Urban Policy

The Changing Distribution and Determinants of Obesity in the Neighborhoods of New York City, 2003–2007

The Changing Distribution and Determinants of Obesity in the Neighborhoods of New York City, 2003–2007
American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 171, no. 7, pp. 765-775. 10.1093/aje/kwp458


04/01/2010

Obesity (body mass index 30 kg/m2 ) is a growing urban health concern, but few studies have examined whether, how, or why obesity prevalence has changed over time within cities. This study characterized the individual- and neighborhood-level determinants and distribution of obesity in New York City from 2003 to 2007. Individual-level data from the Community Health Survey (n ¼ 48,506 adults, 34 neighborhoods) were combined with neighborhood measures. Multilevel regression assessed changes in obesity over time and associations with neighborhood-level income and food and physical activity amenities, controlling for age, racial/ethnic identity, education, employment, US nativity, and marital status, stratified by gender. Obesity rates increased by 1.6% (P < 0.05) each year, but changes over time differed significantly between neighborhoods and by gender. Obesity prevalence increased for women, even after controlling for individual- and neighborhood-level factors (prevalence ratio ¼ 1.021, P < 0.05), whereas no significant changes were reported for men. Neighborhood factors including increased area income (prevalence ratio ¼ 0.932) and availability of local food and fitness amenities (prevalence ratio ¼ 0.889) were significantly associated with reduced obesity (P < 0.001). Findings suggest that policies to reduce obesity in urban environments must be informed by up-to-date surveillance data and may require a variety of initiatives that respond to both individual and contextual determinants of obesity.

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.

The High Cost of Segregation: The Relationship Between Racial Segregation and Subprime Lending

The High Cost of Segregation: The Relationship Between Racial Segregation and Subprime Lending
November 2009

Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy
11/18/2009

This study examines whether the likelihood that borrowers of different races received a subprime loan varied depending on the level of racial segregation where they live. It looks both at the role of racial segregation in metropolitan areas across the country and at the role that neighborhood demographics within communities in New York City played.

Siting, Spillovers, and Segregation: A Re-examination of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program

Siting, Spillovers, and Segregation: A Re-examination of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program
In Edward Glaeser and John Quigley, Eds. Housinmg Markets and the Economy: Risk, Regulation, Policy; Essays in Honor of Karl Case. Cambridge, Mass: Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, pp. 233-267.

Ingrid Ellen, Katherine O'Regan, Ioan Voicu
01/01/2009

The timing of this volume could not be more opportune. It is based on a 2007 conference to honor the work of Karl "Chip" Case, who is renowned for his scientific contributions to the economics of housing and public policy. The chapters analyze risk in the housing market, the regulation of housing markets by government, and other issues in U.S. housing policy. Chapters investigate derivative markets; the role that home equity insurance can play in reducing risk; the role that the regulation of government-sponsored enterprises has played in extending credit to home purchasers in low-income neighborhoods; and the growth in the market for subprime mortgages. The impact of local zoning regulations on housing prices and new construction is also considered. This is a must read during a time of restructuring our nation’s system of housing finance.

Health and Disease in Global Cities: A Neglected Dimension of National Health Policy

Health and Disease in Global Cities: A Neglected Dimension of National Health Policy
Networked Disease: Emerging Infections in the Global City. Edited by Keil, R. and H. Ali. Oxford University Press,

Rodwin, V.G.
01/01/2008

A collection of writings by leading experts and newer researchers on the SARS outbreak and its relation to infectious disease management in progressively global and urban societies.

Pedestrian Environments, Walking Path Choice, and Transfer Penalties: Understanding Land-Use Impacts on Transit Travel

Pedestrian Environments, Walking Path Choice, and Transfer Penalties: Understanding Land-Use Impacts on Transit Travel
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Vol. 35, pp. 461-479.

Guo, Z. & Ferreira Jr., J.
01/01/2008

This paper investigates the impact of pedestrian environments on walking behavior, and the related choice of travel path for transit riders. Activity logs from trip surveys combined with transit-route and land-use information are used to fit discrete-choice models of how riders choose among multiple paths to downtown destinations. The work illustrates (1) how the quality of pedestrian environments along transit egress paths affects transfers inside a transit system, and (2) how the impedance of transferring affects egress walking path choices. The use of GIS techniques for path-based spatial analysis is key to understanding the impact of pedestrian environments on walking behavior at the street level. The results show that desirable pedestrian environments encourage transit riders to choose paths that are ‘friendlier', even if they involve more walking after leaving transit. Policy implications for land-use planning and transit service planning are discussed.

