New Paper and Updated Software

My R package areal, which implements a reproducible workflow for areal weighted interpolation, has been updated on CRAN. This is a joint effort with recent SLU graduate Charlie Revord. A paper summarizing our work has also been recently published in The Journal of Open Source Software.

Package Website

Selected Publications

selection of recent work

Population data are often available at various levels of aggregation, such as census tracts or block groups in the United States or output areas in the United Kingdom. These units are often drawn for convenience and not because they represent some commonly accepted area in residents’ lived experiences. Despite this, researchers often use them as proxies for neighborhoods since they come with readily available demographic data. Researchers who do wish to move past these proxies and produce population estimates for other geographies typically resort to developing their own, often manual, implementations of the areal weighted interpolation workflow. This paper summarizes software developed for the programming language R aims to reduce the barriers to the implementation of areal interpolation in spatial researchers’ work. The software provides a reproducible process for validiating and estimating population values, and also offers a number of approaches for estimating those values.
In Journal of Urban Affairs, 2019

As part of a larger project to understand the relative health and disorder of St. Louis City neighborhoods, this paper presents estimates of vacancy that are considerably higher than previously published ones. We find vacancy to be heavily clustered in the city’s disinvested and segregated North side, a phenomenon we term ‘urban prairie’. We also identify both long-term population loss since 1970 and the proportion of African American residents as significant covariates associated with the amount of urban prairie land per neighborhood.
In Journal of Urban Affairs, 2018

Recent Publications

peer reviewed work

. areal: An R package for areal weighted interpolation. In Journal of Urban Affairs, 2019.

PDF Project Website

. The Double Stigma of Limited Literacy and Mental Illness: Examining Barriers to Recovery and Participation among Public Mental Health Service Users. In Society and Mental Health, 2017.

PDF Project

. Emergency medical services and 'psych calls': Examining the work of urban EMS providers. In American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2015.

PDF Project

. Movement Building and the United States Social Forum. In Social Movement Studies, 2014.


. The Need for Trauma-Sensitive Language Use in Literacy and Health Literacy Screening Instruments. In Journal of Health Communication, 2013.

PDF Project

. Dualism, Job Polarization, and the Social Construction of Precarious Work. In Work and Occupations, 2012.



recent talks and lectures

Coffee and Conversation - Street Barriers in St. Louis
Apr 10, 2018 4:00 PM
SLU DSS - Protecting Your Data Brownbag
Sep 6, 2017 2:00 PM
Closing the Gateway: Street Barriers as Public Policy in St. Louis, MO
Apr 21, 2017 2:00 PM


R packages

In addition to the R packages being developed as part of the SLU openGIS project, which are all focused on St. Louis data or on working with spatial data more generally, Chris also maintains a number of stand-alone R packages:


Project Website GitHub CRAN


Website GitHub CRAN


research efforts



Multiple R packages for using data about St. Louis and curated spatial data


R package for drift correcting continuous water quality monitoring data

Detrimental Influences

Historic redlining, contemporary segregation, and health

Ecometric St. Louis

Vacancy, crime, neighborhood disorder, and street closures in St. Louis

Literacy and mental illness

Examining the effect of limited literacy on mental health service users

Urban EMS Work

Examining tensions and spatial patterns in urban ambulance work


courses and seminars

Upcoming Fall 2019 Courses

Past and Future Courses

Other Teaching Activities


get in touch