Urban 2 Point 0 Looks at Job Growth in NC

urban2-0In a new series, Urban 2 Point 0 will look at how the geography of jobs across the state has shifted since 1990, both overall and for specific industries. The first post of this series examines total private-sector job changes between 1990 and 2015, and in the upcoming weeks we’ll examine how jobs have changed across specific industries.

North Carolina is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S. It has added nearly 750,000 private-sector jobs since 1990, and its population recently eclipsed the 10 million mark. This job growth hasn’t touched all parts of the state, though: half of it has occurred in only two counties, and over one-third of the state’s counties have actually lost jobs over the past 25 years.

Urban 2 Point 0 focuses on urban issues relevant to North Carolina and beyond, with easily digestible data analysis complemented by infographics, maps, and other visuals.

Urban 2 Point 0 is edited by CURS researcher Michael Webb and managed by public communications specialist Andy Berner. If you’re interested in contributing a post to the blog, please contact Michael at mdwebb@unc.edu.

Urban 2 Point 0 Examines the Triad

urban2-0In the final post of the Urban 2 Point 0 series on transportation affordability across North Carolina’s three largest metro areas, we look at the Triad region. As we’ve seen in the Triangle and Charlotte, the Triad’s sprawling nature means that many low-income residents spend a large portion of their income on transportation.

This series of posts examined the issue of mixed-income neighborhoods and income inequality in North Carolina’s three largest metro areas: Charlotte, the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham), and the Triad (Greensboro and Winston-Salem). We’ll also publish posts on affordable housing demand, how cities have recovered from the Great Recession, how high-tech industries have disbursed throughout the state, and how demographics can predict the 2016 primary election results.

Urban 2 Point 0 focuses on urban issues relevant to North Carolina and beyond, with easily digestible data analysis complemented by infographics, maps, and other visuals.

Urban 2 Point 0 is edited by CURS researcher Michael Webb and managed by public communications specialist Andy Berner. If you’re interested in contributing a post to the blog, please contact Michael at mdwebb@unc.edu.

Professor Zhendong Luo to Give Talk on New Urbanization in China

HGP$40YISW91MG}WOJV(5HO (2)

Zhendong Luo, an associate professor at Nanjing University and a visiting scholar at CURS’ Program on Chinese Cities, will give a talk entitled “New Urbanization in China from the Bottom Up: The Characteristic Mechanisms & Trends of Rural Urbanization Driven by E-Commerce.” He will speak from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in New East‘s Reading Room this Thursday, April 7. The talk is free, and light refreshments will be served.

Rural urbanization driven by e-commerce is a relatively new process in China. This process is systematically restructuring rural economic, social, and spatial environments, influencing the non-agricultural transformation of employment and sparking comprehensive modernization of country life and intensive urbanization of rural land. The advantages of rural areas—including low-cost entrepreneurial environments, specialty agricultural products, and local non-agricultural industry—and advances in e-commerce allow rural areas to overcome geographic constraints and join the national and global economy.

In his talk, Professor Luo will discuss these changes and how the importance of the capital and knowledge heading to the countryside help support rural sustainable development. For more information, please contact Todd Owen, CURS’ Associate Director, at towen@email.unc.edu.

CURS Researchers Present at Urban Affairs Association Conference

Kirstin Frescoln presenting her research at the Urban Affairs Association conference in San Diego.

Kirstin Frescoln presenting her research at the Urban Affairs Association conference in San Diego.

CURS Researchers Michael Webb and Kirstin Frescoln presented their research at the Urban Affairs Association conference in San Diego last week.

Kirstin’s paper was titled “I Was Scared Over There – Family Well-being After Relocation from a Distressed Public Housing Development.” Her presentation examined how relocation from the Charlotte Housing Authority’s Boulevard Homes development impacted residents’ health and well-being [link to final boulevard report]

Michael’s paper was titled “Counselors or Craigslist? Relationships Between Housing Search Resources and Voucher Holders’ Neighborhood Outcomes.” He used data from our survey of the Charlotte Housing Authority’s Section 8 residents to examine whether residents who relied on counseling services, websites (like SocialServe or Craigslist), friends or family, or just “driving around” moved to higher-quality neighborhoods. You can view his presentation here.

CURS Director Bill Rohe was also at the conference, and led two roundtable discussions – one on the meaning of “self-sufficiency” in housing programs, and another on issues related to leading university-based urban research centers.

CURS Launches Blog, Urban 2 Point 0

urban2-0CURS is thrilled to announce the launch of our new blog, Urban 2 Point 0. Focusing on urban issues relevant to North Carolina and beyond, Urban 2 Point 0 presents easily digestible data analysis complemented by infographics, maps, and other visuals.

Our first series of posts examines the issue of mixed-income neighborhoods and income inequality in North Carolina’s three largest metro areas: Charlotte, the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham), and the Triad (Greensboro and Winston-Salem). We’ll also publish posts on affordable housing demand, how cities have recovered from the Great Recession, how high-tech industries have disbursed throughout the state, and how demographics can predict the 2016 primary election results.

Urban 2 Point 0 is edited by CURS researcher Michael Webb and managed by public communications specialist Andy Berner. If you’re interested in contributing a post to the blog, please contact Michael at mdwebb@unc.edu.

March 2016 Newsletter

Winter Newsletter

How are worker-friendly laws changing the restaurant industry? What barriers does North Carolina’s growing Latino population face in securing housing? We cover this, and more, in our winter newsletter. Click here to read it!

