Urban Policy

Dispelling An Urban Legend: Frequent Emergency Department Users Have Substantial Burden Of Disease

Dispelling An Urban Legend: Frequent Emergency Department Users Have Substantial Burden Of Disease
Health Affairs, 32, no.12 (2013):2099-2108

Billings, John and Maria C. Raven
12/01/2013

Urban legend has often characterized frequent emergency department (ED) patients as mentally ill substance users who are a costly drain on the health care system and who contribute to ED overcrowding because of unnecessary visits for conditions that could be treated more efficiently elsewhere. This study of Medicaid ED users in New York City shows that behavioral health conditions are responsible for a small share of ED visits by frequent users, and that ED use accounts for a small portion of these patients’ total Medicaid costs. Frequent ED users have a substantial burden of disease, and they have high rates of primary and specialty care use. They also have linkages to outpatient care that are comparable to those of other ED patients. It is possible to use predictive modeling to identify who will become a repeat ED user and thus to help target interventions. However, policy makers should view reducing frequent ED use as only one element of more-comprehensive intervention strategies for frequent health system users.

Buying Sky: The Market for Transferable Development Rights in New York City

Buying Sky: The Market for Transferable Development Rights in New York City
Furman Center Policy Brief; October 2013

The Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy
10/22/2013

New York City’s zoning code (known as the “Zoning Resolution”) regulates land use in part by limiting the square footage of the building that landowners can develop on their property. Some buildings are built below the applicable limit—because they are constrained by other regulations such as historic preservation rules, they were built subject to earlier, more-restrictive zoning rules, or the owner chose to develop the property less intensely than the zoning allows because of market conditions or other considerations applicable when the building was built. The Zoning Resolution provides limited opportunities for an owner of land that is less than fully developed to transfer her unused development rights to other properties. This enables the recipients of those development rights (known at that point as “transferrable development rights,” “TDRs,” or “air rights”) to develop larger buildings than the Zoning Resolution otherwise permits, while the seller loses the right to ever use those rights on her own property.

Home parking convenience, household car usage, and implications to residential parking policies

Home parking convenience, household car usage, and implications to residential parking policies
Transport Policy, 29, 97-106

Guo, Zhan
09/16/2013

This paper investigates the effect of home parking convenience on households' car usage, and the implications to residential parking policies. A random sample of 840 households is selected from a travel survey in the New York City region, and their home parking types are identified through Google Street View. It found that with the same car ownership level, households without off-street parking used cars much less, and relied more on alternative modes than those with off-street parking. For households with access to both garage and street parking, those who use the handy street parking tend to make more car tours than those who do not. In general, convenient home parking encourages households' car usage. Policy implications to the minimum off-street parking requirement, residents parking permit, street cleaning, and new urbanism neighborhood design are discussed.

From minimum to maximum: The impact of parking standard reform on residential parking supply in London

From minimum to maximum: The impact of parking standard reform on residential parking supply in London
Urban Studies, 50 (6), 1181 - 1198. doi: 10.1177/0042098012460735

Guo, Z and S Ren
05/01/2013

This research examines residential parking supply in London before and after the minimum off-street parking standard was replaced by a maximum one in 2004. Based on 11 428 residential developments after and 216 developments before the reform, it is found that parking supply was reduced by approximately 40 per cent. Ninety-eight per cent was caused by the removal of the minimum standard, while only 2 per cent was due the imposition of the maximum standard. However, the parking supply is actually higher in areas with the highest density and the best transit service than in the areas immediately outside; the adopted maximum standard follows a similar pattern. The market-oriented approach to parking regulation can reduce excessive parking, but it depends on the particular sub-markets. Complementary policies such as strict parking maxima, on-street parking controls and parking taxes are often necessary to form an efficient parking market.

Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress toward Racial Equality

Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress toward Racial Equality
University of Chicago Press

Sharkey, P.
04/01/2013

In the 1960s, many believed that the civil rights movement’s successes would foster a new era of racial equality in America. Four decades later, the degree of racial inequality has barely changed. To understand what went wrong, Patrick Sharkey argues that we have to understand what has happened to African American communities over the last several decades. In Stuck in Place, Sharkey describes how political decisions and social policies have led to severe disinvestment from black neighborhoods, persistent segregation, declining economic opportunities, and a growing link between African American communities and the criminal justice system.

