Project
Staying Power: An Anti-Eviction Toolkit
person role
Author(s): 
Nelson De Jesus Ubri, Sarah Bisignano Zamler
Publication date: 
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Publication name, page number: 
Center for Spatial Research
Description (optional): 
Staying Power is a toolkit of research and proposals aimed at fostering a network of care to both prevent evictions and empower tenants who are in the process of being evicted. The project analyzes systems of eviction before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and uses nationwide health data to identify areas of extreme vulnerability. Building on this research, the toolkit is a set of interconnecting proposals designed specifically for the Bronx, addressing the eviction system at multiple leverage points using existing networks of care and a proposed team of Community Health Workers.
Initiative: 
Intro text (homepage): 
Staying Power is a toolkit of research and proposals aimed at fostering a network of care to both prevent evictions and empower tenants who are in the process of being evicted. The project analyzes systems of eviction before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and uses nationwide health data to identify areas of extreme vulnerability. Building on this research, the toolkit is a set of interconnecting proposals designed specifically for the Bronx, addressing the eviction system at multiple leverage points using existing networks of care and a proposed team of Community Health Workers.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2020
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Tracing Speculation
An investigation of real estate geographies in pre- and post-crisis Philadelphia, PA.
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This project investigates forms of investment in residential property that began to emerge in the lead up to the 2008 financial crisis, which have since morphed and firmly taken hold. Focused on Philadelphia, PA, the analysis traces the new geographies of real estate purchases made specifically by investors who do not intend to live in the homes they are buying. The project uses a mixed methods approach to uncover how houses purchased as investment vehicles between 2000-2018 have been concentrated spatially, then compares these patterns with the geography of houses that have been purchased as homes.

The research shows that investors have consistently focused their efforts on Philadelphia neighborhoods with a higher proportion of residents of color and lower incomes. As well, over the nineteen-year span covered by the data, it is clear that investor activity not only played a large role in the housing bubble in Philadelphia, but is also continuing to grow as a percentage of overall purchases, and is expanding into new areas of the city. Principally, the project reveals that the geographies of purchases by investors and owner-occupants are largely distinct–investor ownership is fueling a separate housing geography and is not merely a part of the overall housing market.

In the context of Philadelphia, the project brings together research on the political economic implications of financialization in housing together, neighborhood-level impacts of house 'flipping’, as well as the new single-family rental (SFR) asset class.

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Interactive Vaccine Allocation Map Launches as Update to Mapping the New Politics of Care

An interactive map of each county in each state proposing how COVID-19 vaccinations could be distributed is now publicly available, providing an important tool for policymakers and the public alike to analyze the differences between multiple distribution strategies as well as issues surrounding equity and vulnerability of at-risk groups.

The map was created by the Center for Spatial Research (CSR) at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) of the Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health. It is the next phase of their collaborative project—Mapping the New Politics of Care — with this latest effort focused solely on COVID-19 vaccine allocation.
 
“With over 250 million adults still needing vaccines across the country, who will be first in line to receive them?” said Amy Kapczynski Professor of Law at Yale Law School and faculty co-director of GHJP. “All people in the United States have been granted the right to have access to free, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccines. This map will help make sure that this is done fairly and equitably.”

In the context of limited supplies, states have enacted policies prioritizing specific groups based on reasonable — but subjective — weighing of scientific, practical, and ethical evidence and values, according to the Columbia and Yale teams. The new map shows how prioritizing different groups for vaccination shifts the terrain of vaccine allocation and impacts which communities are protected first.
 
The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that the first phase (1a) of vaccine roll-out, which began in December 2020, prioritize health care personnel and long-term care facility residents. In their guidance, ACIP explicitly cited evidence that prioritizing Phase 1a groups would mitigate health inequities due to “the disproportionate representation of racial and ethnic minority groups” amongst low-wage health care personnel and that residents in the lowest-rated long-term care facilities “are more likely to serve patients experiencing social or economic disadvantage and are more likely to have COVID-19-associated outbreaks.”

However, other scientific advisory bodies, such as the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, have suggested that in addition to these specific kinds of target populations, vaccine allocation take into account the geographic disparities across the United States making these same population groups more or less vulnerable given the local social and economic conditions in place. NASEM therefore recommended that the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) be used to further guide vaccine distribution and many states are using this index to do just that.

