Urban Studies & Planning Theses and Dissertations

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    (2000) Polanec Graves, Monika Gabriele; Cohen, James; Urban Studies & Planning; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    The role of the arts within economic development is increasing as many cities attempt to replicate the success of the SoHo district in New York City. The SoHo paradigm is based on utilization of artists as sanitizing agents of former industrial districts in preparation for gentrification. This study examines SoHo and other case studies in which the arts are key components in redevelopment initiatives. The case studies are compared to the economic revitalization of the Hampden community in Baltimore City. The hypothesis states that an influx of artists and art-related businesses into Hampden was a catalyst for the current economic revitalization and that this clustering of artists and arts-related businesses indicates an economy of agglomeration. Data was collected through surveys, interviews, and secondary resources. The surveys were designed to collect data that would indicate why artists and business people settled in Hampden; whether a trend was occurring ; whether the location was beneficial to art careers or businesses; and if they perceived the arts as having a significant impact on Hampden. Results of the research indicate that a significant link exists between artists and the economic activity in Hampden; an agglomeration economy is implied, but not confirmed; and that the arts and economic development models employed by the Hampden community may represent a new combination of the models previously employed.
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    The Ethnic Community: Urban Form, Peace, Conflict, and Violence in Urban India
    (2017) Adrianvala, Zubin; Baum, Howell S; Urban Studies and Planning; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    What causes some cities to have higher levels of ethnic violence than others do? This research explores whether the urban form affects the level of ethnic violence in a city. Here, the term urban form refers to identifiable physical characteristics of a city: paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks. Contemporary understanding of the physical city, as a determinant of outcomes or even as a target in ethnic violence is very limited. Although ethnic conflict is a prominent global phenomenon, ethnic violence occurs in some narrow streets and crowded neighborhoods, but not others. In addition, social scientists have focused on the ethnicization of urban spaces, but its effect on levels of ethnic violence is largely unstudied. The central hypothesis is that cities where the urban form is “ethnicized” are more likely to experience violent ethnic conflict than cities where the urban form is largely shared, secular, or multi-ethnic. India is a rapidly urbanizing globalized country with much ethnic diversity, features typical of many post-colonial nations in the global Southeast. The study involved a simultaneous ethnographic, geographic, and spatial comparison of two Indian cities, Surat and Ahmedabad, and the Hindu-Muslim ethnic relations in those cities. Ahmedabad has experienced the most Hindu-Muslim violence of any Indian city (using number of violence-related deaths as a measure). In contrast, Surat has been peaceful. This disparity is especially interesting since Surat and Ahmedabad are part of the same Indian state with similar linguistic, political, and demographic features. These questions are addressed through an analysis of semi-structured interviews and cognitive mapping exercises. The study includes 66 respondents: 36 in Surat and 30 in Ahmedabad. The research concludes that the urban form is an important factor in ethnic conflict. This finding has several research and policy implications which include a shift in the way various practitioners operate in the urban context.
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    Urbanization and Advantages of Large Cities: Three Essays on Urban Development in China
    (2016) Li, Zhi; Ding, Chengri; Urban and Regional Planning and Design; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation, consisting of three essays on the urban development in China, provides empirical evidence for three related but different topics: urban growth pattern, agglomeration effects in production (production-side benefits of cities), and agglomeration effects in consumption (consumption-side benefits of cities). The first essay examines the growth pattern of Chinese cities at prefectural level or above by applying a non-parametric analysis. The kernel regression reveals the coexistence of a divergent growth pattern for large cities and a convergent growth pattern for small cities. The analysis comparing two different kinds of population data shows that excluding migrant workers in the count of urban population would underestimate the size and growth of large cities, which implies that rural-urban migrants move to large cities disproportionately. The results suggest that policies trying to control the growth of large cities have been ineffective in the past two decades. Using plant-level data in China, the second essay finds that the mechanisms of agglomeration economies vary with industry groups, and there is strong evidence supporting that regional industrial dominance would limit localization economies and diminish the productivity of firms. However, the negative effects of regional industrial dominance seem to be mitigated by a large and diverse urban environment. The conclusion points to the productivity-enhancing effect of agglomeration, and a competitive industrial structure is crucial for the success of the on-going industrial transformation and upgrading in China. Using survey data from China, the third essay reveals a positive relationship between city size and various categories of household consumption expenditures in China. By addressing several potential econometric issues, the analysis finds strong evidence of the agglomeration effect in consumption, which points to the important role that large cities play in enhancing household consumption. Taken together, this dissertation concludes that large cities in China have been dominant during the rapid urbanization and tend to keep growing disproportionately. Large cities in China are more productive and provide higher consumption amenities than small cities. Therefore, a market-driven urbanization process would be more efficient and effective for enhancing both productivity and consumption in China.
