At the end of a long final semester, and just before graduation, Carolina Planning students have one last time to shine at the 3rd Annual Capstone Reflection Event. Eight, 2017 Master’s Candidates were given the difficult task of condensing their Master’s Project research into a brief 7 minute presentation. With eight speakers, and quick transitions between presentations, the audience was treated to two hours of the latest planning research.
We also appreciate and thank all the Master’s Project advisors, alumni, faculty and student peers that were in attendance. Your presence, and capstone questions, ensured that this was an engaging and enlightening experience.
On to graduation!
Housing & Community Development Planning
Fair Housing Policy Impacts on Housing Choice Voucher Holders’ Spatial Distribution
Government policies and individual prejudices have created and perpetuated patterns of residential segregation in the United States. Continued inefficient policies and personal discrimination prevent programs intended to increase opportunities for integration, such as the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, from reaching their goals. Landlord discrimination may prevent HCV households from fully utilizing their vouchers to rent a unit in neighborhoods with lower poverty rates and higher opportunities. Such discrimination may be thwarted by local jurisdictions including source of income as a protected class in their fair housing laws. These laws increase the likelihood that HCV households have the opportunity to rent in any neighborhood they can afford. This presentation discusses the impacts of source of income protections on HCV household residential concentration. The study compares spatial dispersion of HCV holders in four cities, two with source of income protections and two without. The findings show that source of income laws do not appear to decrease concentration of HCV households.
Housing & Community Development Planning
Home-ownership and Neighborhood Quality: Evaluating the Outcome of an Individual Development Account Home-ownership Program in Forsyth County NC
Publicly funded programs that promote access to home-ownership among low-income families are guided by the conviction that home-ownership is a path to economic growth and financial stability. This idea is increasingly being questioned as recent studies show that home-ownership alone does not guarantee access to socio-economic mobility. Neighborhood quality and access to opportunities play a significant role in upward socio-economic mobility. This study examines the outcome of an Individual Development Account (IDA) Home-ownership Program in Forsyth County North Carolina in terms of improvement in neighborhood quality experienced by participants who transition from rental housing to homeownership. Using United States Census data at the block group level to develop a neighborhood quality index, this study examines the neighborhood quality change experienced by IDA participants in general and across various demographic groups as renters and after they transition to home-ownership. It finds that most participants attain improved neighborhood conditions in addition to home-ownership which may translate into upward socio-economic mobility. Recommendations include sustaining IDA home-ownership programs while placing further emphasis on the quality of neighborhoods where participants purchase homes as well as increased intervention to revitalize already distressed neighborhoods to expand opportunities for upward socio-economic mobility to those who are unable to transition to high-opportunity neighborhoods.
Economic Development Planning
Catalyzing Social Change Through the Arts
Art is good for cities. Art and artists differentiate a city. Art and artists pave the way for entrepreneurial talent. Art and artists draw visitors and increase local spending. But creativity is not just a commodity. Artists can reach underserved populations as well as subvert the status quo by approaching problems through non-traditional means. They can also amplify the voices of the silenced, inspire paradigm shifts, connect communities, and approach social and economic problems in new and innovative ways. Art and artists find new approaches where traditional ones have failed. This paper examines how the artists at two artist residency programs subvert the status quo through innovative problem-solving techniques. The following questions will frame both case studies while demonstrating the practical implementation of lessons learned through a third residency program designed and directed by the author. How do artists in residence engage with their community? How do artists balance their own values, those of the community in which they work, and the agenda of the residency administration? How does the administration financially support the residents without imposing the values of the funder? And how does the administration communicate the value of social critique to funders looking for arts as economic development?
Economic Development Planning
Build for Opportunity: Cases of Construction as Economic Development
In a low-income Durham neighborhood, a local developer broke a cycle of disinvestment, introducing new jobs and improving access to healthy food. In Port-au-Prince, an architecture firm maximized local production, supporting an emerging construction industry’s growth. In Seattle, grassroots organizers advocated for disadvantaged neighbors, creating the most diverse construction workforce in the city’s history. These three unlikely sister projects – a mixed-use shopping center, a neighborhood health clinic, and a seawall, respectively – are unified by their commitment to improving local economic conditions through construction. Each project was built for economic opportunity. My research combines valuable lessons from these cases to suggest a new mode of practice: one that places considerations about the economic impacts of a construction project at the center of professional decision-making processes.
