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.