Urban and Regional Planning and Design Theses and Dissertations

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    (2022) Finio, Nicholas James; Knaap, Gerrit J; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Gentrification is the process through which an influx of new investment and new residents with higher incomes and educational attainment flow into a neighborhood over time. This dissertation expands scholarly understanding of gentrification’s meaning, measurement, and consequences through three essays. The first essay reviews, inventories, and critiques the numerous methods scholars have used to identify gentrification. The second essay critiques the normative foundations of the smart growth movement and improves empirical understanding of how that urban policy agenda and gentrification are linked. The final essay identifies gentrification in Maryland’s Purple Line Corridor and with quantitative methods illustrates how gentrification impacts the local business economy. The findings of this dissertation show that gentrification is often not properly identified, smart growth and gentrification can be linked, and that businesses in gentrifying neighborhoods are more likely to close.
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    Planning towards an equitable sharing economy: On housing, on transportation, on policymaking
    (2021) Zou, Zhenpeng; Knaap, Gerrit; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The sharing economy has experienced phenomenal growth in the past decade. Its two most popular sectors, short-term rental (STR) and shared mobility, have significantly transformed people’s travel behavior and disrupted the urban housing/transportation markets. On the other hand, planning and policy efforts lag behind the growth of the sharing economy due to its novelty and its market-based business model. In this dissertation, I use three empirical studies to demonstrate one of those planning and policymaking challenges from the equity perspective. In the first study, I investigate the impact of STR on single-family housing prices in Washington DC using a data-driven, hedonic analytical framework. Not only do I find a significant price inflation as a result of increasing STR activities, but I also identify the spatially uneven impacts that can adversely affect housing affordability in some minority-populated neighborhoods in the city. In the second study, I focus on the built and social environment factors to explain the spatial distribution of e-scooter sharing trips on Washington DC’s streets. Using real-time, trip trajectory level data, I am able to examine not only the built environment factors for a trip’s origin and destination neighborhoods, but also the street design factors for a trip’s traversing paths. Moreover, I apply a machine-learning based clustering analysis to segment trips by their temporal patterns, built environment, and social environment attributes. With both data-intensive analyses, I identify potential equity issues and opportunities associated with the emerging e-scooter sharing in DC. In the third study, I expand my analysis on STR and shared micromobility in a cross-city, cross-section exploration. I find similar tourist-oriented spatial patterns for three types of activities, including STR, station-based bike-sharing, and dockless bike/e-scooter sharing. Additionally, I find a significant lag in their uses in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods in eight cities, as well as identifying a potential connection between active STR business and gentrification in communities of high social vulnerability. The policy heterogeneities within the eight cities provide different angles to understand the feasible and effective planning practices and policy approaches to address the equity concerns on the rising sharing economy.
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    Are Houston's Land Use Relationships Unique?
    (2021) Dorney, Christopher Leh; Knaap, Gerrit J; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The city of Houston, Texas has been at the heart of a long-running debate in the United States on government’s proper role in the land development process. As the only large American city that never adopted a city-wide zoning ordinance, Houston is often cited as an example for why more or less government planning is needed. Some authors claim that Houston is an outlier when it comes to land use relationships, with strange land use juxtapositions quite prevalent. Other authors argue that zoning is largely redundant to market forces and that Houston’s land use relationships are not all that different from zoned cities. The purpose of this study is to inform this ongoing debate by undertaking a quantitative analysis of land use relationships across large American cities to determine if Houston’s are distinctive. The study develops several metrics to quantify land use relationships and uses principal component analysis to determine if Houston is an outlier. The findings indicate that Houston’s land use relationships are not substantially different from those of zoned cities.
