Cities

Welcome to the Neighborhood: What can Regional Science Contribute to the Study of Neighborhoods?

Welcome to the Neighborhood: What can Regional Science Contribute to the Study of Neighborhoods?
Journal of Regional Science

O'Regan, K. & Ellen, I.G.
01/13/2010

We argue in this paper that neighborhoods are highly relevant for the types of issues at the heart of regional science. First, residential and economic activity takes place in particular locations, and particular neighborhoods. Many attributes of those neighborhood environments matter for this activity, from the physical amenities, to the quality of the public and private services received. Second, those neighborhoods vary in their placement in the larger region and this broader arrangement of neighborhoods is particularly important for location choices, commuting behavior and travel patterns. Third, sorting across these neighborhoods by race and income may well matter for educational and labor market outcomes, important components of a region's overall economic activity. For each of these areas we suggest a series of unanswered questions that would benefit from more attention. Focused on neighborhood characteristics themselves, there are important gaps in our understanding of how neighborhoods change - the causes and the consequences. In terms of the overall pattern of neighborhoods and resulting commuting patterns, this connects directly to current concerns about environmental sustainability and there is much need for research relevant to policy makers. And in terms of segregation and sorting across neighborhoods, work is needed on better spatial measures. In addition, housing market causes and consequences for local economic activity are under researched. We expand on each of these, finishing with some suggestions on how newly available data, with improved spatial identifiers, may enable regional scientists to answer some of these research questions.

Welcome to the Neighborhood: What Can Regional Science Contribute to the Study of Neighborhoods?

Welcome to the Neighborhood: What Can Regional Science Contribute to the Study of Neighborhoods?
JOURNAL OF REGIONAL SCIENCE, VOL. 50, NO. 1, 2010, pp. 363-379

Ellen, I.G. & O'Regan, K.
01/13/2010

We argue in this paper that neighborhoods are highly relevant for the types of issues at the heart of regional science. First, residential and economic activity takes place in particular locations, and particular neighborhoods. Many attributes of those neighborhood environments matter for this activity, from the physical amenities, to the quality of the public and private services received. Second, those neighborhoods vary in their placement in the larger region and this broader arrangement of neighborhoods is particularly important for location choices, commuting behavior and travel patterns. Third, sorting across these neighborhoods by race and income may well matter for educational and labor market outcomes, important components of a region's overall economic activity. For each of these areas we suggest a series of unanswered questions that would benefit from more attention. Focused on neighborhood characteristics themselves, there are important gaps in our understanding of how neighborhoods change - the causes and the consequences. In terms of the overall pattern of neighborhoods and resulting commuting patterns, this connects directly to current concerns about environmental sustainability and there is much need for research relevant to policy makers. And in terms of segregation and sorting across neighborhoods, work is needed on better spatial measures. In addition, housing market causes and consequences for local economic activity are under researched. We expand on each of these, finishing with some suggestions on how newly available data, with improved spatial identifiers, may enable regional scientists to answer some of these research questions.

Age of Entry and the High School Performance of Immigrant Youth

Age of Entry and the High School Performance of Immigrant Youth
Journal of Urban Economics 67: 303-314

Stiefel, Leanna, Amy Ellen Schwartz, and Dylan Conger
01/01/2010

In 2005, immigrants exceeded 12% of the US population, with the highest concentrations in large metropolitan areas. While considerable research has focused on how immigrants affect local wages and housing prices, less research has asked how immigrants fare in US urban public schools. Previous studies find that foreign-born students outperform native-born students in their elementary and middle school years, but urban policymakers and practitioners continue to raise concerns about educational outcomes of immigrants arriving in their high school years.

