Patrick Ballantyne Bio

12 Oct 2021

2021 Winner of the Robin Flowerdew Award for Best Postgraduate Paper at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference

Patrick Ballantyne, University of Liverpool - “American Retail Centre Geographies: Centres, Characteristics and Catchments”

Patrick Ballantyne

Hi, my name is Patrick, and I am a final year PhD student based in the Geographic Data Science Lab at the University of Liverpool. My PhD research has largely focused on understanding different retail environments, through the use of large point of interest (POI) and mobility datasets, and advanced quantitative and spatial methodologies. I am thrilled to have been awarded the Robin Flowerdew award for best postgraduate paper at the RGS-IBG annual conference for 2021. It is a great honour to receive this prize, which is in memory of a geographer with an incredible legacy in the field of quantitative geography and methods; Robin Flowerdew. I would also like to thank the independent peer reviewers (Qunshan Zhao and Stefano De Sabbata) for awarding this prize to my paper.

The paper in question, entitled ‘American Retail Centre Geographies: Centres, Characteristics and Catchments’, explores three key aspects of retail centre geographies for the national extent of the USA; where they are located, what characteristics they have and who uses them. Using data from SafeGraph Inc., we identify the retail centre boundaries (where) using a custom neighbour searching algorithm built for the H3 spatial indexing system, we extract a non-hierarchical, data-driven retail centre typology (what), and a bespoke Huff model is constructed to extract catchments (who), calibrated using a large-scale mobility dataset. The map below presents a visualisation of the output from this clustering process.

Map from the paper

I am currently in the final couple of weeks of writing up this paper, which forms the second paper of my PhD, and I am excited (and also nervous) to begin the publication process with it. If you are interested in the project and its development over the coming months, please check out the GitHub repo for the project, where you will find code and my slides from the RGS-IBG annual conference.