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    (2021) Eom, Hyunjoo; Dawkins, Casey J. C.J.; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Since the seminal work of John Kain in the 1960s, scholars have explored the spatial mismatch between suburban job opportunities and the residential segregation of low-income Black populations in the inner city. Since then, the spatial structure of U.S. metropolitan areas has undergone dynamic changes and reshaped the demographic landscape and economic geography, which have important implications for the spatial patterns of mismatch in the 21st century. Particularly, the movement of Black populations to the suburbs has the potential to perpetuate spatial mismatch if those newly suburbanized Black populations continue to be spatially segregated in suburbs apart from where jobs have relocated. Although previous studies provide evidence for continued residential segregation, it is yet unclear how it affects spatial patterns of mismatch for suburban Black populations as well as the changing geography of opportunity. In this dissertation, I examine the spatial patterns of mismatch with a particular focus on whether the spatial distributions in the 21st century continue to disadvantage the Black population in accessing job opportunities. I also estimate the differing relationship between the neighborhood job accessibility and labor market outcomes by the residence in the city and the suburb, availability of auto, and the level of residential segregation. By incorporating the geographic scale of segregation and inequality, the measures used in this dissertation captures the spatial interactions with neighboring areas that take into account the spatial clustering as well as the concentration of opportunities and disadvantages. The results reveal geographical evidence of a shift in the geography of spatial mismatch into the suburbs into which Black populations have predominantly moved since the 1980s, indicating that changes in urban structures contribute to the expansion of inequality of opportunities beyond the boundaries of the inner-city. Further, there is an increasing trend of within- neighborhood subarea inequality in both cities and the suburbs, which suggests a greater spatial heterogeneity at the local geographical level. The study concludes by arguing that the spatial mismatch is not disappearing from U.S. metropolitan areas. Rather, the geography of the spatial mismatch has merely shifted in such a way that the same pattern of neighborhood disadvantages now exists in the suburbs.
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    (2021) Manjarrez, Carlos Arturo; Howland, Marie; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Researchers and planning professionals have become increasingly interested in leveraging arts and culture programming and investments as strategies for community revitalization. Arts-themed strategies employed by local governments and community organizations include arts and music festivals, commissioning public art, physical development of cultural facilities, artist live/work spaces and more. As these practices expanded in the early 2000s, local actors began concentrating arts-led development activities in designated “arts districts. Many of these new districts received their designation from state agencies hoping to bolster tourism, support local business, and attract artists, knowledge economy workers and creative industries. Despite their impressive growth, evidence of arts district effects on local economies is limited. Past research has focused narrowly on single sites, without the benefit of controlled comparisons, or has pooled many different arts districts into the same model, ignoring the unique effects of the different arts-led development strategies they employ. This project offers a middle ground, one that combines quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the impact of arts district designation and programming on business enterprise growth. The primary focus of the project is Frederick, Maryland, a small city 43 miles northwest of DC, which received formal recognition from the State of Maryland in 2002. The first part of the project uses the Synthetic Control Method to compare the enterprise growth rate of the Frederick arts district to that of a statistically-derived, synthetic comparison unit over a 20 year time period. Frederick's business growth rate was found to be significantly larger than its synthetic counterpart, and enjoyed a more robust recovery after the Great Recession. The second part of the analysis employs a site-based qualitative analysis of interviews, local media and administrative records, and an analysis of visitorship using a unique dataset derived from the cell phone location data. Triangulating findings from these different sources provides a more robust basis of evidence to assess arts district impacts, detailing the ways in which arts-based development efforts, concentrated in narrowly targeted areas, can result in significant business enterprise growth in small communities.
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    (2020) RODRIGUEZ, MARIA BELTRAN; Simon, Madlen; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This research project investigates the relationship between design solutions andconvivial behavior among users of urban landscapes, particularly within areas characterized by diverse populations. By unpacking the entwined physical features and signs of convivial behavior at play in a People’s Park, this analysis provides insight into the role design can have in promoting convivial behavior. This is particularly important in Europe, which has long struggled to accept diversifying population and where urban neighborhoods are increasingly heterogeneous. This current diversification has tremendous implications for the ways people live together. The typology of the People’s Park is one of the contexts where this will play out. I define a people’s park as an everyday space with the potential to promote social wellbeing. It is characterized by an intent to design spaces for and with all members of a community. I define conviviality as a social condition contributing to everyday quality of life. I examine the people’s park as an institution for fostering convivial behavior in public life. The ultimate goal is to inform urban planning policies addressing social life in the public realm in multi-ethnic or diverse communities. The means to that goal is the development of a methodology for studying the relationship between design and convivial behavior that can guide park design to promote convivial coexistence and that can assist in assessing and improving existing underperforming parks. Research on these questions was undertaken using a single case study site, Superkilen, a park in Copenhagen’s multi-ethnic Nørrebro district. This case study tests the methodology I developed for this research, examining different areas of the park, in an attempt to ascertain what attributes of urban design are associated with convivial behavior, comprising the activities of eating, playing and chatting. Through the findings on Superkilen, I present the People’s Park as a useful model in helping diverse communities live together, through ordinary convivial behavior activity. Superkilen shows a possible path for societies that have historically been perceived as homogenous and must make space for difference and must deal with cultural diversity, as in Copenhagen, Denmark, but also many other European cities.
