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comment by veen
veen  ·  283 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: MIT Media Lab uses Machine Learning to Quantify Neighborhood Improvements

    The finding that variables that predict the level of Streetscore in 2007 also predict the change in Streetscore between 2007 and 2014 seems to support a positive feedback loop—the essence of tipping models.

In the article I'm writing, I make a very similar argument in the realm of transportation: that better-off places are often improved more than worse-off places, making inequality worse. There, I trace the existence of the feedback loop to problematic assumptions in cost-benefit analysis continually tipping the balance in favor of the well-off.

I wonder what keeps the feedback loop going in this case? My guess is that property value and taxes lead to a virtuous cycle, but I don't know enough about that to say for sure.

kleinbl00  ·  283 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Differentiate what you've discovered from Broken Windows Theory.

veen  ·  283 days ago  ·  link  ·  

As I understand it, both describe injustice increasing but in different ways and scopes. Broken Windows is an unstable system (a small deviation from the norm directly causes more and more issues) whereas the tipping theory they describe is a stable system that is inherently unfair (if a neighborhood is good, it'll increase more than bad neighborhoods). It's "spiraling out of control" versus "increasingly unjust".

Broken Windows is about a direct criminological cause and effect: if there's a broken window, anything within eye sight is at risk. The problems they (and I) are thinking about are more structural, at a larger scale and much more indirect, e.g. nice streets increase property value which increases tax revenue which increases government spending to those streets.

(Also, Broken Windows has been heavily scrutinized in case you didn't already know that.)

kleinbl00  ·  283 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There are two forks to Broken Window Theory, one of which deals with property and the other of which deals with society. The side that liberals love to pick on is the side that Rudi Giuliani used to crack skulls all across Manhattan. The side that sociologists pick on less is the one relate to graffiti and litter.

But, I mean, all roads lead to Zimbardo and there are no looser cannons in psychology. But when the theory was proposed in the Atlantic, they were using the "common knowledge" that buildings with broken windows end up with more broken windows and then extending it to criminology.

It ends up being a chicken-egg problem, and that's why I asked - spaces that people are invested in, they improve. Places that they don't invest in, they don't. My read on the article is that a space needs to be above a certain threshold before people will invest in it and the threshold, from my read of the study, was not conclusively found, thus my question.