Robert Manduca: Analysis of Activity Space Segregation Using Cell Phone Data


Thursday, March 5, 2015, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


William James Hall 450

Urban and Social Processes Workshop presentation by Robert Manduca, Harvard University.

Robert Manduca | |

 Abstract: Few topics in sociology are as well-studied as segregation. But most research has focused on residential segregation, looking at where people live rather than where they spend time during the day. In this paper we use a dataset of cell phone call records to investigate segregation in "activity spaces," the set of locations that individuals routinely visit. Preliminary results suggest that activity spaces are indeed segregated, with census tracts whose residents' activity spaces overlap being much more similar on a host of demographic and economic characteristics than would be expected due to chance or even based on physical proximity.

 Informal Discussion Session: What are the promises and limitations of the “activity space” construct? How can routine activity theory help us understand the social organization of the city and help us conceptualize exposure to ‘neighborhood effects’?


 Browning, Christopher R. and Brian Soller. 2014. “Moving Beyond Neighborhood: Activity Spaces and Ecological Networks as Contexts for Youth Development.” Cityscape (Washington, D.C.) 16(1):165–96.