The authors use data on a large cohort of New York City (NYC) public high school students to examine how the performance of students who immigrate during high school (teen immigrants) differs from that of students who immigrate during middle school (tween immigrants) or elementary school (child immigrants), relative to otherwise similar native-born students. Contrary to prior studies, their difference-in-difference estimates suggest that, ceteris paribus, teen immigrants do well compared to native-born migrants, and that the foreign-born advantage is relatively large among the teen (im)migrants. That said, their findings provide cause for concern about the performance of limited English proficient students, blacks and Hispanics and, importantly, teen migrants. In particular, switching school districts in the high school years - that is, student mobility across school districts - may be more detrimental than immigration per se. Results are robust to alternative specifications and cohorts, including a cohort of Miami students.

 

Crime and Urban Flight Revisited: The Effect of the 1990s Drop in Crime on Cities

Crime and Urban Flight Revisited: The Effect of the 1990s Drop in Crime on Cities
Journal of Urban Economics, 68 (3):247-259.

Ellen, I.G. & O'Regan, K.
01/01/2010

The ‘flight from blight' and related literatures on urban population changes and crime have primarily considered times of high or increasing crime rates. Perhaps the most cited recent work in this area, Cullen and Levitt (1999), does not extend through 1990s, a decade during which crime rates declined almost continuously, to levels that were lower than experienced in decades. This paper examines whether such declines contributed to city population growth and retention (abated flight). Through a series of population growth models that attempt to identify causality through several strategies (including instrumental variables) we find at best weak evidence that overall city growth is affected by changes in crime. We find no evidence that growth is differentially sensitive to reductions in crime, as compared to increases. Focusing more narrowly on within MSA migration, residential decisions that are more likely to be sensitive to local conditions, we do find evidence supporting abatement of ‘flight' - that is, lower levels of crime in central cities in the 1990s are associated with lower levels of migration to the suburbs. This greater ability to retain residents already in the city does not appear to be accompanied by a greater ability to attract new households from the suburbs, or from outside of the metropolitan area.

Do Public Schools Disadvantage Students Living in Public Housing?

Do Public Schools Disadvantage Students Living in Public Housing?
Urban Affairs Review, 46 (1):68-89.

Ellen, I.G., Schwartz, A.E., McCabe, B. & Chellman, C.
01/01/2010

In the United States, public housing developments are predominantly located in neighborhoods with low median incomes, high rates of poverty and disproportionately high concentrations of minorities. While research consistently shows that public housing developments are located in economically and socially disadvantaged neighborhoods, we know little about the characteristics of the schools serving students in these neighborhoods.

In this paper, the authors examine the characteristics of elementary and middle schools attended by students living in public housing developments in New York City. Using the proportion of public housing students attending each elementary and middle school as their weight, they calculate the weighted average of school characteristics to describe the typical school attended by students living in public housing. They then compare these characteristics to those of the typical school attended by other students throughout the city in an effort to assess whether public schools systematically disadvantage students in public housing in New York City. 

Their  results are decidedly mixed. On one hand, they find no large differences between the resources of the schools attended by students living in public housing and the schools attended by their peers living elsewhere in the city; on the other hand, they find significant differences in student characteristics and outcomes. The typical school attended by public housing students has higher poverty rates and lower average performance on standardized exams than the schools attended by others. These school differences, however, fail to fully explain the performance disparities: they find that students living in public housing score lower, on average, on standardized tests than their schoolmates living elsewhere -- even though they attend the same school. These results point to a need for more nuanced analyses of policies and practices in schools, as well as the outside-of-school factors that shape educational success, to identify and address the needs of students in public housing.

Infrastructure Impacts and Adaptation Challenges

Infrastructure Impacts and Adaptation Challenges
Chapter 4 in New York City Panel on Climate Change 2010 Report, Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk Management Response, C. Rosenzweig and W. Solecki, Eds. Prepared for use by the New York City Climate Change Adaptation Task Force.

