Scott Markley: From Redlining to Exclusionary Zoning — How New Spatial Datasets are Changing How We Understand Sub/urban Inequality

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aerial image from space of Manhattan

Satellite view of the surface of New York City. image / Nasa on Unsplash


We are living in an age of urban data. Projects such as IPUMS at the University of Minnesota, Mapping Inequality at the University of Richmond, Eviction Lab at Princeton, and S4 at Brown are shining new light on old urban problems and, in the process, reinventing the types of research questions urban scholars can explore. Yet, while the extent and availability of urban spatial data — and the concomitant demand for ever more data — has never been so vast, little work has delved into how these new datasets are communicating with one another. In other words, what do the insights enabled by one new dataset entail for the others? In this talk, Scott Markley will focus on these spaces of overlap. In particular, he will zero in on three new urban datasets — the Historical Housing Unit and Urbanization Database v2010 (HHUUD10), Tabulated Home Owners' Loan Corporation Area Description Sheets (THOLCADS), and National Zoning Atlas (NZA) — to highlight how, in combination, they can change how we understand the historical production of sub/urban inequities.


Scott Markley is the Geospatial Project Coordinator for the National Zoning Atlas and Visiting Lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. His research employs geospatial data science to investigate how state policy and private practice continue to reproduce racial housing inequities in sub/urban space. As part of this work, he creates urban spatial datasets to assist researchers and organizations working on similar questions. His work has appeared in Urban Studies, Urban Geography, Scientific Data, Environment & Planning B, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and elsewhere. Markley earned his Ph.D. in geography from the University of Georgia in 2023.

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