NYU Alumni and NYU Marron COVID-19 Webinar Recap

Several Marron faculty participated in a webinar organized by the NYU Alumni Association. In this session, “Research for Impact,” Marron Director and Director of the Litmus Program, Angela Hawken, Director of the Urban Expansion Program, Solly Angel, and Director of the Civic Analytics Program, Constantine Kontokosta, each profiled their current work on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hawken on education: “We are very concerned about educational deserts that are emerging. It’s one thing for teachers to provide resources online to children—it doesn’t mean that the kids can actually access them.” She described her team’s collaboration with ReadWorks, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit, and how together they will be tracking education gaps and the digital divide, which are being magnified with school closures due to COVID-19.

Angel on metropolitan statistical areas: “The Chicago metropolitan area, for example, spans three states and contains no less than 1,550 local authorities, many of which are incorporated with their own police force and planning department. Its governance is fragmented, too fragmented for a coordinated response to COVID-19. One important lesson from this pandemic is that we have neglected to take metropolitan coordination seriously for way too long. We now have to empower metropolitan coordination, not only for transport, pollution, and waste management, but for public health as well.”

Kontokosta on 311 social-distancing complaints: “We are going to be able to look at the complaints, where do people complain about people not following social distancing orders and then look at the actual data about activity in those areas to understand how reporting and perceived measures of social distancing impact what’s happening on the ground....This will ultimately better inform policy and other behavioral interventions to improve the understanding and effectiveness of social-distancing efforts.” 

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