Jacob Douma

Ph.D. Geography
Graduate Assistant/Associate

Student Information

Graduate Student
The College of Lib Arts & Sci


Jacob is primarily a spatial economist with strong research interest in topics pertaining to the knowledge economy and the innovation and implementation processes of automation methods in the means of production such as artificial intelligence and robotics. The contemporary popular press has witnessed an emergence of prophetic reports and fanciful predictions on the emergence of automation. Therefore, it becomes increasingly necessary to disentangle, articulate, and formulate the mechanisms involved in the dynamics of technological advance in this realm. In particular, the geographic implications with respect to firms, industries, and labor skill-set compositions.

Jacob's current research work makes use of the techniques in the fields of spatial econometrics and network theory in a utilization of industry and patent data. He principally draws upon the historical record of past industrially transformative periods as well as the bodies of literature concerning urban systems and economic growth. Much of his work focuses on the regional-scale with metropolitan areas as the forefront.


Current projects include:

The development of a spatial propensity model and mapping of retailing establishments in a given metropolitan area most prone to converting to a warehousing and delivery exchange model as autonomous modes of transportation increase in availability and prevelence, focusing on Phoenix, AZ as the study area. A primary emphasis is made on urban freight. And the expected follow-up to this study will consist of potential changes to the urban morphology of retailing given current understandings of location theory.

An investigation and documentation of the current structure of the investing, ownership, and innovation networks of the nascent field of autonomous vehicles' research and development, with the history of the field placed into the context with its corresponding patenting activity. Additionally, a category-based disentanglement of which firms produce self-driving technologies as additive components to a given existing vehicle body.

A study of the technological relatedness and categorical spatial association of inventive work in the traditional automotive industry based on US Patent Technology Classifications and inventor residence where the relations uncovered in the concrete geographic space are utilized to represent the network mapping of the abstract technological space.


B.Sc. (2015) Geography and Economics, George Mason University

Google Scholar

Research Interests

Economic Geography
Invention and Innovation
Automotive Industry


Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
GPH 210 Society and Environment