Weekly Top 5 Papers – August 7, 2018

1. Pulling the Goalie: Hockey and Investment Implications by Clifford S. Asness (AQR Capital Management, LLC) and Aaron Brown (New York University (NYU) – Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences)


2. A Brief Introduction to the Basics of Game Theory by Matthew O. Jackson (Stanford University – Department of Economics)


3. How to Read a Legal Opinion: A Guide for New Law Students by Orin S. Kerr (University of Southern California Gould School of Law)


4. Urban Spatial Order: Street Network Orientation, Configuration, and Entropy by Geoff Boeing (Northeastern University – School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs)


Street networks structure our cities and constrain how we move through them. Some are centrally planned according to clear organizing principles while others evolve organically through accretion, but their configurations and orientations help define the city’s spatial logic and order. We can quantify order and disorder in urban patterns through entropy – a measure of uncertainty. Entropy indicators can illustrate local histories of urban design, planning, and morphology and aid the evaluation of existing or proposed transportation system configurations. While past studies have explored individual cases of orientation and entropy, little is known about broader patterns and trends worldwide.

This paper measures order and configuration in 100 city street networks around the world using OSMnx, a free open-source toolkit to automatically download spatial data from OpenStreetMap, construct network models, and then calculate dozens of network statistics. In particular, this study measures street network orientation entropy, circuity, connectivity, and scale. It also develops a new indicator to quantify the extent to which a city’s street network follows the ordering logic of a single grid. In concert, these indicators explain the extent and nuance of the street grid. It finds significant statistical relationships between a city’s griddedness/entropy and other indicators of spatial order, including circuity and connectedness. On average, American cities are far more grid-like than cities in the rest of the world and exhibit far less orientation entropy and street circuity.

This preliminary methodological and empirical work sets the stage for deeper looks at street pattern evolution in urban design history and how different demographic and economic patterns relate to different urban forms and patterns. – Geoff


5. The Role of Theory in an Age of Design and Big Data by Matthew O. Jackson (Stanford University – Department of Economics)


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