In 2014, Google published a neighborhood map of Brooklyn, the most populous borough in New York City, a seemingly harmless step in providing its users with useful geographic boundary information. The backlash was swift.
Grant McKenzie is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at McGill University in Montréal, Canada where he leads the Platial Analysis Lab, an interdisciplinary research group that works at the intersection of data science and behavioural geography. Much of Dr. McKenzie’s work examines how human activities vary within and between local neighbourhoods and global communities. This has driven his applied interests in financial accessibility, geoprivacy, and micro-mobility services as well as the broader role that spatial data science plays at the intersection of information technologies and society. Dr. McKenzie is a founding member of the Seattle-based start-up consultancy Spatial Development International and has worked as a data scientist and software developer for a range of NGOs and leading technology companies.
Mikael Brunila is a PhD student in Geography at McGill University. He graduated in 2017 as a Fulbright scholar from the Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program at Columbia University. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minor subjects in Economics and Computer Science at the University of Helsinki in 2016. Brunila uses GIS, Bayesian inference and natural language processing to study semantic geographies in the sharing economy, governance through data science and machine learning as well as urban social movements. He previously worked as a journalist and has co-authored books on the far-right in Finland, on the implementation of zero tolerance politics against graffiti in Helsinki and on the political economy of the Internet. Brunila is also a member of the Urban Politics and Governance Lab lead by professor David Wachsmuth.