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    Nichola Lowe
    Associate Professor
    New East - Room 303
    work919.843.2319 (phone)
    fax919.962.5206 (fax)
    Dr. Lowe's research focuses on the institutional arrangements that lead to more inclusive forms of economic development and specifically, the role that practitioners can play in aligning growth and equity goals.

    + Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Economic Development and Regional Planning

    + M.S., University of California, Davis
    International Agricultural Development
    Specialization: Community and Economic Development

    + B.S., University of California, Berkeley
    Political Economy of Natural Resources
    Specialization: Development Economics


    PLAN 053: First Year Seminar - The Changing American Job
    PLAN 770: Economic Development Policy
    PLAN 774: Planning for Jobs: Labor Market Transformations and Employment Policy in the 21st Century


    Dr. Lowe’s work focuses on the institutional arrangements that lead to more inclusive forms of economic development and specifically, the role that practitioners can play in aligning growth and equity goals.

    She conducts research in three related areas of economic development. First, is her focus on workforce intermediaries and the strategies of skill reinterpretation they use to engage businesses in a negotiated process around skill, including increasing employer responsibility for work-based skill development. Second, is her research on immigrant construction workers and the innovative strategies they and their allies devise to make their contributions to industry upgrading and upskilling more visible and valued. Third, is her work on smart approaches to state and local economic development, including efforts to align strategic forms of industrial recruitment and entrepreneurial support in ways that extend quality job opportunities to displaced workers and less educated individuals.  Combined, this work unpacks the processes and practices that contribute to more equitable and inclusive forms of regional economic development and labor market adjustment.  She has conducted most of this research in the North American context and recently in collaboration with researchers in the United Kingdom.

    She joined UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of City and Regional Planning in 2005 after receiving my Ph.D. in Economic Development and Planning from MIT. She has consulted on projects for the International Labour Organization, Inter-American Development Bank, Bank of the Northeast Brazil, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise, the North Carolina Council for Entrepreneurial Development and the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology.

    Please see for a list of all publications and working papers.


    Selected Publications

    + Lowe, Nichola. From Skills Mismatch to Reinterpretation: Challenges and Solutions to Manufacturing Worker Retention and Recruitment. In J. Bryson, J. Clark, and V. Vanchan (eds). Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy. Forthcoming.

    + Lowe, Nichola. Beyond the Deal: Using Industrial Recruitment as a Strategic Tool for Manufacturing Development. Economic Development Quarterly. Forthcoming.

    + Iskander, Natasha and Nichola Lowe (alphabetical). 2013. Building Job Quality from the Inside Out: Mexican Immigrants, Skills and Jobs in the Construction Industry. Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 66 (4).

    + Lowe, Nichola, Harvey Goldstein and Mary Donegan. 2011. Patchwork Intermediation: Regional Challenges and Opportunities for Sector-Based Workforce Development. Economic Development Quarterly. 25 (2): 158-171.

    + Lowe, Nichola. 2010. Responding to Diversity: Workforce Intermediation in a Transitioning Regional Economy. Environment and Planning C. 48 (4): 696-713

    + Goldstein, Harvey, Nichola Lowe and Mary Donegan. 2010. Transitioning to the New Economy: Individual, Institutional, and Regional Factors in Explaining Outcomes of Retraining Programs. Regional Studies. September, published on-line.

    + Iskander, Natasha and Nichola Lowe (alphabetical). 2010. Hidden Talent: Tacit Skill Formation and Labor Market Incorporation of Mexican Immigrant Workers in the United States. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 30 (2): 132-146.

    + Lowe, Nichola, Jacqueline Hagan and Natasha Iskander. 2010. Revealing Talent: Informal Skills Intermediation as an Emergent Pathway for Immigrant Labor Market Incorporation. Environment and Planning A. 42(1): 205-222

    + Iskander, Natasha, Nichola Lowe and Christine Riordan. 2010. The Rise and Fall of a Micro-Learning Region: Mexican Immigrants and Construction in Center-South Philadelphia. Environment and Planning A. 42: 1595-1612

    + Lowe, Nichola and Meric Gertler. 2009. Building on Diversity: Institutional Foundations of Hybrid Strategies in Toronto’s Life Sciences. Regional Studies. Vol. 43. No. 4.

    + Lowe, Nichola. 2009. Challenging Tradition: Un-Locking New Paths to Regional Industrial Upgrading. Environment and Planning A. Vol. 41. No.1.

    + Lowe, Nichola and Maryann Feldman. 2008. Constructing Entrepreneurial Advantage: Consensus-Building, Technological Uncertainty and Emerging Industries. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. Vol. 1. No. 2.

    + Lowe, Nichola and Brian Morton. 2008. Developing Standards: The Role of Community Benefits Agreements in Enhancing Job Quality. Community Development Journal. Vol. 39. No. 2.

    + Donegan, Mary and Nichola Lowe. 2008. Inequality in the Creative City: Is There Still a Place for “Old-Fashioned” Institutions? Economic Development Quarterly. Vol. 22. No.1.

    + Lowe, Nichola. 2007. Job Creation and the Knowledge Economy: Lessons from North Carolina's Life Science Manufacturing Initiative. Economic Development Quarterly. Vol. 21. No. 4.

    + Lowe, Nichola. 2007. Patterns of Productivity Enhancement in Paraguay’s Small and Medium Enterprises. In D. Borda (ed) Economia y Empleo en el Paraguay. Asunción: CADEP.

    + Lowe, Nichola and Meric Gertler. 2005. Diversity and the Evolution of a Life Science Innovation System: The Toronto Region in Comparative Perspective. In D.A. Wolfe and M. Lucas (eds) Global Networks and Local Linkages: The Paradox of Clusters in an Open Economy. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

    + Lowe, Nichola. and Martin Kenney. 1999. Foreign Investment and the Global Geography of Production: Why the Mexican Consumer Electronics Industry Failed. World Development. Vol. 27.

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