“The SVI is an important metric to manage, monitor and evaluate our progress towards equity in vaccine distribution,” said Laura Kurgan, professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and director of the CSR. “We’re already seeing disparities in vaccination across the country with Black Americans significantly trailing in immunization, which underscores the importance of focusing on social vulnerability and in particular race and ethnicity moving forward.”
 
The map created by Yale and Columbia enables the comparison of four COVID-19 vaccine allocation scenarios at the county level, including:

  1. Simply allocating federal disbursements of vaccines by county adult population;
  2. Using ACIP’s Phase 1a prioritization of health care personnel and long-term care facility residents, which is what most states have tried to do thus far, then;
  3. Weighting the number of individuals in these phase 1a categories by each county’s SVI and finally;
  4. weighting these Phase 1a categories but leaving out race/ethnicity out of the 15 indicators that make up the SVI.

These comparisons highlight the trade-offs of competing strategies: between each pair of maps, one can see the respective number of vaccine doses allocated to each county and therefore which populations and communities are protected first. In some cases users will see the rank ordering of which counties get more doses change with your choices as well. For example:

As of January 18, 2020, Maryland had been allocated 417,925 first doses, or enough to cover approximately 9 percent of its estimated adult population of 4,677,166. Selecting Prince George’s County, a suburb of Washington, D.C. that has the second largest population in Maryland, illustrates the teams’ points about equity in allocation:

  • If vaccines were distributed in proportion to the county’s adult population, Prince George’s would be allocated 63,051 doses (~15.1 percent of the state’s total doses).
  • If instead vaccines were distributed in proportion to the county’s Phase 1a population, Prince George’s would be allocated just 60,494 doses (~14.5 percent of the state’s total doses). Compared to allocating by the adult population, using the Phase 1a population would decrease the county’s allotment by 2,556 doses (or -4.1 percent).
  • If doses were distributed in proportion to the county’s Phase 1a population weighted by SVI, Prince George’s would be allocated 72,468 doses (~17.3 percent of the state’s total doses). Compared to allocating by just Phase 1a population, adding SVI as a weight would increase the county’s allotment by 11,974 doses (or 19.8 percent).
  • If a modified SVI measure that excludes race and/or ethnicity is used to weight the Phase 1a population then Prince George’s would be allotted only 61,830 doses (~14.8 percent of the state’s total doses). Compared to Phase 1a weighted by SVI, excluding the race and or ethnicity factor would decrease the county’s allotment by 10,638 doses (or 14.7 percent) due to Prince George’s larger proportion of non-white non-Hispanic people — and returns its allocation to a level comparable with Phase 1a population alone (60,494 doses).

The map illustrates that no scenario is neutral. Each prioritization reflects an explicit or implicit valuation, as well as the logistical challenges of distributing vaccine doses to hundreds of millions of Americans as quickly as possible. The project visualizes the differences and trade-offs between each of these choices in the hopes that a more nuanced understanding of the options will lead to more informed and ethical outcomes, according to those involved.

“We don’t have to use the SVI to make vaccine allocation decisions directly, but understanding who is likely to be left behind might enable states to make targeted investments in outreach, distribution facilities, and health care capacity in order to mitigate the impact of existing inequality,” said Gregg Gonsalves, Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Public Health and Associate Professor (Adjunct) of Law and GHJP’s faculty co-director.

The map only shows vaccine allocations under Phase 1a, as collecting data on health care workers and residents of long-term care facility residents at a county level was possible with these groups. The next phase, 1b, includes a broader, diverse category of frontline essential workers — including numerous kinds of professions — as well as individuals over 75 years of age, which makes it harder to develop estimates of the size of these new populations, according to the researchers.

“We also would have liked to pin our own estimates in these scenarios to actual vaccine allocations by county but this data is not available nationwide,” said Dare Brawley, assistant director of the CSR. “Even now it’s clear that disparities are arising across the country, with white Americans two to three times more likely to have been vaccinated than their Black American counterparts, which shows our concerns about equity and vulnerability have not been misplaced.”

The Mapping the New Politics of Care project team consists of Laura Kurgan, Dare Brawley, Jia Zhang of the CSR (all bios here) and Gregg Gonsalves, Suzan Iloglu and Tommy Thornhill of the GHJP and Yale School of Public Health and David Herman of the GHJP and Yale Law School.

