USC Price School of Public Policy

Urban Planning & Spatial Analysis:

Kim op-ed in The Atlantic: ‘Satellite images can harm the poorest citizens’

June 11, 2018

The Atlantic published an op-ed by USC Price Associate Professor Annette Kim, director of the Spatial Analysis Lab (SLAB), on how computer analysis of satellite images for developing cities will often overlook some urban communities whose settlements are unplanned; and as a result, many of the poorest residents are harmed by inadequately distributing public services. “When smart-city institutions rely on computer algorithms to expedite their work, they can embed unintended bias into municipal operations, resulting in things like racially biased criminal sentencing, information searching, and financial access,” she wrote. By tracking informal urbanization, cities can better prepare these regions for disasters and include them within the scope of transportation and infrastructure development.