Zimmerman, R. & Faris, C.
01/01/2010

Creating an overall climate change adaptation strategy for urban infrastructure poses considerable conceptual and operational challenges. An understanding of the characteristics of a city's infrastructure that make it particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change is a critical foundation for understanding the severity of the impacts and the means for adaptation. Historical events that have compromised a city's infrastructure under conditions similar to those associated with climate change also provide information about what a city might expect in the way of consequences from a future of increased temperatures, precipitation, and sea level rise. This chapter explores the challenges to climate change adaptation in major urban infrastructure sectors with a focus on New York City, draws lessons from adaptation efforts under way in other large metropolitan regions, and discusses the role of the private sector in urban adaptation.

New York City Quarterly Housing Update 2010: 3rd Quarter

New York City Quarterly Housing Update 2010: 3rd Quarter

Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.
01/01/2010

After analyzing six key indicators of housing market performance for the third quarter of 2010, NYU's Furman Center finds that New York City home prices are stabilizing, but still remain 22% below peak. The report also finds that a decrease in third-quarter foreclosure filings compared to last year may point to a slowdown in the foreclosure crisis. The Quarterly Housing Update incorporates sales data, development indicators and foreclosures, and presents a repeat sales index for each borough to capture price appreciation while controlling for housing quality.

Paradox and Collaboration in Network Management. Administration and Society

Paradox and Collaboration in Network Management. Administration and Society
Administration & Society July 2, 2010 vol. 42 no. 4 404-440

Ospina, S.
01/01/2010

Qualitative evidence from action networks is used to answer the research question, How do leaders of successful networks manage collaboration challenges to make things happen? This study of two urban immigration coalitions in the United States found that their leaders developed practices as a response to two paradoxical requirements of network collaboration: managing unity and diversity when doing inward work and confrontation and dialogue when doing outward work. By illuminating how leaders responded to these complex demands inherent in action networks, the authors open up the black box of managing whole networks of organizations and underscore the role of leadership in interorganizational collaboration.

Risk Communication for Catastrophic Events: Results from Focus Groups

Risk Communication for Catastrophic Events: Results from Focus Groups
Journal of Risk Reasearch

Zimmerman, R., Restrepo, C.E., Culpen, A., Remington, W.E., Kling, A., Portelli, I. & Foltin, G.
01/01/2010

Focus group methods are adapted here to address two important needs for risk communication: (1) to provide approaches to risk communication in very extreme and catastrophic events, and (2) to obtain risk communication content within the specific catastrophe area of chemical and biological attacks. Focus groups were designed and conducted according to well-established protocols using hypothetical sarin and smallpox attacks resulting in a chemical or biological release in a confined public space in a transit system. These cases were used to identify content for risk communication information and suggest directions for further research in this area. Common procedures for conducting focus groups were used based on an initial review of such procedures. Four focus groups - two for each type of release - each lasted about two hours. Participants were professionals normally involved in emergencies in health, emergency management, and transportation. They were selected using a snowball sampling technique. Examples of findings for approaches to communicating such risks included how information should be organized over time and how space, locations, and places should be defined for releases to anchor perceptions geographically. Examples of findings for risk communication content are based on how professionals reacted to risk communications used during the two hypothetical releases they were presented with and how they suggested using risk communications. These findings have considerable implications for using and structuring focus groups to derive risk communication procedures and types of content to be used in the context of catastrophes.

The Behavioral Dimension of Governing Inter-Organizational Goal Directed Networks: Managing the Unity/Diversity Tension

The Behavioral Dimension of Governing Inter-Organizational Goal Directed Networks: Managing the Unity/Diversity Tension
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory Second Author with A. Saz-Carranza

Ospina, S.
01/01/2010

Network management research documents how network members engage in activities to advance their own goals. However, this literature offers little insight into the nature of work that aims to advance the goals of the network as a “whole.” By examining the behavioral dimension of network governance, this article identifies a specific tension that network leaders address to effectively govern networks: although unity and diversity are essential to network performance, each makes contradictory demands which require attention. Findings from four case studies of immigrant networks in the United States point to three activities representing mechanisms that staff of network administrative organizations use to address this (network level) managerial tension. The study proposes that unity versus diversity represents a distinct challenge to the governance of networks that requires strategic action at the whole-network level and merits further study.

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