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All entries categorized “Neighborhoods”


want a diverse neighborhood? move to the suburbs

Monday, May 16th, 2016 12:53p.m.

I hope that you will forgive the shameless self-promotion, but I recently published a paper in [Sociological Science][socsci] (yay open access!) that examined neighborhood racial change in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston metropolitan neighborhoods with an amazingly talented colleague, Siri Warkentien.

  tags: d3, neighborhood-change, research, shameless-self-promotion category: Neighborhoods

Two New Papers on Residential Preferences and Consequences of Racial Segregation

Friday, Oct. 14th, 2011 10:34p.m.

In the commotion of moving and starting my new job, I neglected to post about two articles that came out last month that I worked on for quite a while. The first, Reassessing Residential Preferences for Redevelopment, was published in City & Community last month in a special issue on gentrification. My paper argues that much of our public policy and debate regarding changing residential preferences for gentrification occurs without actually measuring preferences in the population. Using the 2004-5 Chicago Area Study, I do just that to show that preferences break down along groups defined by home ownership. Home owners in the city of Chicago, regardless of race, are much more likely than their suburban counterparts to consider a redeveloped neighborhood. Meanwhile, race tends to unify preferences among renters in that blacks -- regardless of whether they live in Chicago or suburban Cook County -- would consider redeveloped neighborhood much more than their white renting counterparts, with Latino renters in between. I also find that traditional reasons middle-class people prefer redeveloped neighborhoods touted by gentrification and creative class proponents only really apply among whites while black home owners prefer access to city services and Latinos prioritize access to employment.

To the extent that cities hold developers accountable to mixed-income plans, these results suggest that redevelopment might help integrate communities economically and racially. Of course, this means actually holding developers accountable, which is sometimes difficult to do. Overall, the debate regarding who would prefer to live in redeveloped neighborhoods needs to be more nuanced and not based on where people do live.

  tags: gentrification, neighborhoods, public-health, residential-mobility, segregation, urban-policy categories: Neighborhoods , Public Health & Urban

Form or Function?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 4:07p.m.

Rolf Pendall posted a short, interesting piece on the suburbanization of poverty at the Urban Institute's new Metro Trends Blog. In it, he questions the basis of determining cities from suburbs in the service of understanding the "suburbanization of poverty."

His criticism stems from the ambiguity of defining suburbs and cities based on their urban design and physical infrastructure. He demonstrates this ambiguity through examples of Houson, Texas (a city with extensive sprawl); Fremont, California (a suburb with its own employment base and denser development than Houston); and Silver Spring, Maryland (an inner-ring suburb with all of the accoutrements of urban living).

His question is valid and one we face often in our work on New York: how relevant is work on New York City for the rest of the country. Just to provide an example of my own, the picture below that looks much like the Silver Spring neighborhood my family is preparing to move into is actually in New York City.


View Larger Map

  tags: built-environment, cities, suburbs, urban-policy categories: Neighborhoods & Urban

Whole Foods Habitus

Saturday, June 18th, 2011 11:33a.m.

I believe firmly in the importance of research to inform policy based on observed facts. But, sometimes art expresses truth better than research ever could. I present the following as evidence of art capturing the essence of the Whole Foods habitus.

The video is of course meant to parody the cultural conventions of Whole Foods; but, I think that it really speaks to larger truths about culture, food, and inequality. While the video pokes fun at the Whole Foods consumer, I think that it accurately reflects how out of touch a vast swath of relatively privileged Americans are regarding the real struggles of poorer and many minority residents face when attempting to eat a healthy diet. Forget the fact that kombucha isn't on the shelves, many can't find produce or unspoiled meat as Dan Rose, my friend from graduate school documents in this piece Detroit neighborhoods where they are even lucky if they have grocery stores.

  tags: inequality, nutrition, obesity, whole-foods categories: Neighborhoods & Public Health

Chicago Neighborhood Data Website -- CCAHS

Friday, June 10th, 2011 11:37p.m.

