Urban Studies & Planning Research Works

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    Moving Up the Ladder in Rising Waters: Community Science in Infrastructure and Hazard Mitigation Planning as a Pathway to Community Control and Flood Disaster Resilience
    (Ubiquity Press: Open Access, 2022-05-19) Hendricks, Marccus D.; Meyer, Michelle A.; Wilson, Sacoby M.
    Public participation is the democratic gateway to more just, inclusive, and resilient communities. However, infrastructure and hazard mitigation planning tends toward top-down, expert-driven processes that fail to meaningfully include communities most at risk of disasters. In this article, we critically examine the potential of citizen science in infrastructure and hazard mitigation planning with a focus on stormwater infrastructure and extreme wet-weather events, as floods are the most common disaster in the US. We review literature on various citizen science approaches, from crowdsourcing to community science, and offer a framework that situates them within Sherry Arnstein’s foundational piece on public participation, a “Ladder of Citizen Participation.” We discuss the opportunities different participatory methods offer for meaningful public involvement, knowledge generation, and ultimately community control and ownership of stormwater and flood infrastructure. We provide case study examples across the US of how public works departments, emergency management, and related organizations have engaged communities around hazard risks and flooding challenges, and offer recommendations for how these programs can be improved. We conclude that in order to produce data needed to mitigate flood disasters and increase trust and public interest in infrastructure needs, civic participation should be grounded in community science, utilizing a multimedia and technological platform. The methods applied and data generated can be leveraged toward public safety, and provide voice, agency, and power particularly to disenfranchised communities most at risk from current hazards and looming climate change impacts.
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    Increasing Bus Transit Ridership: Dynamics of Density, Land Use, and Population
    (California Department of Transportation, Division of Research and Innovation, 2004) Banerjee, Tridib; Myers, Dowell; Irazabal, Clara; Bahl, Deepak
    The study explores the possibilities of revitalizing existing urban communities, increasing transit ridership, decreasing jobs-housing imbalance, and mitigating the impacts of sprawl from transit corridor development or TCD, a variant of the more general class of TOD or transit-oriented development. We present findings of a study that focuses on the relationship between transit ridership and density and mixed land use developments along major arterial corridors in Los Angeles. Our research focuses on Ventura Boulevard and Vermont Avenue as a comparative study of two heavily subscribed transit corridors. Our analysis suggests that the predominant land use around these corridors is low-density automobile-oriented development which remains transit –unfriendly. However, the City’s policy environment has undergone favorable changes with the introduction new zoning ordinances. In light of these changes, we develop and recommend spatial and urban design strategies that productively utilize surplus and marginal space along transit corridors to accommodate future population growth. It is our expectation that the densification of the underutilized commercial corridors will create vibrant local economies, increase opportunities for market and affordable housing, revitalize retail, and lead to a fuller use of transit lines and increased ridership, a trend that we have already observed in higher density bus station areas
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    A Case Study of Preliminary Cost-Benefit Analysis of Building Levees to Mitigate the Joint Effects of Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge
    (MDPI, 2018-02-08) Peng, Binbin; Song, Jie
    Sea-level rise (SLR) will magnify the impacts of storm surge; the resulting severe flooding and inundation can cause huge damage to coastal communities. Community leaders are considering implementing adaptation strategies, typically hard engineering projects, to protect coastal assets and resources. It is important to understand the costs and benefits of the proposed project before any decision is made. To mitigate the flooding impact of joint effects of storm surge and SLR, building levee segments is chosen to be a corresponding adaptation strategy to protect the real estate assets in the study area—the City of Miami, FL, USA. This paper uses the classic Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) to assess the cost efficiency and proposes corresponding improvements in the benefit estimation, by estimating the avoided damages of implementing levee projects. Results show that the city will benefit from implementing levee projects along the Miami River in both a one-time 10 year storm event with SLR and cumulative long-term damage scenarios. This study also suggests that conducting CBA is a critical process before making coastal adaptation planning investment. A more meaningful result of cost effectiveness is estimated by accounting for the appreciation and time value. In addition, a sensitivity analysis is conducted to verify how the choice of discount rate influences the result. Uncertain factors including the rate of SLR, storm intensification, land use changes, and real estate appreciation are further analyzed.
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    Constraints in household relocation: Modeling land-use/transport interactions that respect time and monetary budgets
    (2017) Moeckel, Rolf
    Traditionally, integrated land-use/transportation models intend to represent all opportunities of travel and household location, maximize utilities and find an equilibrium in which no person or household could improve their satisfaction any further. Energy scarcity, higher transportation costs, and an increasing share of low-income households, on the other hand, demand special attention to represent constraints that households face, rather than opportunities for utility maximization. The integrated land-use model SILO explicitly represents various constraints, including the price of a dwelling, the travel time to work, and the monetary transportation budget. SILO ensures that no household makes choices that violate these constraints. Implementing such constraints helps SILO to generate more realistic results under scenarios that put current conditions under a stress test, such as a serious increase in transportation costs or severely increased congestion.