Dr. Torin Monahan, CURS 2014-15 Scholar-in-Residence

Torin Monahan

The Center for Urban & Regional Studies is pleased to announce that Dr. Torin Monahan from the Department of Communication Studies is our Scholar-in-Residence for 2014-15. Dr. Monahan will use this opportunity to develop a research proposal on smart cities, big data, and surveillance.

Dr. Monahan’s project will investigate the implications of big data and surveillance in the development of “smart cities” in the U.S., Canada, and U.K. From an urban managerial perspective, the term smart city connotes the systematic generation and capture of data for purposes of rational and sustainable management of cities. Smart cities entail the integration of extensive information management tools to oversee complex urban systems and the myriad flows within them. They typically draw upon distributed sensor networks, video surveillance, and predictive analytics to monitor dynamic relationships between everything from traffic, to sewage, to electricity usage. The intensive management of flows includes the monitoring of people as well, whether directly or indirectly. Thus, this orientation to cities necessitates forms of governance and surveillance, which deserve systematic study and analysis. 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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Announcing the 2014-2015 China Urbanization Research Proposal Competition

With support from the Dean’s Office, College of Arts & Sciences and the Provost’s Office, the Program on Chinese Cities is pleased to solicit applications for its China Urbanization Research Proposal Competition. The Program on Chinese Cities Research Proposal Competition is designed to encourage faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to conduct research on Chinese cities. This competitive program provides $20,000 for a course buy-out (plus benefits) to enable a faculty member to develop a large research proposal focusing on an issue relevant to urbanization in China. Alternatively, the $20,000 could also be used to fund travel, summer salary, student research support, purchasing data, or other expenses related to completing a pilot study and developing a grant proposal. If faculty members are interested in establishing a partnership with scholars in China in pursuing the grant proposal, PCC will be able to assist. Continue reading

NC cities see increases in housing burden in recent years

NCCitiesOver 1.2 million households in North Carolina pay an excessive portion of their income for housing according to recent Census Bureau figures. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers households to be burdened if they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. Thirty-five percent of households in North Carolina and nearly 38 percent nationwide are burdened by housing costs.

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Policy Brief: Can Compact Growth Decrease Automobile Emissions?

Tailpipe emissionsScientists and policy makers have examined the usefulness of vehicle technologies, alternative energy sources, and regulatory mechanisms to control automobile emissions. However, changing the patterns of future land development may be a promising complementary strategy often overlooked outside of planning circles. Existing evidence suggests that building more compactly, with harmonious land uses and with infrastructure to support transit, pedestrian, and bicycle modes of travel, may assist in decreasing harmful tailpipe emissions and mitigating global warming. Continue reading

CURS releases Moving Forward Interim Assessment Report

The U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development created the Moving to Work demonstration program to explore new ways of providing affordable housing to low- and moderate-income households. The program allows selected housing authorities, including the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA), the flexibility to design and test innovative approaches to providing low-income families with decent, affordable housing.

As a demonstration program, it is important to assess the extent to which the CHA’s Moving Forward program is furthering the Moving to Work objectives, and to identify the facilitators and barriers to program implementation.

How well are Charlotte’s programs and initiatives working? Read our Moving Forward Interim Report (November 2013). Continue reading