- Centers & Projects
- ISERP Sponsored Events
- Research Support
Geographic Information Systems
The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), an interdisciplinary social science research institute at Columbia University, has been building their GIS infrastructure and integrating spatial perspectives into their social science teaching and research since the fall of 2001. ISERP uses spatial data to examine the implications of the built environment, including land use, public transit, and housing, for physical activity, diet, obesity, and other aspects of health. With a focus on New York City, ISERP’s research will inform public policy to promote health in the city and metropolitan area. ISERP’s GIS research capabilities are broad, but focus specifically on urban form and in developing spatial data analysis methods for measuring the impacts of the built environment on physical activity and nutrition-related health outcomes. ISERP has a spatial data repository and extensive knowledge of New York City’s built environment. These are being used to assemble a large array of indicators, including measures of land use, the pedestrian and automobile infrastructure, urban design, demographics, and the retail environment.
ISERP GIS Collaborations
ISERP also participates in the AQF-funded GIS initiative, a collaborative partnership to promote spatial social science research, training, and capacity building at Columbia. Through this collaboration ISERP has built strong working relationships with the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP), the Center for Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), and the University's Information Services and Libraries, including the Electronic Data and GIS Services (EDS) in Lehman Library, Academic Information Services (AcIS), and the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL).
Outside Columbia ISERP has also worked closely on GIS related project with partners including the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Project for Public Spaces, Transportation Alternatives, and the Food Trust.
In February of this year, ISERP’s Senior GIS Analyst held a workshop as part of the Electronic Data Service (EDS) GIS Workshop Series titled, “An Introduction to GIS for the Social Sciences.” The workshop introduced participants to the application of GIS as an analytical tool for the social sciences with the intent of teaching participants how to think spatially and how GIS could be integrated into their own research. This workshop will continue to be offered on a semester basis through EDS. In July, an additional workshop titled, “An Introduction to GIS,” was held for the ISERP summer internship program. A more robust version of this workshop will be offered later this fall to Columbia's Health & Society Scholars Program (H&SS).
GIS Technical & Research Support
Technical support has included the production of maps for manuscript publication and site selection, proximity analysis, answering software “how-to” questions, and providing information on availability of NYC data sources to be used for spatial analyses. Research support spans a diverse range of projects, including childhood asthma in major US cities; the prevalence of autism in California; safe walking routes to schools, measuring access to safe, healthy, and affordable food in lower-income neighborhoods, proximity to and quality of parks and playgrounds, measuring aesthetic features of urban environments, examining spatial accessibility to basic neighborhood retail services, characterization of school districts and New York City Housing Authority sites, and measuring whether living in a “naturally occurring retirement community” is associated with lower body mass index among elderly residents of NYC.
ISERP GIS Staff
For more information on some of the GIS related projects mentioned above, please visit The Built Environment & Health project web-site, at http://beh.columbia.edu/.
Click here to learn more about all GIS services at Columbia University.
To inquire about GIS services at ISERP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.