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    (2021) Peng, Binbin; Hendricks, Marccus; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Extreme heat events have rapidly increased over the last several decades and is a leading cause of health threats in cities and communities worldwide. Despite the seriousness of this situation, urban planning scholars have yet to sufficiently examine the multidimensional nature of health risk to extreme heat in the scope of the built environment. Furthermore, literature that empirically explores relationships between extreme heat scenarios and road safety in cities is scant. This dissertation research focuses on the intersection of extreme urban heat, public health risk, and the built environment; it presents three interconnected and standalone studies. To synthesize what we know to date on how heat-related risks and associated health outcomes manifest in urban planning and the built environment, this study systematically reviewed urban areas’ extreme heat and health mortality and morbidity. The literature review used empirical evidence drawn from refereed manuscripts to bring attention to the built environment factors that are significant but understudied public health threats in times of extreme heat events. The review highlighted the linkages that have been least explored and/or in the germane literature and expatiated on key challenges in conducting research on associations between extreme heat and health risk in the context of urban environment. The first empirical study applied latent variable analysis analytics to explore the dimensionality of health risk associated with extreme heat by integrating a wide range of data sets from multiple disciplines, including but not limited to public health, applied geography, environmental science, and urban planning. Socioeconomic and socioenvironmental factors related to extreme heat are examined altogether with human behavioral risk factors in the dimensionality analysis. The final empirical piece examines the relationship between extreme hot days and non-motorized traffic crashes from a spatiotemporal perspective. Using a series of spatial econometric approaches, I found significant associations between extreme hot days and both the occurrence and severity of non-motorized crashes. I suggest that future research needs to adopt a dynamic traffic risk management approach that considers both urban climate and spatial dependencies when making transportation safety management plans. This dissertation is the first attempt to utilize latent variable analysis technique in a more sophisticated way to explore the dimensionality of health risk to extreme heat and the underlying factors resulting in different degrees of health risk associated with heat. It is also the first trial to quantify the spatiotemporal relationship between heat extremes and the mobility exposure and consequences, i.e., non-motorized traffic crashes.
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    Housing Value and Light Rail Transit Construction: Evidence from Three Essays
    (2020) Peng, Qiong; Knaap, Gerrit Jan; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In three essays, this dissertation explores what’s the determinants of multifamily rents and whether an anticipated investment in light rail transit influences multifamily rents and single-family housing prices in the rail transit pre-service period. In the first essay, I applied a multilevel linear model approach to account for the multifamily housing hierarchical data structure, and assessed the effects of service provision and management on multifamily rents. The findings show that pet allowance, availability of a short-term lease, and storage service increase rents significantly, while general renovations and availability of services for those with disabilities do not increase rents. The second essay empirically tests whether light rail transit in the pre-service period impacts multifamily housing rent in the transit corridor. Two approaches, a first-difference method and a difference-in-difference method, are used to test the research question. The results indicate that the rents of two-bedroom, three-bedroom, and four-bedroom units within a half-mile from planned light rail stops have significantly increased from 2015 to 2018 compared with the rent of units in other areas in Montgomery County. The third essay examines the temporal and spatial variation of the effect of the Purple Line on single-family home prices during the rail line pre-service period. The results show that the housing market saw a premium in 2012, the year the Purple Line project progressed into the preliminary engineering phase. The results also show that the effect of the new light rail transit line is distributed unevenly across the catchment areas of newly built stations and established stations.
