Jeremy Auerbach
  • Room 02.007B - Geography Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

20092022

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Focus

Jeremy’s research is devoted to the development of applied spatial data science techniques to help expose and reduce housing and health disparities in the urban environment. The ultimate intent of this research is for social good, and it is grounded in a desire to provide data informed planning and policy solutions that can lead to improving the quality of life for all. Through a transdisciplinary and multiscalar his research conceptualizes socio-spatial issues and problems from a combination of lenses, such as health and feminism. Through community-engaged work, he is developing quantitative techniques that are both conceptually and practically powerful and accessible for non-technical audiences and aimed to address the community’s specific data needs and issues.

Poor home conditions, increased housing costs, reduced housing consistency, and poor neighborhood context, impact those at the margins the most, creating and magnifying disparities and contributing to significant negative health outcomes. Yet, the relationship between housing and health is not fully understood and regulatory policy is often lacking in light of the gaps in knowledge and current trends in the political economy. This is problematic, as this “slow violence” is now accelerating and worsening with extreme climate events, an aging housing stock, and reduced housing affordability and accessibility.

Housing Quality: Victims of Historical and Current Redevelopments. Jeremy is part of an interdisciplinary team investigating the lifelong effects of chemical exposures in the home using granular health and environmental data. Funded by the US EPA, their objective is to link chemical, social, and physical exposures to respiratory (e.g., asthma), neurodevelopmental (e.g., ADHD), and injury (e.g., fractures) outcomes.

Decades of public housing disinvestment have resulted in a dilapidated and aging public housing stock in the US. Much of this housing stock is sitting on valuable urban core land which has now been infiltrated by private investors. Under the guise of providing residents with new homes, public housing agencies have made contracts with private investors and developers to replace the housing with mixed-income mixed-use developments. As a member of another interdisciplinary team, Jeremy has been involved with documenting the health of a community and its residents living under one such redevelopment in the US (Auerbach, Clark & Munoz, 2021).

Housing Context: The Walkable City. The outdoor built environment also plays a significant role in human activity and health, and Jeremy’s research includes novel methods for evaluating transportation design and its impacts on public and active commuting. This work includes new measures of connectivity useful measuring transportation network resilienc and for public transit design (Auerbach & Kim, 2021b). In light of the current trends in school siting and residential development, Jeremy worked with city and transportation planners to create network optimization algorithms that identified new thoroughfares that maximized the potential for student walkability to nearby schools, while minimizing the costs of construction (Auerbach & Kim, 2021a). Results showed that additional short and inexpensive thoroughfares can have significant positive effects on student activity, health, and academic achievement while reducing pollution, accidents, and the economic costs of busing students (Auerbach, Fitzhugh & Zavisca, 2021).

Housing Cost & Consistency: Participatory Action Research. Reducing health inequities also requires combatting state and market policies that commodify and financialize housing and displace long-term residents and destroy urban communities. Community-informed and evidence-based policies are needed to combat the drivers of displacement, which can be identified with a combination of participatory practices and critical cartography.

For a city neighborhood organization in the US, he led an interdisciplinary group of graduate and undergraduate students in the development of machine learning methods that show urban renewal projects have an immense impact on residential property values and thereby displace fixed or low-income homeowners. These findings showed that a local anti-displacement fund would be insufficient to protect the community and were incorporated into an interactive web-based map for community residents (Auerbach et al., 2020).

Jeremy was awarded a grant to lead a multidisciplinary team to produce an Equitable Development Plan for an urban LatinX community coalition that is fighting against gentrification-led displacement. This Plan draws on community participation, public data, and critical theory in order to identify displacement drivers (e.g., speculative investing such as the ownership of 3+ properties) and evaluate policies that help mitigate displacement from urban renewal and gentrification (e.g., an affordable housing preference policy) (https://www.wedecidethefuture.net/; Munoz et al., 2021).

Building on his experiences conducting participatory action research, Jeremy considers ethics in community engagement, the politics of data collection through participant observation, and reciprocity and reflexivity in knowledge production (Auerbach et al., 2019). More recently, Jeremy is working to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted PAR (Munoz et al., 2021; Auerbach et al., 2022).

Teaching

Advanced GIS (GGY3060)

Geographies of Economic Restructuring and Social Change (GGY2044)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

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