How an astrophysicist is contributing to Baltimore's blight fight - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Mar. 7, 2017 11:46 am

How an astrophysicist is contributing to Baltimore’s blight fight

CityLab highlighted the work of Hopkins astrophysicist Tamas Budavari. “Just like how galaxies cluster in the universe, houses also cluster in the city,” he said.

Amine Ouazad's map of Baltimore vacant houses. Dark red represents the highest density of vacants.

(Screenshot)

We’ve seen maps that use data to address Baltimore’s notorious issue with vacant homes. But at Johns Hopkins, experts are using a strategy originally used for spotting far-off galaxies.

In an article Monday, CityLab highlighted the city’s partnership with Hopkins astrophysicist Tamas Budavari. He’s using big data in a way that is often used by astronomers.

Working with doctoral student Phil Garboden, Budavari is developing a database of the city’s housing stock, and a tool to predict the likelihood of a house becoming abandoned.

“Just like how galaxies cluster in the universe, houses also cluster in the city,” Budavari told CityLab. “So if you have a vacant house in a given place, there’s a higher probability of finding other ones next to it.”

They are looking to expand their work to other cities, as well.

Read the full story

The partnership was through Hopkins’ 21st Century Cities program, which is accepting new grant applications through March 24.

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