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    (2020) Kim, Jinyhup; Dawkins, Casey J; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The U.S. housing market faces a huge surge brought on by the growth of the older population. Housing researchers and gerontologists are now focusing on potential challenges that older households could face over the coming decades and are attempting to estimate how such challenges will affect the housing market. This marks a critical point for assessing housing affordability, availability of accessible housing, and housing demands based on geographical locations – all of which will be of utmost importance to aging populations in the coming decades. Although the older population is growing rapidly and is receiving considerable attention from both researchers and policymakers, there have been relatively few empirical studies about the housing behaviors of older Americans. This dissertation examines the aforementioned three challenges through empirical essays by employing micro-data (e.g., the 2004–2014 Health and Retirement Study, the 2011 American Housing Survey, and the 2013–2017 Public Use Microdata Sample). Specifically, the first paper will examine the reasons why elderly homeowners make the downward transition from homeownership, with a particular focus on the significance of property taxes on elderly behaviors. The second paper will investigate the living conditions of existing housing for stayers – those who have remained in their place of dwelling since reaching the retirement age of 65 – and estimate how accessible their housing is to meet the daily needs for aging in place. The third paper will seek empirical determinants on residential mobility and housing choices by elderly households in the Baltimore MSA, accessing the net impact of individual and housing attributes on migration behaviors and housing consumption. The results of these analyses show that property tax abatement programs fail to provide tax subsidies targeted to low income seniors in need. Furthermore, policy approaches to grow the accessible housing stock have proven largely unsuccessful. Finally, seniors who migrate throughout the Baltimore MSA show a strong tendency to downsize and become renters – particularly of apartments – regardless of location. This research will provide timely new evidence, which will help decision-makers better understand the burning issues that impact aging adults’ housing-related behaviors in the U.S. housing market.
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    Modeling the Relationship Between the Housing First Approach and Homelessness
    (2020) Boston, David; Lung-Amam, Willow; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    A growing body of evidence from individual-level studies demonstrating that the Housing First approach is effective at keeping those experiencing homelessness in stable housing has led to the approach being championed by many leading experts, especially as a way to address chronic homelessness (O'Flaherty, 2019). This helps us understand the relationship between Housing First and an individual’s homelessness, but we know very little about the relationship between implementation of a Housing First approach and overall homelessness rates in a community. In a 2019 survey of homelessness research published by the Journal of Housing Economics, Brendan O’Flaherty wrote: “What has been missing in studies of Housing First are estimates of aggregate impact: does operating a Housing First program actually reduce the total amount of homelessness in a community?” Through this study, I sought to understand if Continuums of Care (CoC) that have adopted a Housing First approach by dedicating a higher proportion of their resources towards permanent housing units are associated with a lower proportion of people experiencing homelessness between the years 2009 and 2017 than CoCs dedicating a higher proportion of their resources towards emergency shelter and other short-term solutions. Additionally, I sought to understand how that relationship between the implementation of a Housing First approach and homelessness rates change as the values of median rent, unemployment, and other covariates typically associated with homelessness rates change. I hypothesized that CoCs adopting a Housing First approach, as defined in the context of this study, would experience lower homelessness rates. The hypothesis that homelessness rates would decrease as the Housing First index increases was supported by the results, but the relationship is more complex than hypothesized. The relationship between Housing First and homelessness rates was quadratic in nature and influenced by an interaction effect with housing tenure. Jurisdictions that adopted a Housing First approach generally experienced lower homelessness rates, except where a vast majority of households are owner-occupied.
