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The UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) provides evaluation, research and technical assistance on projects related to housing policy and community economic development. These projects have been funded by agencies like the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Habitat for Humanity, North Carolina Community Development Initiative and the Charlotte Housing Authority. Learn about our team members below and contact us here if you’d like to talk over your needs.

As CURS Research Director, Michael Webb leads the in-house team and brings a decade of experience designing evaluations and conducting quantitative, qualitative and spatial analysis. He has managed projects supported by INLIVIAN (Charlotte Housing Authority), the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Habitat for Humanity, among others. He also led development of the Housing Opportunity Finder, a webapp that connects families in Durham and Orange (NC) counties to affordable housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods. Prior to joining CURS, Webb led the Weinland Park Evaluation Project, a community-based survey in a changing neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. He received a master’s in city and regional planning and PhD in geography from The Ohio State University.

A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Sydney Corn has been a research associate with CURS since 2013. Her work focuses on the implementation of data collection and analysis strategies—especially the design, administration and analysis of surveys, interviews and focus groups. Her skills include web survey design and optimization (Qualtrics), interviews and focus group facilitation, qualitative and quantitative data analysis, data visualizations and report design. She is adept at translating large quantities of raw qualitative and quantitative data to produce useful information and actionable strategies for clients.

Atticus Jaramillo is a doctoral candidate in the department of city and regional planning at UNC-Chapel Hill and a research associate at CURS. His specialties include policy analysis and evaluation, database design and management, and translating robust quantitative methods into actionable recommendations. Jaramillo has provided research and analysis services to many housing and community development agencies, including the Woodstock Institute, Minnesota Housing Partnership, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the University of Minnesota Extension.

Nichola Lowe, professor of city and regional planning and interim director of CURS

CURS Interim Director Nichola Lowe, professor of city and regional planning, has experience conducting developmental evaluations on manufacturing extension and workforce development initiatives. In partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunity program, she recently completed a four-year evaluation of the Genesis program of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center. She is currently completing an evaluation of the Apprenticeship 2020 program in Chicago, Illinois—a community college-based program that is designed to advance racial inclusion in professional occupations that are traditionally out of reach to community college students. Additionally, Lowe has consulted on various projects for the International Labour Organization, Inter-American Development Bank, Bank of the Northeast Brazil, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise, the Research Triangle Institute, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and the North Carolina Department of Commerce and Board of Science and Technology.

Todd Owen, associate director at CURS.

CURS Associate Director Todd Owen has extensive experience in hazard mitigation and disaster recovery, including overseeing several major grant programs for the State of North Carolina. In addition to contributing to a number of evaluations of mitigation and recovery programs, he developed the State of North Carolina Cities Data Portal and co-authored Extreme Housing Conditions in North Carolina and North Carolina’s Distressed Urban Tracts: A View of the State’s Economically Disadvantaged Communities. Owen received his MRP in land-use and environmental planning from UNC-Chapel Hill.