Combining the theoretical with the practical
Master in City Planning student, Robert Manduca, went to Chile for an experience that would combine his training in theoretical urban economics with that in data mining and statistics. He found that at Urbana E&D, a small urban design consultancy.
Using data downloaded from a popular housing website, Robert worked to construct a spatial econometric model of land prices in Santiago, identifying neighborhoods that appear undervalued as potential sites for land investment. Working with a Chilean economist, he created statistical representations of concepts from urban economics, and then fine-tuned the models using methods from his data mining classes.
His work was able to produce a clear recommendation on the optimal level of complexity for this model, based on the type of data available and the intended uses. He will be using similar statistical methods in his Master's thesis.