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    (2019) Matthews, Georgeanne Nabrit; Howland, Marie; Dawkins, Casey; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    An interdependent community with shared amenities and resources, like ‘cohousing’, is one solution to the challenges Baby Boomers face in finding suitable housing options to age in place. Cohousing developments are on the rise in the U.S., more often lead by a committed group of Baby Boomers who seem to be getting around existing public policy hurdles at great emotional and financial costs on the front end of development. This in an indicator that certain barriers exist in the public policy arena that make it difficult to get zoning approval for a cohousing development, and in turn to access traditional financing options to get these projects built. This dissertation looks at why and how Baby Boomers are self-developing their own alternative housing options as they face their retirement years. Over the next 20 years, the Census Bureau anticipates an increased national demand for moderate to middle-income housing posed by the retirement of 80 million Baby Boomers by the year 2031. This paper will highlight: 1) The demographic issue of the rapid growth in the retirement age population; 2) The social considerations that occur with family members living further afield than in previous generations, and therefore leaving the elderly without a built-in network to depend on. In addition, this generation is accustomed to independence and is looking for alternatives that support their ability to remain independent; and 3) The public policy gap highlighting the lack of affordable housing that meets the needs of Baby Boomers, who are ill prepared to shoulder the costs of retirement according to the Social Security Administration. Architects Schreiner and Kephart draw attention to the need for Baby Boomers to have safe, moderately affordable, amenity intensive housing with built-in community and safety nets (2010). The Harvard Journal on Housing (2008) acknowledges the challenge of providing quality housing across a broad income spectrum and points to population shifts indicating a future need for more cost effective, densely clustered housing that is smaller and more sustainable than the typical American dream home. Baby Boomers will be the largest group in this demand shift, accompanied by other groups like single parent headed households, individuals who live alone and Millennials. However, due to the sheer size of the Baby Boomer generation, this group has the potential to be a catalyst for the creation of new housing initiatives. This trend will require changes in land-use zoning for multi-family housing, and the creation of new financial options that support group living. Baby Boomers seem to be investigating various collective living options in order to offset the financial and social challenges that can come with the aging process. The cohousing model will be used as a case study for its claim that it offers luxury amenities, homeownership, community, cultural activities and a built-in social network by design.
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    Assessing User Understanding of Heritage in the Environment: Preservation Strategies for the Use of Place
    (2019) Semmer, Johnna; Linebaugh, Donald W; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    While places often derive associations with heritage from distinctive land uses or patterns of activity, the historic preservation planning tools commonly available in the U.S. are limited in their ability to sustain those associations. The active and evolving aspects of a location’s character are challenging to reflect in the point-in-time historic property documentation that typically serves as the basis for preservation planning decisions. This study explored methods to illuminate the qualities residents and users associate with a community’s distinctive local character, or sense of place, and how those qualities relate to local history and heritage. Two case studies in Nashville, Tennessee, the urban Music Row neighborhood and rural Bells Bend community, were examined through mixed research methods, including document-based research, field observation, online survey, and interviews, to achieve a more holistic understanding of sense of place and to ascertain which features and qualities meaningful to members of the community align with place characteristics that can be regulated by local planning tools. Older and historic places were among those associated with the sense of place of both cases. Continuity of locally-distinctive uses emerged as important, as did social interactions and relationships. Uses may be sustained with the help of planning tools beyond those commonly thought of as preservation strategies, such as land use zoning and economic incentives. Social aspects of place are harder to address but can be recognized through expanded definitions of heritage and interpretive efforts. Though a limited response rate constrained interpretation of some results, elements of the methodology show promise for enabling direct input from place users in practice. Defining what heritage-related qualities are most meaningful to community character can yield better informed preservation planning processes.
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    (2019) Deng, Zuxuan; Knaap, Gerrit-Jan; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Systematic data-driven and evidence-based urban transportation policy making and evaluation become increasingly important for public agencies to ensure transparent and efficient services. This dissertation, consisting of three essays on urban transportation studies, focuses on two issues (safety and asset management) that are broadly related with urban transportation policy making and evaluation in Washington D.C. In Chapter One, I evaluate the safety effect of All Way Stop Control (AWSC) conversion with an observational treatment group and a randomly selected control group from stratified samples. Selection bias and time trend are controlled using empirical strategies such as Multiway ANOVA and Difference-in-Differences analysis. The study reveals statistically significant reductions of right angle crashes upon AWSC conversions. However, for all the other collision types, including right turn, left turn, rear end, sideswipes and bicycle crashes, none of the estimated coefficients were statistically significant. In addition, the study quantified a statistically significant increase of straight hit pedestrian crashes upon AWSC conversion. In Chapter Two, I study the safety effect of removing reversible lane operations along urban arterials. Taking advantage of the termination of three reversible lane arterials in 2010, the evaluation is performed using the Before-After (BA) study with a control group and the Empirical Bayes (EB) method, respectively. I estimate Crash Modification Factors (CMF) for all crashes, fatal/injury crashes, property damage only (PDO) crashes, rear-end crashes, left turn crashes and sideswipe crashes. My findings suggest a clear tradeoff between safety and the gain of peak direction capacity by operating reversible lanes along urban arterials. In Chapter Three, I propose an innovative procedure for allocating scarce curbside space for loading zones in an equitable, quantifiable and repeatable manner. Freight Trip Generation (FTG) models are used to estimate the delivery needs for business establishments at a block face level. The current numbers of loading zones per block face are regressed against the Gross FTG (GFTG) per block face and other block face characteristic variables using zero-truncated Negative Binomial models to establish a baseline. Curbside spaces are then assigned as loading zones in an iterative process.
