Urban Planning

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 Research Vol. 13 No. 7, 2010, pp. 913-35.

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.

Transportation Recovery in an Age of Disasters

Transportation Recovery in an Age of Disasters
Proceedings of the Transportation Research Board 89th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC

Zimmerman, R.
01/01/2010

Disasters from terrorism, natural hazards and accidents are now becoming commonplace and may be increasing as a major threat against the viability of transportation infrastructure and the invaluable social services it provides. The paper first sets forth the nature of the threats and hazards transportation infrastructure faces. This provides the foundation for understanding the need to develop an integrated and common set of solutions that incorporates co-benefits to solve more than one problem at the same time, that is, simultaneously for different kinds of hazards, different types of infrastructures, and infrastructures that affect or have interdependencies with transportation. Types of funding sources and innovative technologies that are becoming available to support protection and recovery are discussed in terms of their ability to integrate multiple hazards and address areas of need.

Does the Built Environment Affect the Utility of Walking? A Case of Path Choice in Downtown Boston.

Does the Built Environment Affect the Utility of Walking? A Case of Path Choice in Downtown Boston.
Transportation Research D: Transport and Environment, Vol. 14, pp. 343-352 

Guo, Z.
07/01/2009

There is a lack of consensus as to whether the relationship between the built environment and travel is causal and, if it is, the extent of this causality. This problem is largely caused by inappropriate research designs adopted in many studies. This paper proposes a new method (based on path choice) to investigate the causal effect of the pedestrian environment on the utility of walking. Specifically, the paper examines how the pedestrian environment affects subway commuters' egress path choice from a station to their workplaces in downtown Boston. The path-based measure is sensitive enough to capture minor differences in the environment experienced by pedestrians. More importantly, path
choice is less likely to correlate with job and housing location choices, and therefore largely avoids the self-selection problem. The results suggest that the pedestrian environment can significantly affect a person's walking experience and the utility of walking along a path.

Evidence-Based Management in Healthcare

Evidence-Based Management in Healthcare
Chicago:  Health Administration Press,

Kovner, A.R., Fine, D.R. & D'Aquila, R.
04/01/2009

Too often in the fast-moving healthcare field, decision makers rely primarily on what has worked before. Evidence-Based Management in Healthcare explains how healthcare leaders can move from making educated guesses to using the best available information to make decisions.

Learn what evidence-based management (EB management) is and how it can focus thinking and clarify the issues surrounding a decision. The book provides a straightforward process for asking the right questions, gathering supporting information from various sources, evaluating the information, and applying it to solve management challenges.

Numerous real-life examples illustrate how the EB management approach is used in a variety of situations, from inpatient bed planning to operating room scheduling to leadership development. These examples also demonstrate the potential costs and benefits of EB management.

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