Announcing the Fall 2016/Spring 2017 CURS Scholar-in-Residence Opportunity

With support from the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts & Sciences, the Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) is pleased to solicit applications again for its Scholar-in-Residence Program. The CURS Scholar-in-Residence Program provides an opportunity for faculty members in the College of Arts & Sciences to concentrate on developing major research proposals by providing funds for a course buyout and for proposal development expenses. In addition, the CURS Scholar-in-Residence will have full administrative support from the Center’s financial and clerical support staff. This opportunity will be provided during either the fall semester 2016 or spring semester 2017 based on the candidate’s preference. Laura Lopez-Sanders from the Department of Sociology is the Spring 2016 Scholar-in-Residence. As a result, faculty members from that department are ineligible for the Fall 2016/Spring 2017 program. The complete details of the program and applications are available at http://curs.unc.edu/programs/scholar-in-residence-program/.

Applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 7, 2016. The candidates will be notified of the outcome of the selection process in mid March 2016. 

For further information or an application contact:
Todd Owen, Associate Director
Center for Urban and Regional Studies
Hickerson House; CB# 3410
Phone: (919) 962-3076   Fax: (919) 962-2518
towen@email.unc.edu

Center for Community Capital Awarded $1.05 million grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The UNC Center for Community Capital (CCC) has been awarded a $1.05 million grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to conduct three affordable housing and financial capability research and evaluation projects. These projects aim to help under-resourced communities become more vibrant and economically inclusive across the nation.

“We plan to provide a connection between researchers and experts and communities in different parts of the country, and [to] start a dialogue about what works and what doesn’t work in the area of enhancing opportunities, and the role that housing and financial capability have in that,” said Roberto Quercia, Director of CCC, who is co-directing the project with Lucy Gorham, Executive Director of CCC.

The projects include:

  1. CCC will serve as a research partner for three affordable housing organizations that are working to expand financial capability services to their affordable housing clients. The three partner organizations will be the Cleveland Housing Network (CHN), The Resurrection Project (Chicago), and the New York City Housing Authority in collaboration with the New York City Office of Financial Empowerment. CCC’s role will be to provide research and evaluation advisory services to help these organizations document the impact of integrating financial capability services into their affordable housing programs and to inform the larger financial capability and affordable housing fields about best practices and lessons learned from these innovative pilots.
  2. CCC will also research and write a white paper on the potential for financial technology to enhance the delivery and scaling of financial capability services and products to underserved consumers; and
  3. CCC will develop an Opportunity Assessment that JPMC might use in any of its funding sites. The Opportunity Assessment would utilize a two-fold approach: first, the creation of a data-driven index of place-based opportunity that will provide JPMC and its community partners with an important tool with which to assess and refine community development and investment strategies; and second, the use of community-level research that will help residents and community organizations define and take ownership of the vibrancy and well-being of their immediate and broader neighborhoods. The Opportunity Assessment has housing at its center, since the home is the site where residents and opportunity meet. Central to the analysis is one driving question: how can housing be leveraged to promote household and community prosperity?

CURS releases “Boulevard Homes Final Report: Changing Communities, Transforming Lives”

Changing Communities, Transforming Lives CoverThe Center for Urban & Regional Studies has released the Boulevard Homes Final Report: Changing Communities, Transforming Lives. Short for “Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere,” the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI program funded the demolition and redevelopment of distressed public housing developments throughout the country. Between 1994 and 2010, over 250 public housing developments were redeveloped with support from the HOPE VI program. The Charlotte Housing Authority received a total of five HOPE VI grants during this time.

The most recent HOPE VI grant awarded to the CHA was for the razing and redevelopment of Boulevard Homes, which was physically obsolescent and plagued with crime. The newly constructed development—called the Renaissance—includes 274 apartments reserved for low-income families and 60 market rate units. The Renaissance also includes a K-8 public school (currently under construction) and an early childhood development center that is in the planning stages. The Renaissance West Community Initiative, a non-profit initially funded by the CHA, is coordinating the educational and social services being provided in the development.

Over the past five years, CURS has been evaluating this redevelopment project, with a particular focus on the experience of those who were relocated from the original development. The CHA provided residents with case managers and supportive services while the Renaissance was under construction. These case managers helped residents set self-sufficiency goals, and connected families with services like job training, educational opportunities, and health care assistance.

Building on our previous evaluation reports, this final report provides an overview of the Boulevard Homes redevelopment process and its outcomes. It describes and assesses the redevelopment process, including the design of the new development, the relocation of former residents, the attitudes of the former residents toward the relocation process and outcomes, the supportive services offered to relocatees, and the redevelopment’s impacts on the surrounding neighborhood and much more.

Some of the key findings are that:

  • The CHA used the financial flexibility provided through the Moving to Work demonstration to shift over $14,000,000 into developing the Renaissance and additional off-site replacement housing. Additional CHA funding also allowed the authority to offer enhanced supportive services to the residents who were relocated from the original development.
  • A majority of former Boulevard Homes residents relocated to privately-owned apartments using Housing Choice Vouchers rather than moving to other CHA public housing developments. A large majority of the relocated residents were very satisfied with the relocation process, and with their new housing and neighborhoods. This, to some extent, explains the relatively small number of original tenants who moved back to the redeveloped site.
  • Over time, the intensity of case management services offered to residents decreased as the budget for those services became tight. The most commonly-accessed services for non-elderly residents were occupational training and childcare subsidies, while health care assistance was the most frequently used by for elderly households.
  • The work efforts of the relocated residents substantially increased during the redevelopment process. According to data collected by case managers, the percent of non-elderly/disabled residents working rose from 33% in October 2010, close to the beginning of the project, to 67% in June 2015, close to the end of the project.
  • While it is very early to assess the development’s impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, we note that the neighborhood surrounding the Renaissance has experienced a recent significant increase in home lending activity. In addition, CHA and developer staff believe that conditions are improving in the neighborhood, with a new police station and social service center slated to open nearby soon.

To read or download the full report, please click here.