Land Use & Environmental Planning
Leveraging Community Engagement and Plan Quality for Improved Decentralized Stormwater Management
Traditional stormwater management is struggling to meet environmental standards while protecting the health and safety of citizens. Cities are beginning to look beyond the pipe toward lot-level stormwater management. This new wave of decentralized management will require a high degree of participation and cooperation from both public and private interests to create efficient and effective management frameworks. Using the Bolin Creek Restoration Plan as a case study, this analysis seeks to understand the relationship between citizen engagement and the implementation of decentralized stormwater management plans.
Shared Private Transit: An Exploration of Current U.S. Services and Trends
This project explores the private transit market in the Unites States, specifically focusing on services that are intended for concurrent use by two or more unrelated parties. This includes pooled TNCs, scheduled shuttles, jitneys, and employer shuttles. The last comprehensive study to explore this market was completed in the late 1990s before the advent of “smart” transit services that utilize smart phones and advances in dynamic-routing technology. This project provides an update to that report by describing the service types that exist in the U.S. today, the scope of their operations, the regulatory structure currently guiding their actions, and the nuanced ways in which they interact with the community. The study recommends increased public transit and private transit coordination, prioritization of concurrently shared services generally, and a flexible regulatory structure that accommodates a wide range of service models to match the similarly wide range of urban form and demographic environments.
Management Practices and Policies for Transit Infrastructure Projects
Did we miss the boat?—as project development durations, and construction costs for many of the proposed transportation infrastructure projects in the United States continue to escalate, such price tags being thrown at the public have been shaping public perceptions toward large-scale transportation infrastructure projects to be overpriced and are impossible to build in the 21st century anymore. To make the matter worse, as many of the existing bridges, tunnels and freeways are reaching the end of their lifecycles, it is becoming more difficult for a transit agency to convince legislative bodies and public to invest in new transit projects over the maintenance needs of existing infrastructure. For those who are against such new investments, high project cost estimates on their price tags with high ‘sticker-shock’ factors are often used as arguments against fixed-guideway transit projects such as high-capacity rapid transit or light rail, affecting the course of public discussions and the direction of the project developments themselves in favor of no-build, or poorly implemented transit infrastructure and service. Such skepticism led us to this question—do different project development structures and policy frameworks affect transit infrastructure investments differently? This project explores different legislative systems, planning processes, project delivery mechanisms, procurement methods and their impacts on transit project development processes and their outcomes by studying two similar recently completed light rail transit projects in the Pacific Northwest region, one in Seattle, WA, US and the other in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Moped, More Problems? An analysis of the effect of Virginia’s moped operator regulations on collision, injury, and fatality outcomes
Motorcyclists, a broad group that encompasses off-road motorcycles, mini-bikes, and mopeds, experience disproportionate fatality and injury rates compared to other motorized road users. The moped user group in particular has experienced increasing fatalities nationally in contrast to decreasing automobile and motorcycle deaths. While numerous states have addressed this user group’s safety through implementation of operator licensing and regulations, the effectiveness of these policies has not been determined. This study proposes to use a two-pronged research design consisting of Interrupted Time Series and Comparative Interrupted Time Series methodologies to evaluate the pre-policy and post-policy moped collisions and fatalities in Virginia, a state that enacted moped licensing requirements in 2013. A second level of analysis will compare Virginia’s moped collisions and deaths with North Carolina, a demographically similar state with a long contiguous border that enacted a similar licensing law two years later in 2015. The research design will control for numerous factors that may affect moped ridership levels as well as characteristics of the riders themselves, including: gasoline prices, seasonality, rider age and sex, roadway condition, and socioeconomic measures. To ensure that changes in moped collisions are limited to the presence of the policy intervention, the design will include a second non-equivalent outcome of automobile crashes, a measure that should not be affected by the policy treatment. Findings from the analysis will provide policymakers, transportation planners, and public health officials the tools necessary to reevaluate policy solutions that are intended to reduce roadway users’ loss of life.