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    A Micro-Level Examination of the Impact of Rail Transit Investments on the Patterns of Firm Dynamics
    (2018) Saeed, Basheer A.; Iseki, Hiroyuki; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Transit-oriented development has been increasingly implemented at stations of both existing and new fixed transit systems across the U.S. to stimulate local economy and create livable communities. A common belief among planners in favor of transit-oriented development is that the provision of passenger rail systems promotes urban development around rail stations. There is a lack of empirical evidence, however, that supports this presumption. To address the gap in relevant literature, this dissertation examines the impact of passenger rail stations on the four different patterns of firm dynamics in the State of Maryland—firm birth and inward relocation as positive impacts, and firm closure and outward relocation as negative impacts. This dissertation uses both standard and propensity-score-weighted negative binomial regression methods to analyze the dependent variables of firm dynamics constructed from the National Establishment Time Series (NETS) panel data of the State of Maryland from 1990 to 2010. By examining both positive and negative impacts of firm dynamics, this dissertation estimates the likelihood of firm retainment and net relocation for areas in proximity of the passenger rail stations, while controlling for a number of potentially confounding factors. Positive and statistically significant relationships are found between proximity to the passenger rail stations and the rates of firm births and inward relocating firms in Maryland, regardless of differences in the level of maturity of stations. From 1990 to 2010, the areas of passenger rail stations in Maryland experienced a wide range of rates of growth in firm density, depending on the year of station opening. The results of the four different patterns of firm dynamics suggest that areas near passenger rail stations gain belated economic benefits, well after the introduction of rail stations, shown by higher likelihood of firm retainment and net relocation around the mature rail stations opened before 1990. In comparison, areas near the less mature stations that opened after 1990 had predominantly lower likelihood of firm retainment and net firm relocation. Planners and policymakers should be proactive in directing development near rail stations by adopting a variety of measures and policies that support or at least consistent with transit-oriented development.
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    (2018) Sadat Lavasani Bozorg, Hossein; Howland, Marie; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Following the existing line of inquiry on green buildings economic performance, this study hypothesizes that LEED and Energy Star green building certifications contribute to premiums in net operating income (NOI) and higher market value (MV) in commercial real estate office assets when compared to their broader conventional market competition. This study utilizes two of the most comprehensive propriety databases in the U.S.: Real Capital Analytics (RCA) data on commercial asset sale prices and Trepp Inc. data on property income and expense information. Employing the hedonic regression analysis, and controlling for several building attributes including location, height, size, age, market perception of quality, transit score, walk score, etc., the study finds significant NOI and MV differentials across metropolitan statistical areas of five major U.S. gateway cities. The findings are encouraging and informative and may significantly contribute to the investment communities’ understanding of how investing in green buildings can positively improve companies’ economic bottom line.
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    Do industrial clusters encourage establishment innovation?