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    (2016) He, Yijing; Lung-Amam, Willow; Urban Studies and Planning; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Urban planning in China is in a period of change, where participatory planning may supplement the traditional planning system. Since the beginning of the 21st century, several pilot participatory planning projects have responded to the new challenge. The author collected eight cases from the Chinese planning institution to explore the possible models of and barriers to participatory planning. On the other hand, public participation has been a concrete component of planning and implementation process in the United States. The author will also elaborate on one practical case of the planning process in the United States to compare the two countries on planning methods and barriers.
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    Sustainable DC
    (2012) Doherty, Frances Elaine; Dawking, Casey J; Urban Studies and Planning; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Over the past three decades, sustainability has earned a growing importance in city planning and policy decisions. Planners often champion sustainable development as the model framework for achieving social, economic and environmental objectives. However, sustainability in practice is less about striking the perfect balance between these three components than it is about building livable cities. In 2011, Washington DC launched the Sustainable DC initiative. This vision sought to identify focus areas and goals for making the District "the healthiest, greenest and most livable city in the United States" by 2030. The purpose of this thesis is to understand ways in which the city can ensure a high quality of life for residents as it works to implement the Sustainable DC initiative. This research examined relationships between the physical environment and socioeconomic characteristics of residents across DC neighborhoods to make recommendations for implementing Sustainable DC.
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    Unsheltered Homelessness in Maryland: Impact and Spatial Change during the Foreclosure Crisis
    (2012) Boston, David L.; Dawkins, Casey J.; Urban Studies and Planning; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This research primarily looks at trends in unsheltered homelessness and foreclosures in Maryland between 2005 and 2011 in order to determine what kind of impact the foreclosure crisis has had on homelessness. To complement these quantitative data, qualitative information was gathered through interviews and local Continuum of Care plans. The results of this investigation do not support any direct causal relationship between new foreclosures and homelessness; however, it is possible that foreclosures have pushed higher-income renters into the rental market. Through the combined impacts of the build-up of the housing bubble and the injection of these new higher-income renters, rental costs have continued their upward trend. In this way, it is possible that foreclosures have indirectly led to an increase in homelessness by pushing rental costs upward even after the housing bubble had burst. However, this research also highlighted many shortcomings associated with the homeless point-in-time count methodology that make it difficult to identify causal relationships such as this with any high level of certainty. Several recommendations are provided at the conclusion of this research in order to help alleviate homelessness, improve the available data, and conduct additional research to further our collective knowledge on the nature of homelessness and its causes.
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    The effects of waterfront development on housing prices: the case of eastern Baltimore
    (2006-12-07) Oliva, Simeon; Howland, Marie; Urban Studies and Planning; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Residential waterfront development has taken advantage of available land and water amenities in the centrally-located ports of many American cities. Its impacts on the housing market of the surrounding neighborhoods may not have been distributed evenly. This study measures how waterfront development has affected housing prices in a residential area south-east of Baltimore's downtown through time. The results indicate that development on the waterfront has had a positive impact on prices in the entire study area during the analyzed time-frame. However, this impact has been far more pronounced on the prices of properties located within a short distance from the water even decades after the initial projects on the waterfront were started. The study thus support claims that waterfront development has created uneven patterns of growth in Baltimore.