The Center for Spatial Research was established in 2015 as a hub for urban research that links design, architecture, urbanism, the humanities and data science. It sponsors research and curricular activities built around new technologies of mapping, data visualization, data collection, and data analysis. CSR focuses on data literacy as well as interrogating the world of “big data,” working to open up new areas of research and inquiry with advanced design tools to help scholars, students as well as our collaborators and audiences, to understand urbanization worldwide –– past present and future.
The Global Health Justice Partnership was established in 2012 to promote interdisciplinary, innovative, and effective responses to global health disparities. It is a transformative collaboration that integrates different fields in order to make critical policy interventions. Building on Yale’s institutional assets, the GHJP trains students in law, public health, global affairs, and other fields to undertake collaborative, real-world research and advocacy to promote health justice. It also organizes pathbreaking conferences and events, builds partnerships with local NGOs around the world to move research into action, and nurtures a truly interdisciplinary brain trust dedicated to effecting social change.

 
Project
Research Towards a New Politics of Care
person role
Author(s): 
Caitlin Blanchfield, Adeline Chum, Nelson De Jesus Ubri, Nadine Fattaleh, Spenser A Krut, Adam Vosburgh
Publication date: 
Friday, November 6, 2020
Publication name, page number: 
Center for Spatial Research
Description (optional): 
Over the summer of 2020, researchers at the CSR investigated patterns in the distribution of COVID-19 while critically questioning the role of mapping and data visualization in understanding the pandemic. The research sought to match the COVID-19 count data at the county level with various other datasets to spatially explore patterns and trends in the spread of the virus across multiple scales. While some projects prioritized an expansive approach to policy making and the distribution of key resources according to vulnerability, others zoomed into particular clusters of outbreaks in meatpacking plants and Native American reservations to elucidate long standing vulnerabilities that have been exacerbated by COVD-19. The outcomes of the research demonstrate a wide variety of formats, each engaging a unique representation strategy that incorporates diagrams, maps, videos, and interactive data visualizations.
Initiative: 
Intro text (homepage): 
Over the summer of 2020, researchers at the CSR investigated patterns in the distribution of COVID-19 while critically questioning the role of mapping and data visualization in understanding the pandemic. The research sought to match the COVID-19 count data at the county level with various other datasets to spatially explore patterns and trends in the spread of the virus across multiple scales.
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Author Last Names for table: 
Caitlin Blanchfield, Adeline Chum, Nelson De Jesus Ubri,
Publication short title (carousel): 
Research Towards a New Politics of Care
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Methods: 
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Friday, November 6, 2020
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Mapping the New Politics of Care
An interactive map in support of a Community Health Corps to address long-standing inequalities and COVID-19
 

Mapping the New Politics of Care links the effects of COVID-19 in the United States with a wide range of social, economic, and environmental conditions.

It compares four indexes of vulnerability alongside COVID-19 data and presents multiple options for addressing the effects of the pandemic with a Community Health Corps.

These conditions and vulnerabilities predated the pandemic and created the conditions for the virus to flourish in this country. The map displays the acute inequalities embedded in the social and political landscape of the United States. This pandemic is not simply biological. It is a symptom of an illness in our body politic. As SARS-CoV-2 roars across the country, it is following the fault lines of social vulnerability.

As the New York Times reported in July 2020, “Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.”Repairing the wounds of this pandemic means confronting the policy decisions made long ago that have led us to this moment. As we try to combat this disease, we have to think more broadly about rebuilding health from the ground up in the United States.

The project builds on a series of essays on a new politics of care written by our collaborators, Gregg Gonsalves and Amy Kapczynski at the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) of the Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health. Together CSR and the GHJP are calling for a New Deal for Public Health, which addresses the acute needs of the pandemic response but also makes a larger national commitment to lifting up the health of our communities, protects the public’s health, and confronts the legacy of vulnerabilities that existed before the emergence of SARS-CoV-2.  A new Community Health Corps must be integrated into our communities, providing economic support and social services to start to undo the vulnerabilities that plague us. We call this a new politics of care.