    (2018) Fang, Li; Knaap, Gerrit; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Industrial clusters are geographical concentrations of related industries. They foster innovation, job creation and business formation. Previous studies find that firms in clusters on average are more innovative than firms outside. They interpret this as evidence that clusters encourage firms to innovate. This interpretation is misleading because two different mechanisms can lead to the same result. On the one hand, firms in clusters improve innovativeness through knowledge spillovers and network building. On the other, less innovative firms are forced out of clusters by tough competition. Most studies fail to differentiate these two mechanisms. I separate these mechanisms and examine their variations across industries and establishments. I also search for the optimal spatial scale of industrial clusters to maximize their effect on innovation. In this dissertation, I match establishment data with patent data for the state of Maryland from 2004 to 2013. I improve the methodology of quantifying the causal relationship between clusters and innovation, and apply this method to employment centers. Employment centers on average encourage establishments to file for 8% to 11% more patents. This effect is maximized within a one- to two-mile radius region. I also compare how much clusters encourage innovation across different industries, and find significant heterogeneity. In Metalworking Technology, the effect of clusters peaks at a three-mile radius region and increases patent applications by 18%. In contrast, in Business Services, the effect is essentially zero, even when it is maximized in a one-mile radius region. These differences can be explained by industrial characteristics, such as the different level of reliance on tacit knowledge. Finally, I examine how industrial clusters shape the originality of small versus large establishments. I find that small in-cluster establishments improve innovation numerically more than large establishments, but their differences are statistically insignificant. This dissertation can provide guidance to the design of industrial policies. It helps to more precisely evaluate the benefit of cluster policies. Policymakers can also implement cluster policies targeting at the most beneficiary industries and the optimal spatial scales.
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    Three Essays on Agglomeration and Firm Dynamics
    (2017) Qiao, Yu; Ding, Chengri; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Agglomeration economy has long been proposed to account for an individual firm’s favor for denser environments. Previous strides have linked firm creation and productivity growth to the magnitude of agglomeration. This dissertation addresses three aspects of agglomerative impact on firms’ dynamic that have not been adequately emphasized in the literature. Specifically, the research provides an understanding of how agglomeration affects firms’ decisions on R&D investment, closure and relocation. In Chapter 2, I develop a simple Cournot type, two-stage competition model that reveals firms tend to reduce their R&D investment more in denser locations than in less dense ones with the presence of knowledge spillover. This implies that local agglomeration strengthens the negative relationship between knowledge spillover and R&D efforts. I then use firm-level data from China to test this theoretical prediction. The Tobit model yields estimated results that are consistent with the theoretical prediction. That is, the R&D effort is negatively correlated with knowledge spillover and the magnitude of the negative relationship increases along with localization agglomeration. The impact of geographic concentration on firm survival is studied in Chapter 3. Agglomeration economy encourages firm birth and growth, while agglomeration diseconomy accelerates firm death. The net impact of agglomeration on firm survival depends on the relative strength of agglomeration economy and diseconomy. Drawn upon an establishment-level data from Maryland, the essay finds empirical evidence supporting the claim that urbanization negatively affects survival, while specialization, diversity and employment centers reduce hazards for some industries. The finding indirectly evidences that the firm selection effect contributes to the productivity advantage of big cities. Firms frequently make spatial adjustments to accommodate their change in operation over time. Agglomeration economy could be one essential influence on a firm’s relocation decision-making. Chapter 4 delves into the relocations of service firms within the Baltimore Metropolitan Region. The nested logit model shows a higher probability for firms choosing a location with a high level of agglomeration. The estimates suggest diversity might be more important than specialization at the margin for intra-metropolitan relocation. Also identified is a more prominent localization effect than urbanization effect on firm intra-metropolitan relocation.
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    (2017) Jeon, Jae Sik; Dawkins, Casey J; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Since the 1970s, the emphasis of federal housing policy has shifted from place-based subsidies to tenant-based subsidies that are provided directly to low-income households for the purpose of renting in the private market. Although many hoped that the Housing Choice Voucher, a tenant-based housing assistance program, would be a new tool in the fight against concentrated poverty and its associated problems, housing voucher recipients still face obstacles when trying to secure housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods over the long-term. The growing body of evidence linking neighborhood conditions to household outcomes points to the need for a better understanding of how housing vouchers improve access to opportunities. While previous studies have explored neighborhood outcomes of housing voucher recipients, it still remains unclear what factors play a significant role in their residential location choices. My dissertation examines the constraints that housing voucher households face in neighborhood choices. Drawing upon data from the Moving to Opportunity experiment, it specifically analyzes trends in affordable housing inequality, estimates the effect of vehicle access on locational attainment, and explores social networks as a determinant of mobility behavior. The results of these analyses show that obstacles such as affordable housing inequality across the metropolitan area, strong social networks in the initial, poor neighborhood, and a lack of access to vehicles negatively affect the likelihood of moving to neighborhoods in which opportunities are expanded for low-income households. My findings shed light on the dynamics of residential mobility and neighborhood improvements for low-income households. The expansion of the Housing Choice Voucher program, supported by localized payment standard, connection to automobile subsidies, and extensive housing search services that provide information about the opportunities available in across all geographic units, may have a significant impact on poverty de-concentration and access to opportunity over time. These findings are also expected to bridge the gap between research and policy with regard to how housing voucher program could be improved in the context of the federal government’s charge to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH).
