The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


Neave O'Clery | Informal workers, firms and Covid in Colombian cities

09 December 2020, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm

CASA Seminar Series 2020/21

Event Information

Open to





Dr Max Nathan

The world is becoming more urban every day. According to the UN, 55% of the world’s population is concentrated in urban areas, a figure that is likely to increase to 68% in the next thirty years. This process presents enormous social, economic and environmental challenges, particularly in developing countries where most of the growth in urban population will take place. Addressing these challenges is made more difficult due to the fact that there is a significant gap in our understanding of the drivers and processes underlying informal work which represents up to 90% of workers in many Latin American cities.

Here we will look at a trilogy of work on informal work and mobility in Colombian cities including:

  • A model that explains the potential of a city to grow its formal employment rate by building on its current skill based to move into new complex industries;
  • An analysis of the impact of COVID lockdown policy severity and local economic factors on urban mobility patterns using mobile phone data
  • A machine learning approach to uncovering the spatial distribution of visible commercial firms in Medellin.

This is an Online Event. Please sign up via Eventbrite by clicking Book Now above. CASA staff and students can join directly via the link we'll share beforehand.  

About the Speaker

Neave O'Clery

Associate Professor in Applied Urban Sciences at CASA, UCL

Originally from Dublin, Neave is currently Associate Professor at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London where she leads a research group focused on data-driven models for economic development and the emergence of complexity for urban systems.

She was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford. Before this she was a Fulbright Scholar and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School following my PhD (mathematics) at Imperial College. She is also founder and Editor in Chief of Angle – a journal based at Imperial College focusing on the intersection of policy, politics and science – since 2009.


More about Neave O'Clery