Urban Spatial consults at the intersection of data science and public policy. Founded in 2014 by Dr. Ken Steif, Urban Spatial combines spatial analysis, econometrics and predictive analytics to help government, business and the non-profit sector more efficiently allocate their limited resources across space. While our placed-based emphasis makes us unique, our real value-added is our ability to work across multiple related domains including urban economics, housing, neighborhoods, city & environmental planning, business siting, governance, economic development, public safety and beyond.

Ken Steif, PhD – Founder – @KenSteif

Ken Steif was at the forefront of data driven public policy for more than a dozen years.  He combined technical knowledge of Geographic Information Systems and applied statistics with an interest in housing policy, education, the economics of neighborhood change, transportation policy and more.  Ken was the Director of the Master of Urban Spatial Analytics at the University of Pennsylvania and taught multiple courses in the City Planning department at Penn. His work focused on the costs and benefits of gentrification; on the Philadelphia school crisis and the connection between good schools and neighborhood economic development; and on the use of machine learning to help democratize the planning process.  He was a resident of West Philadelphia where he lived with his wife Diana and their two sons, Emil and Malcolm. Ken passed away in September of 2021.

Michael Fichman, Research Analyst

Michael is a City Planner with experience in numerous forms of quantitative and qualitative research. He has consulting and research experience in geospatial analysis, predictive modeling, environmental planning, affordable housing development, transportation economics, strategic planning and surveying. He holds a Masters in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Biology from Haverford College. He spent over a decade in the music industry – as a performer, composer and record label executive.  He is also an accomplished freelance journalist. Michael has written about sports, politics, food and more for the Philadelphia Weekly, Vice Magazine and other outlets.

Sydney Goldstein, Data Science Fellow

Sydney focuses on the intersection of city planning and data analytics. She holds a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and her previous research has explored expanding economic opportunities in underserved areas through job creation, education, and place-based investments. Combining her interest in community development with spatial analytics, she has worked to inform policy and resource allocation by developing data tools for stakeholders, such as a foreclosure early warning system that helps community lawyers better allocate their limited outreach efforts to residents at risk of property tax foreclosure.