Arizona State University: ASU student creates machine-learning model to identify neighborhoods most at risk for COVID-19. “In her paper titled ‘Characterizing the Spread of COVID-19 from Human Mobility Patterns and SocioDemographic Indicators,’ co-authored by Bandana Kar from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, [Avipsa] Roy leveraged anonymized human movement data from mobile phones and combined it with social distancing data and social vulnerability indicators to examine the overall spread of COVID-19 at local spatial scales.”
University of Amsterdam: Google Streetview shows social importance pedestrian friendly environment. “With Google Streetview and Deep Learning, researchers at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Twente identified how the urban environment is linked to the vitality of social organisations and neighbourhoods. They conclude that, if an environment provides more space to pedestrians, this will be conducive to neighbourhood-based social organisations’ chances of survival.”
Mischiefs of Faction: What We Learned from Studying Yard Signs. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are spending more time than ever in our residential spaces, and the signs we choose to display take on new meaning. For political scientists, the central questions that have always emerged in the fall (especially during national election years) are ‘Why are people doing this?,’ and ‘What do these signs do to our neighborhoods?'” This article is about politics and political signs in general and is pretty interesting. The names of the current presidential candidates do not appear in the text of this article.
CNET: Facebook is testing a feature to help you connect with your neighbors. “Facebook may soon be moving in on Nextdoor’s turf with a new feature that helps users connect with others who live near them. The feature, called Neighborhoods, lets users display local posts, groups and marketplace items, a Facebook spokesperson said, confirming information in a tweet sent earlier Tuesday by social media consultant Matt Navarra.”
Washington Post: Crime rose unevenly when stay-at-home orders lifted. The racial disparity is the widest in years.. “A Washington Post analysis of 27 cities showed the rolling rate of violent crime in majority-White neighborhoods fell by 30 percent while stay-at-home orders were in effect, dipping to its lowest point in two years. Once the orders were lifted, violent crime in those neighborhoods returned to pre-pandemic levels, but stayed below average when compared with 2018 and 2019. In majority-Black neighborhoods, the rate of violence remained relatively steady while stay-at-home orders were in effect, but rose dramatically after orders were lifted, peaking at 133 crimes per 100,000 residents in July, the highest level in the past three years.”
Bungalower: New tool lets local governments identify urban populations most at-risk for COVID-19. “The Urban Health Vulnerability Index helps local governments and health planners to identify urban populations that are at high risk for COVID-19, including older adults and people with serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease based on Census data.”
Make Tech Easier: 4 Useful Apps to Connect You to Your Neighbors. “How well do you know who lives next to you? Want to connect with your community? Do you have a great idea that could benefit your local community but don’t know how to get it off the ground? The following online services provide useful apps to connect you to your neighbors. You’ll make friends, connect with local businesses and engage in community projects and events in no time.” I had heard of Nextdoor but not the other three.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Google Street View Derived Built Environment Indicators and Associations with State-Level Obesity, Physical Activity, and Chronic Disease Mortality in the United States. “We utilized 31,247,167 images collected from Google Street View to create indicators for neighborhood built environment characteristics using deep learning techniques. Adjusted linear regression models were used to estimate the associations between aggregated built environment indicators and state level health outcomes. Our results indicated that the presence of a crosswalk was associated with reductions in obesity and premature mortality. Visible wires were associated with increased obesity, decreased physical activity, and increases in premature mortality, diabetes mortality, and cardiovascular mortality (however, these results were not significant). Non-single family homes were associated with decreased diabetes and premature mortality, as well as increased physical activity and park and recreational access. Single-lane roads were associated with increased obesity and decreased park access.”
Mashable: How to use Nextdoor, Facebook, Slack to help neighbors amid coronavirus. “Like so much of the world right now, helping neighbors at this moment is likely going to require moving some activities online. Mashable spoke with Prakash Janakiraman, co-founder and chief architect at Nextdoor, and Naomi Gleit, vice president of product at Facebook, about how to best support neighbors using each platform. They’re not the only digital tools you can use to help neighbors right now — there are likely creative ways to use almost any platform to help others — but some of Janakiraman and Gleit’s updated tools can fulfill specific neighborly tasks.”
New York Times: Porches, Yards, Driveways, Parking Lots: Where the Neighborhood Is Now. “We walk the dogs across the meadow in the rain. We don’t talk much. We say the same things over and over, and yet somehow there’s comfort in the repetition. Yesterday someone wrote on the town listserv that certain dog owners had been spotted in the meadow less than six feet away from each other. Suddenly, everybody’s a cop, yardsticks in their minds. People are scared, and with good reason. But distance — the idea of distance. Were we so close to begin with? How far will we be from each other after this is over? The dogs, off leash, circle back to us. I’ve got the sense they know what’s going on, if not the particulars. But something is most definitely up. For starters, how come we’re all home all the time?”
Phys .org: The community-led movement creating hope in the time of coronavirus. “COVID-19 represents a major rupture in the status quo and calls for new forms of response. Perhaps this is why thousands of new ‘mutual aid’ groups have sprung up internationally. Many of these groups have swelled to several thousand members within a few days….But the rapid growth of this movement creates a steep learning curve for group organizers. Just as in wider society, mutual aid groups must grapple with political differences and structural inequality.”
EHS Today: COVID Community Vulnerability Map Helps Allocate Resources. “The interactive map identifies populations down to the census block level that are at risk for severe outcomes upon contracting a virus like COVID. Severe outcomes include hospitalization, organ failure and mortality. Additionally, the map surfaces the socioeconomic and environmental factors, such as lack of access to transportation or nutritious food, that put patients at greater risk. The map is also overlaid with points of interest, such as hospitals, food sources and transportation, in relation to the at-risk communities.”
Lakeshore Public Radio: In Oregon, Neighbors Use Social Media To Offer — And Ask For — Help. “Orders to stay home leave many people glued to their screens. In rural Oregon, some people are turning their time on social media into tangible help for neighbors coping with coronavirus.”
The Verge: Nextdoor adds features to help neighbors during the coronavirus crisis. “Nextdoor, the social networking app designed around local communities, is launching a new interactive map to let neighbors offer help to one another during the novel coronavirus outbreak. Called Help Map, the tool lets you mark yourself as available to help with anything from grocery shopping to child care. It will be available in the US starting today and will come to international markets later this week.”
University of Maryland: College Park Community Of Lakeland To Get New Digital Archive. “A National Endowment for the Humanities grant will enhance the ability of Lakeland residents to manage their cultural heritage. In the late 19th century, a small African American community named Lakeland took root just beyond the grounds of what was then called the Maryland Agricultural College, now the University of Maryland. Lakeland thrived for decades, even in the face of historical forces like segregation, suburbanization, school desegregation and urban renewal, which plagued African American towns and cities across the nation throughout the 20th century.”