The Community Health Corps should be deployed across the United States. This map poses a series of questions and demands a set of options about how these care workers might be distributed to states and to counties within each state. Making these decisions responsibly requires confronting and addressing not just the virus and the disease but also the inequalities and vulnerabilities that underlie and propel this pandemic.

Explore the project here.

Project Team
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Mapping Project in Support of a Community Health Corps and a New Politics of Care
One of seven vulnerability metrics mapped: Years of Potential Life Lost by county, percentile ranked by state

For immediate release:

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Columbia and Yale Universities today unveiled an interactive map that guides policy makers and the public in deploying health care workers to communities most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online map, Mapping the New Politics of Care, uses a wide array of up to date data. It  shows that decisions about caring for those affected by the pandemic depend not just on surging or falling infection rates but instead on taking into account a range of pre-existing vulnerabilities in U.S. society.

The map reveals that the areas that appear most at risk within each state shift depending on how vulnerability is measured: from COVID-19 cases to unemployment rates, from COVID-19 deaths to formal metrics of health vulnerability such as Years of Potential Life Lost and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index.

“The COVID19 pandemic in the United States has exposed a crisis of care across the country,” said Yale Law Professor Amy Kapczynski  of the Yale GHJP. “The failure of the federal response to the pandemic has demonstrated the stark inability of political leaders to rise to the basic challenge of protecting those living in the U.S. from a new and deadly virus. Yet, the long-standing vulnerabilities in our communities, the patchwork nature of our health system, the historic disinvestment in public health and the weakness of our safety net programs made the U.S. uniquely susceptible to a crisis just like this.”

The interactive map was created by a team from the  Center for Spatial Research (CSR) at the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation(GSAPP) and the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) of the Yale Law School (YLS) and Yale School of Public Health (YSPH).

The researchers describe Mapping the New Politics of Care as a visual journey through the inequities and vulnerabilities that define the American landscape, using different definitions to describe communities at risk, down to the county level. 

They propose a New Deal for Public Health, a national program to address acute needs of the pandemic response but also makes a larger national commitment to protecting and improving the public’s health, and confronts the legacy of vulnerabilities that existed before the emergence of SARS-CoV-2.

Central to this new project is the establishment of a Community Health Corps — a national investment in one million community health workers to be deployed across the country to face off with the COVID-19 pandemic while also starting to address decades of health inequity across the country.

Mapping the New Politics of Care lets visitors to the site make those choices explicitly to see how the number of community health workers across a state shifts depending on what kinds of vulnerability matters to them,” said Laura Kurgan, Professor of Architecture and Director of CSR at Columbia.  “It also shows the trade-offs in community health worker allocation between pairs of choices in defining vulnerability. It was important to us to show how vulnerability shapes the country we live in. COVID-19 is only the most current crisis facing cities and towns across the country; here we can show you where vulnerabilities existed long before the pandemic hit.”

Currently, the pandemic tracks certain kinds of pre-existing vulnerabilities and not others. Despite the absence of data to allow for allocations of community health workers in the U.S. based on lives or dollars saved, choices can still be made based on short-term needs of the pandemic or longer standing vulnerabilities.

“This new collaboration between the CSR and GHJP shows how public health, spatial data analysis, data visualization, design, and policy can be used to highlight, expose the social and economic vulnerabilities in America and the health outcomes that follow in their wake,” said Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Associate Professor (Adjunct) of Law  Gregg Gonsalves of Yale’s GHJP. “As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to target the places that are hurting now, but those that have been no stranger to disease and ill health for generations in the U.S.”

The Mapping the New Politics of Care project team consists of Laura Kurgan, Dare Brawley, Jia Zhang of the CSR (all bios here) and Gregg Gonsalves, Suzan Iloglu and Tommy Thornhill of the GHJP and Yale School of Public Health.  The project builds on a series of essays by GHJP co-directors Kapczynski and Gonsalves on a new politics of care.

The Center for Spatial Research was established in 2015 as a hub for urban research that links design, architecture, urbanism, the humanities and data science. It sponsors research and curricular activities built around new technologies of mapping, data visualization, data collection, and data analysis. CSR focuses on data literacy as well as interrogating the world of ‘big data,’ working to open up new areas of research and inquiry with advanced design tools to help scholars, students as well as our collaborators and audiences, to understand cities worldwide –– past present and future.