The Impact of Supportive Housing on Surrounding Neighborhoods

The Impact of Supportive Housing on Surrounding Neighborhoods
2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper, July

Gedal, M. & Been, V., Ellen, I.G., Voicu, I.
07/01/2007

Communities across New York City and around the nation commonly oppose proposals to open supportive housing in their neighborhoods because of fear that the housing will decrease the quality of life in the neighborhood, and lead to reductions in property values. This study aims to give supportive housing providers and local government officials the  objective, credible information they need to guide policy decisions and to respond to opponents' fears and arguments. Using a difference-in-difference regression model to isolate the effect of supportive housing from more general macro and micro market trends and neighborhood variations, this paper examines the impact that almost 14,000 units of supportive housing created in New York City over the past twenty five years have had on their host neighborhoods over time.

In a preliminary analysis, we find little evidence that supportive housing facilities diminish the value of surrounding properties. We find evidence that prices of properties surrounding supportive housing facilities are lower than comparable properties in the same neighborhood prior to the opening of the facility, and that this gap tends to narrow following the opening of a facility. Specifically, the preliminary analysis suggests that modestly-sized supportive housing developments (which are typical in New York City) may have small, positive impacts on neighboring property values, though these positive impacts decline as project size increases. Very large facilities may have negative impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.

 

Survival and Death in New Orleans: An Empirical Look at the Human Impact of Katrina

Survival and Death in New Orleans: An Empirical Look at the Human Impact of Katrina
Journal of Black Studies (Special Issue on Katrina, Race, Class, and Poverty) 37(4):482-501. 10.1177/0021934706296188

Sharkey, P.
03/01/2007

Hurricane Katrina has been interpreted as both a “metaphor” for the racial inequality that characterizes urban America and as a purely “natural” disaster that happened to strike a predominantly Black city. To resolve these conflicting interpretations, the author analyzes data on New Orleans residents who died during Katrina in an effort to provide an empirical look at the groups most directly affected by the hurricane. Contrary to prior reports in the popular press, the author finds that the impact of the storm was felt most acutely by the elderly population in New Orleans and by Blacks, who were much more likely to die than would be expected given their presence in the population. Data on the locations of recovered bodies also show that Katrina took its largest toll in New Orleans’s Black community. These findings confirm the impression that race was deeply implicated in the tragedy of Katrina.

Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York

Robert Moses and the Modern City: The Transformation of New York
W.W. Norton.

Ballon, H. & Jackson, K.T. eds.
01/01/2007

"We are rebuilding New York, not dispersing and abandoning it": Robert Moses saw himself on a rescue mission to save the city from obsolescence, decentralization, and decline. His vast building program aimed to modernize urban infrastructure, expand the public realm with extensive recreational facilities, remove blight, and make the city more livable for the middle class. This book offers a fresh look at the physical transformation of New York during Moses’s nearly forty-year reign over city building from 1934 to 1968. It is hard to imagine that anyone will ever have the same impact on New York as did Robert Moses. In his various roles in city and state government, he reshaped the fabric of the city, and his legacy continues to touch the lives of all New Yorkers. Revered for most of his life, he is now one of the most controversial figures in the city’s history. Robert Moses and the Modern City is the first major publication devoted to him since Robert Caro’s damning 1974 biography, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. In these pages eight short essays by leading scholars of urban history provide a revised perspective; stunning new photographs offer the first visual record of Moses’s far-reaching building program as it stands today; and a comprehensive catalog of his works is illustrated with a wealth of archival records: photographs of buildings, neighborhoods, and landscapes, of parks, pools, and playgrounds, of demolished neighborhoods and replacement housing and urban renewal projects, of bridges and highways; renderings of rejected designs and controversial projects that were defeated; and views of spectacular models that have not been seen since Moses made them for promotional purposes. Robert Moses and the Modern City captures research undertaken in the last three decades and will stimulate a new round of debate.

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