Local Political Geography and Racial Inequality: Spatial Evidence from Advocacy and Litigation

Dr. Allan Parnell presents his research on local government infrastructure provision and racial inequities during his talk in the New East Reading Room.

Dr. Allan Parnell presents his research on local government infrastructure provision and racial inequities during his talk in the New East Reading Room.

March 25, 2015

The Center for Urban and Regional Studies sponsored a talk today by Allan Parnell, Ph.D., vice president of the Cedar Grove Institute for Sustainable Communities, called “Local Political Geography and Racial Inequality: Spatial Evidence from Advocacy and Litigation” in the New East Reading Room at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Continue reading

CURS Researchers Weigh In At Poverty Summit

September 10, 2014

Several North Carolina metropolitan areas are among those with the fastest growing poverty rates in the nation, according to a recent research study. Researchers and leaders from across the Triangle and Triad gathered at the Greensboro Poverty Summit to discuss the particular challenges facing the region and how to combat poverty and economic insecurity in North Carolina. Among them were Todd Owen, Associate Director of the Center for Urban & Regional Studies (CURS), and William High of the Department of City & Regional Planning at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. High and Owen presented findings from their report North Carolina’s Distressed Urban Tracts: A View of the State’s Economically Disadvantaged Communities, which was published earlier this year. Continue reading

CURS releases North Carolina’s Distressed Urban Tracts: A View of the State’s Economically Disadvantaged Communities

cover of distressed urban tracts report

This report examines poverty, unemployment, and per capita income at the U.S. Census tract level in North Carolina, updating a 2005 report. This deeper dive into the state’s most distressed areas using tract-level data reveals pockets of extreme distress in the state’s urban areas. Despite the prosperity of their surrounding communities, these urban tracts are even more distressed than their counterparts in rural counties.

Among the report’s findings:

  • 65 percent (106 of 162) of the state’s severely distressed census tracts are located in urban areas.
  • 20 of the 25 most distressed tracts in North Carolina are urban.
  • Per capita income in urban distressed tracts is $1,300 lower than in rural distressed tracts.
  • While urban counties have lower rates of poverty overall, urban distressed tracts experience poverty at a rate that is 10 percent greater than rural distressed tracts.

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Recent Trends in Climate, Vegetation and Food Security in Northern Burkina Faso

Colin Thor West, assistant professor in anthropology, studies how households in semi-arid regions cope with limited or fluctuating natural resource availability and focuses on food security. One such region, the northern Central Plateau of Burkina Faso, lies in the Sahel of West Africa where droughts commonly occur and there is high population pressure. West has been studying Mossi communities in this area for over a decade, learning more about livelihoods and how people adapt to climate variability. Continue reading

Upcoming Brown Bag: Recent Trends in Climate, Vegetation and Food Security in Northern Burkina Faso

Colin West, Assistant Professor, Anthropology

grainThe Sahel of West Africa is a region commonly associated with desertification, droughts, political instability, and famine. Like many parts of Africa, the Sahel faces significant social, economic, and environmental challenges, and we mostly hear about this area during infrequent but extreme crises. We rarely learn about the much more common, yet less newsworthy, every day and routine ways in which societies of the Sahel are adapting to climatic and social change. This talk will present findings based on ethnographic fieldwork in northern Burkina Faso. It will discuss recent positive trends in climate, vegetation, and food security among rural Mossi smallholders.

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Recap: Illustrating and supporting research with photography and art

A Brown Bag Seminar with nationally-recognized photographer Donn Young 

Donn Young

Photo by Jock Lauterer

What are the benefits of art and photography for research and solving social problems? How do artists work with social scientists to collaborate on research from the very beginning of a project?  These questions were addressed at a recent Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) brown bag seminar with Donn Young. Young, an award-winning photographer, discussed using photography as a means to support, illustrate, and even influence research and policy making. Continue reading

Upcoming Brown Bag Seminar: Inside Monopsony: Understanding How Labor Standards Shape Employment Practices in the Restaurant Industry

Photo by: Joe Mabel/CC-BY-SA-3.0

Photo by: Joe Mabel/CC-BY-SA-3.0

Brown Bag Seminar with T. William Lester, Assistant Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning

Conditions in the low-wage service sector are at an historically low level. Recent, high-profile efforts to increase wages and benefits follow a two-decade long pattern of attempting to improve labor standards through passage of a host of minimum wage, living wage, and related legislation at the city and state levels. While the impact of publicly mandated labor standards on employment and other labor outcomes is well studied and remains highly controversial, there are still important missing pieces in our understanding of how locally enacted labor laws impact the labor market.

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