory and Science.”