After much hard work on the part of very talented people, the website for the Chicago Community Adult Health Study launched this week! For those who do not know about the project, it is an excellent dataset to examine influences of neighborhood environments on health outcomes among adults. The sample comes from all 343 Neighborhood Clusters in the city of Chicago, which allows a wide range of analyses across neighborhood environments. In addition to the survey of informants, there is also very rich data on the physical aspects of the neighborhood environment based on systematic social observations in all of the 343 Neighborhood Clusters.

Estimated Levels of Physical Disorder

I took advantage of this in part of my dissertation to explore how small-scale predictors of neighborhood disorder could be constructed from the sample of systematic social observations. Combining the insights from Steve Raudenbush and Rob Sampson regarding the benefit of using multiple items to rate characteristics of the neighborhood environment like disorder and the benefits of the geostatistical method of kriging to measure small-scale changes in the environment, I created a smooth surface of physical disorder across Chicago. Based on this method, one is not limited to pre-defined definitions of neighborhoods because block-level estimates can be reassembled into any configuration desired by the researcher. I then used this to show that observed physical disorder has a strong effect on residents' perceptions of neighborhood safety when we measure physical disorder at very small scales around a respondent, but almost no influence when we measure physical disorder at larger scales.

Of course, this is only one of the ways that I have used (and continue to use) this data. If you are interested, feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about the data -- particularly the systematic social observation component.

  tags: data, disorder, kriging, measurement, neighborhood-effects category: Neighborhoods

Two Presentations on Neighborhood Change

Saturday, Sept. 25th, 2010 6:42p.m.

This week I gave two presentations on my work exploring the consequences of neighborhood change for the evolution of contemporary metropolitan racial and ethnic segregation. The first was at the University of Pennsylvania Sociology Colloquium, which focused slightly more on the substantive conclusions, and the second was presented at the Quantitative Methods in the Social Science seminar series at Columbia University and focused more on the methodological components of the work.

I did not publish the slides for these talks because I will likely be giving the talk again (no spoilers!); however, feel free to contact me if you would like more information about them.

  tags: neighborhoods, segregation category: Neighborhoods

Mapping Moves

Friday, Sept. 10th, 2010 10:56a.m.

My friend and colleague, Danny Sheehan was interviewed on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show this week talking a map he designed that tracked the flow of residential mobility among Brian Lehrer listeners. Among 1,600 entries, his was selected as one of the 15 featured, and one of two people interviewed about his design on-air live. You can see a video his map here.

Since my research is about where people move, this is obviously more than of just passing interest to me and Danny's visualization of moves is an incredibly helpful tool to detect patterns of neighborhood change. I know this because Danny helped us with a project that I presented at ASA last month mapping where former residents of Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago moved after demolition of the project (in fact, he gives us a shout out around the 7:45 mark in the interview). Thinking about how to incorporate movement and the increasing availability of tools to do so can add a whole new dimension to residential mobility research.

  tags: data-visualization, residential-mobility, WNYC categories: Media & Neighborhoods

Architectural Diversity, or "Hello World"

Sunday, Feb. 28th, 2010 3:48p.m.

The American Prospect has a very interesting article this week by Courtney Martin entitled "Architecture's Diversity Problem" that describes a new building constructed by architect Jeanne Gang in Chicago. The building is constructed to look like undulating waves that echo the waves in Lake Michigan just to the east but reach skyward for 80 stories. Architecturally, the building is very interesting and, though I have to admit I wasn't too keen when I saw the The Prospect's photo photo, is very impressive when seen from a distance for how successfully it creates this illusion from both the form and the materials used. What is more amazing than the quality of Gang's architecture, as Smith points out, is the fact that such a large building was designed by a woman.

The article, highlighting the lack of diversity, recalled my own journey to sociology so it particularly close to home.

Jeanne Gang's new building, Aqua, in Chicago -- photo taken by wjcordier and obtained on Flickr

  tags: architecture, neighborhoods, The-American-Prospect category: Neighborhoods

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