Urban Data Platform

Introduction to UDP

What is Urban Data Platform (UDP)?

  • UDP is a data system and analytic platform designed to improve our understanding of urban and regional economies
  • UDP provides high quality employment estimates by detailed industry for zip codes, counties, and MSAs across the U.S.
  • UDP data cover ~1,000 industries in ~3,200 counties and ~40,000 zip codes from 2003 to latest year of available data

Why was UDP developed?

  • Existing economic data suffer from two key problems: i) there is a trade-off between geographic and industry detail; and ii) data suppressions make high-quality analytics difficult to perform, especially for sub-MSA geographies
  • As US economic activity becomes more geographically concentrated and national and global competition accelerates the process of local and regional economic change, these shortcomings are too costly analytically and strategically

Benefits of UDP

  • Significant improvement in precision and accuracy over existing estimates
  • Consistent estimation methods allow for meaningful cross-sectional and time-series analyses, as well as robust peer comparisons
  • Platform approach is designed to continually improve estimation methods, while supporting development of analytic tools

Sample uses

  • Corridor, neighborhood, city, county, and regional economic and business development strategies
  • Traded cluster evaluation and strategy development
  • Measurement of industry / cluster agglomeration
  • Research on changing geography of US industries / clusters

High Quality Regional and Sub-regional Employment Estimates

County Business Patterns(CBP)

Published annually since 1964 by the U.S. Census Bureau, CBP provides information on establishments and employment for ~1,000 industries at zip code, county, state, MSA, and US geographies. Where data are suppressed, CBP use employment flags to provide information on size class, e.g., 0-19 employees, 20-99 employees, 100-249 employees, etc.

US Cluster Mapping (USCM)

Created by the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School, USCM provides data on cluster activity for counties, BEA Economic Areas, and Micropolitan and Metropolitan Statistical Areas. USCM utilizes CBP data, replacing employment flags with the mid-points of the range, e.g., 0-19 becomes 10 employees, 1000-2499 becomes 1750 employees, etc. Data are available for 67 clusters from 1998 to latest year of published CBP data.

Urban Data Platform (UDP)

Created by Mass Economics, UDP utilizes algorithms to translate CBP and Zip Code Business Pattern (ZBP) data into point estimates at zip code, county, state, MSA, and US geographies. Data are available from 2003 to most recent year of published CBP data. (In our opinion, pre-2003 data cannot be accurately bridged with later data.) Data are available for ~1,000 industries, >100 pre-defined clusters, and any user-defined cluster.

Sample Use: Calculating Life Sciences Employment Along Route 128 and I-495

Route 128
Route 128 Zip Codes
I-495 Zip Codes
Other Interstates
Life Sciences Employment 2016

Source: TEConomy Partners and Mass Economics, Public-Private Partnerships in Action: The Statewide Impact of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center on the Life Sciences Ecosystem. Prepared for Mass Life Sciences Center. April 2018

UDP: A New Industry Typology for Understanding Urban and Regional Economies

Traditional approaches classify individual industries as “local” or “traded.” However, based on analysis of ~11K zip codes and ~600 counties in the 100 largest MSAs, UDP has identified three distinct market areas: neighborhood, regional, and national/global. This improved understanding of industry market areas is critical for land use planning and for developing inclusive growth strategies.

1.) One industry moved from Local to National/Global (not shown in graphic)

Contribution of Neighborhood, Regional, & National/Global Industries to US Economy

Evidence of three distinct market areas and industry types is supported by information on sales, establishments, and wages.

Sample Application: The Phoenix Modern Economy Project

Source: Mass Economics, 2017

Stages of Innovation and Applying Those Stages to Tasks

The Innovation Trajectory

Moving from ideas to job creation is a staged process from ideation/research/discovery (I) to prototype development (P) to commercialization (C) to scaling (S). Once scaled, the product/service delivery can be classified as routine operations and management (R).

Assigning Categories to Tasks

Based on the description of 18,000 tasks performed by US workers, each task was assigned an (I), (P), (C), (S), or (R) based on the nature and function of the work. (In cases where a task was relevant to more than one stage, the “higher” stage was used.) Using occupation-task matrices, each occupation in the US economy was then assigned an (I ), (P), (C), (S), or (R) based on the relative importance of each type of activity. These “stages of innovation” analytics can be used to identify innovation strengths, gaps, and opportunities in districts, cities, and regions across the U.S.

Sample Application: Understanding Innovation Activity in Kendall Square

Kendall Square

Stage Jobs LQ
Ideation 9,600 5.7
Prototyping 8,400 1.4
Commercialization 7,800 2.6
Scaling 6,700 1.4
Routine Operations 25,700 0.6
Total 58,200

Source: Mass Economics, 2014 and 2016

Map Legend
ID anchors
Other ID assets
3 largest employers (private)