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    The Power of Synthesis: the Pursuit of Environmental Sustainability and Social Equity Through Design Practice
    (2017) Kedar, Boaz Ahi Omri; Rockcastle, Garth C; Howeland, Marie; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The paradigm of architecture and design is changing. Centuries of industrialization and rapid urbanization have placed profound stress on the earth’s natural systems, presenting new challenges for architects and urban planners. As our collective awareness towards these challenges increases, designers are increasingly called upon to partake in the global transition towards a low-carbon future. These professionals are re-assessing their priorities and practices, striving for better ecological and social scenarios. This dissertation explores how architects and designers successfully integrate environmental sustainability and social equity deliberations into architectural design practice by implementing more holistic sustainable design approaches. It advocates for a future reality where these considerations are naturally incorporated into the design process of any architectural project, and suggests a framework for their more effective integration. The dissertation opens with a review of current sustainable design approaches and practices in the architectural design profession, focusing on the tools and methods commonly used for their integration in the design process. Next, it presents three case studies of exemplary architectural projects, each demonstrating a progressive design approach that successfully integrates both environmental and social sustainability agendas within the design process. Data collection methods included a series of semi-structured interviews with designers, architects, developers, clients and other stakeholders in the respective projects, as well as site visits. In each case study project, the process of its inception, development, settings, and design methodologies were explored, aiming to evaluate the potentialities and effectiveness of these attributes for better integration of socially and environmentally sustainable design agendas. Synthesis of the collected data ultimately offers a framework for more effective integration of these virtues within architectural design processes. The conclusions point to a multivariate threshold containing a combination of external conditions, recommended processes and design-based tactics to achieve such projects. The conclusions underscore the method for application of these factors, not as isolated deliberations but as parts of a holistic, integrated process. When applied concurrently, these factors perform synergistically to produce holistic, well-rounded living environments that foster environmental stewardship alongside social and cultural wellbeing, empowering a community to flourish.
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    (2017) Ma, Ting; Knaap, Gerrit J.; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Demographic changes and shared-mobility technology have redefined the urban transportation fabric. Bike share, a public short-term bicycle rental program, has emerged around the world. Many users find bike share to be a convenient, healthy, and smart transportation option that solves first- and last-mile issues. But some are concerned that it may challenge existing rail transit systems and reduce ridership. Hence, it is important to understand the impacts of a bike share program on rail transit ridership. The Washington metropolitan area lends itself well to studying this topic. Both the bike share and rail transit systems in this area, Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) and Metrorail, are the largest in the United States. According to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates Metrorail service, CaBi services may challenge Metrorail ridership, especially for the short-distance trips. Based on WMATA’s concern, I explore whether CaBi substitutes for Metrorail and reduces its ridership. An exploratory analysis finds evidence that CaBi can complement Metrorail trips in some cases and substitute for rail in others. To estimate CaBi’s impacts more precisely, three regression models—the Direct Ridership Model (DRM), the Difference-in-Difference (DID) model, and the Station-Specific Dummies (SSD) model—were applied. The results of the three models consistently demonstrate CaBi’s mixed impacts. CaBi may complement some Metrorail trips, but substitute for others, depending on the type and time. More importantly, the SSD results found that CaBi’s impacts vary by Metrorail station locations, whether a station is a downtown D.C. core station or a non-core station in peripheral and suburban communities. CaBi reduces core Metrorail station ridership by 4,814.4 per month for the number of AM peak exits and by 4,886.9 per month for the number of PM peak entries, but increases ridership at non-core stations by up to 2,781.2 per month, at a high statistical significance level. The finding that CaBi can complement Metrorail ridership is contrary to WMATA’s concern that a bike share program poses challenges for Metrorail. Policy suggestions are provided to help WMATA maximize the benefits of CaBi’s complementary effects.