As a result, neighborhood inequality that existed in the 1970s has been passed down to the current generation of African Americans. Some of the most persistent forms of racial inequality, such as gaps in income and test scores, can only be explained by considering the neighborhoods in which black and white families have lived over multiple generations. This multigenerational nature of neighborhood inequality also means that a new kind of urban policy is necessary for our nation’s cities. Sharkey argues for urban policies that have the potential to create transformative and sustained changes in urban communities and the families that live within them, and he outlines a durable urban policy agenda to move in that direction.

 

Winner of the Mirra Komarovsky Book Award, Eastern Sociological Society.

Winner of The American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE Award) in Sociology and Social Work. ​

Duet of the commons: Impact of street cleaning on household car usage in New York City

Duet of the commons: Impact of street cleaning on household car usage in New York City
Journal of Planning Education and Research, 33, 1, 34-48. doi: 10.1177/0739456X12459360

Guo, Z and P Xu
03/05/2013

This article explores the concept of “public commons” and its relationship with travel decisions under a unique setting: street cleaning in the New York City area. Using a natural experimental design, it investigates the impact of street cleaning on car usage for five hundred randomly selected households. Street cleaning encourages car usage for households without off-street parking and discourages car usage for households with off-street parking. The net effect is an increase of vehicle miles traveled by 7.1 percent, at least 27 percent of which is not a mere redistribution from non-street-cleaning days.

Hong Kong and Other World Cities

Hong Kong and Other World Cities
In Aging in Hong Kong: A comparative perspective. pp. 5 - 30. Woo, J (ed.) Springer Publishing Company

Rodwin, VG.
01/01/2013

With population aging and increasing urbanization, it is important to examine the quality of life of older people living in cities, in particular world cities. However, few comparative studies of world cities examine their health, long-term care systems, or the characteristics of their older populations. To assess how well world cities are addressing the challenges associated with aging populations, it is helpful to review comparable data on the economic and health status of older persons, as well as the availability and use of health, social, and long-term care services. By extending the work of the “CADENZA: A Jockey Club Initiative for Seniors” Project and the World Cities Project, this chapter compares three world cities—Hong Kong, New York City, and London. The three world cities are similar in the size and proportion of their older populations, but the characteristics of older people and the health and long-term care systems available to them differ in significant ways. These comparisons reveal how Hong Kong, New York City, and London are responding to a rapidly aging population. They should be valuable to other cities that face the challenges of population aging.

What Can We Learn About the Low Income Housing Tax Credit By Examining the Tenants?

What Can We Learn About the Low Income Housing Tax Credit By Examining the Tenants?
Housing Policy Debate.

Horn, Keren and Katherine O'Regan
01/01/2013

Using tenant-level data from 18 states that represent almost 40% of all Low-Income Housing Tax Credit units, this article examines tenant incomes, rental assistance, and rent burdens to shed light on key questions about our largest federal supply-side affordable housing program. Specifically, what are the incomes of the tenants, and does this program reach those with extremely low incomes? What rent burdens are experienced, and is economic diversity within developments achieved? We find that approximately 45% of tenants have extremely low incomes, and the overwhelming majority of such tenants also receive some form of rental assistance. Rent burdens are lower than that for renters with similar incomes nationally but generally higher than that presumed for housing programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Rent burdens vary greatly by income level and are lowered by the sizable share of owners who charge below federal maximum rents. Finally, we find evidence of both economically diverse developments and those with concentrations of households with extremely low incomes.

Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools?

Do Federally Assisted Households Have Access to High Performing Public Schools?
Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Ellen, Ingrid Gould and Horn, Keren Mertens.
11/01/2012

A family’s housing unit provides more than simply shelter. It also provides a set of neighborhood amenities and a package of local public services, including, most critically, a local school. Yet housing and education policymakers rarely coordinate their efforts, and there has been little examination of the schools that voucher holders or other assisted households actually reach. In this project we describe the elementary schools nearest to households receiving four different forms of housing assistance in the country as a whole, in each of the 50 states, and in the 100 largest metropolitan areas.We compare the characteristics of these schools to those accessible to other comparable households. We pay particular attention to whether voucher holders are able to reach neighborhoods with higher performing schools than other low-income households in the same geographic area.

 

In brief, we find that assisted households as a whole are more likely to live near low-performing schools than other households. Surprisingly, Housing Choice Voucher holders do not generally live near higher performing schools than households receiving other forms of housing assistance, even though the voucher program was created, in part, to help low-income households reach a broader range of neighborhoods and schools. While voucher holders typically live near schools that are higher performing than those nearest to public housing tenants, they also typically live near schools that are slightly lower performing than those nearest to households living in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Projectbased Section 8 developments and lower performing than those nearest to other poor households.

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