Commodity and Keeping it in the Family

A look at non-market transfers of market properties.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

11 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) TLDR Commodification of housing: what does it mean? Is it a problem? Can we decommodify housing? Can we establish a baseline for often this occurs in property transactions? Here we draw upon a recent Statistics Canada data release and older Census data to walk through some of these questions. Commodification in Property Transactions The commodification of housing has been identified as a problem to be resisted by a wide range of analysts and commentators.

Industrial Strength Zombies: Vancouver Edition

What industries are dominant in Vancouver? People throw around all kinds of crazy stories, time take a look at the data and put some zombies to rest. At least for a day or two before someone else digs them up again.

Jens von Bergmann Nathan Lauster

12 minute read

(Joint with Nathan Lauster and cross-posted at HomeFreeSociology) The “real estate has swallowed Vancouver’s economy” zombie is back, with wild claims by a City Councillor that “If you look at the long-form census data going back to 1986 every 5 years, […] we went from selling logs to selling real estate […], major shift from resource extraction to real estate property development and construction as the primary driver in the local economy.


Tongfen is now on CRAN, time for a short overview of what tongfen is and how it aids research on longitudinal spatial data on different yet congruent geographies.

Jens von Bergmann

12 minute read

The tongfen R package is now on CRAN, so it’s time for an overview post. Tongfen has changed a bit since it’s inception and is now a lot more flexible but slightly more abstract to use. What is tongfen? Tongfen, 通分 in Chinese, generally denotes the process of bringing two fractions onto the least common denominator. This is akin to the problem of making data on different but congruent geographies comparable by finding a least common geography.

Canadian 1996 Census

Expanding timelines, the Canadian 1996 census is now available on CensusMapper and via {cancensus}.

Jens von Bergmann

6 minute read

Canadian 1996 census data is now avaiable on CensusMapper for anyone to make maps, for API access and via the {cancensus} R package. Yay! The geographic data is not freely available from Statistics Canada, but can be custom ordered (via a small processing fee). Now the data is freely available on CensusMapper. The geographic data is slightly processed, we clipped out water areas and geographies from CSD upward are slightly simplified for better mapping performance as usual on CensusMapper.

Toward universal TongFen: Change in polling district voting patterns

Expanding tongfen to arbitrary geometries, with an example application to Canadian federal election polling districts.

Jens von Bergmann

14 minute read

Geographic data often comes on different geographic breakdowns. A prime example is census data, where the underlying census geographies can change from census year to census year. This makes it difficult to compare census data across censuses. But comparing census data across censuses at fine geographies is important for many applications. There are two main ways how people deal with this problem. Estimate data for one of the two geographies by (usually at some point) relying on area-weighted interpolation.