UNC City and Regional Planning Students Head to Buffalo for ACSP 2018

This week in Buffalo, NY is the annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, the preeminent meeting in the country for academic planners. UNC City and Regional Planning will be well represented this year, with a number of Ph.D. students attending to present on everything from coastal resilience in North Carolina to economic development in Brazil.

To get a taste of the research our students have been up to, here is a preview of some of the talks they’ll be giving this week!


Andrew Guinn (1:00-2:30pm)

Embedding Mobility – Training Institutions & Inclusive Development in Pernambuco & Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In the US and throughout the world, planners and policy makers have grown interested in demand-driven skills training as a means of boosting the incomes of disadvantaged workers while promoting economic growth. Yet the literature, as well as American practice, suggests that a trade-off exists between the equity and efficiency goals of these training programs. Andy’s talk looks at a large-scale automotive training program in Brazil to understand how implementing agencies navigate this tension. Drawing on this case-study, and a number of secondary examples, this research shows how mechanisms of access and placement enhanced the inclusivity and effectiveness of regional training institutions for unskilled workers.

Jordan Branham (4:15-5:30pm)

Investigating the Impact of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act on Coastal Infrastructure

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 (CBRA) removed federal funding and disaster assistance for designated units in coastal areas along the Atlantic coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Great Lakes. This study examines how CBRA designation impacted investments for coastal hardening specifically, inside and outside of CBRA units. Using both hand-digitized geolocated maps from the 1980s and present-day shoreline classification data available from NOAA, Jordan compared the length and location of armored shorelines before and after the implementation of CBRA. This research suggests that, as a whole, CBRA-designated units experienced substantially less armoring than non-CBRA areas, though little relationship was found to exist between county-level growth metrics and increases in armored shoreline.


Atticus Jaramillo (9:45-11:15am)

The Impact of HCV Concentration on Perceptions of Neighborhood Conditions

In this talk, Atticus explores how levels of poverty in a neighborhood affect “Section 8” Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) recipients’ satisfaction with their residential environment. His research digs into this question to consider how subjective quality of life indicators, such as residential satisfaction, are relevant to ongoing efforts to help HCV recipients access homes in low-poverty neighborhoods.

Amanda Martin (2:00-3:15pm)

Race, Place & Resilience in North Carolina’s Post-Disaster Buyouts Program

Planners typically recommend buyouts to reduce the vulnerability of neighborhoods located in risky areas following natural disasters. Some advocates and critical scholars, though, decry buyouts and other post-disaster, land-use mitigation strategies as veiled means of dismantling low-income communities of color. However, there is scant research to-date on whether buyouts disproportionately occur in marginalized populations, intentionally or unintentionally.

Amanda uses data from property buyouts in North Carolina following Hurricane Floyd to build a better understanding of the kinds of neighborhoods where buyouts occur and how the incidence and impact of buyouts relates to social inequality. In determining the typical sociodemographic characteristics of neighborhoods with the greatest buyout participation, she finds that the rate of buyouts is positively associated with the extent of racial segregation and the share of residents of color. This research will contribute to a growing scholarly conversation about buyouts and the racially disparate outcomes of hazard mitigation.


Ahmed Rachid El-Khattabi (8:00-9:30am)

Responding to Droughts – A Spatial Regression Analysis on Innovation in the Water Sector

It is a commonly held perception that innovative activity in the water sector is lagging relative to that of other environmental sectors. In fact, this concern motivated the EPA’s 2011 Water Technology Clusters initiative to jump-start innovation. However, little work has been done to-date to understand the determinants of the inventive phase of the innovation process. To fill this gap, Rachid’s talk explores geographic and temporal variation in innovation patterns to explain potential climate-related drivers of innovation in the water sector. His research suggests that innovation does not respond to the incidence of droughts and that there may, in fact, be a deficit of innovation. However, he also finds that the work of Water Technology Clusters not only increases the rate of water-related technological innovation, in general, but also in response to the incidence of severe drought.

Mary Wolfe (9:45-11:15am)

The Changing Landscape of Access to Health Care – Policy Shifts & Influence of Shared Mobility

Mary’s talk discusses some of the work she has been doing with coauthor, and City and Regional Planning Department Chair Noreen McDonald, on innovative health care mobility services. Mary’s research explores how ride-hailing technology is rapidly changing the way that people travel to and from doctor’s appointments, therapist offices, and hospitals. She shows how shared mobility companies, including Uber and Lyft, are capitalizing on a market opportunity by addressing a costly problem for health care providers and helping overcome transportation barriers to patient care.

And if you happen to find yourself in Buffalo, be sure to stop by some of these talks by our other Ph.D. students as well to learn more about the research underway at UNC!

Gwen Kash (Oct. 25, 1:00-2:30pm)

The Quest for Gender-Responsive Planning

Nora Schwaller (Oct. 26, 8:30-9:45am)

Impacts of Hazard Mitigation Grants on Individual & Community Level Post-Disaster Resilience

Kyle Onda (Oct. 27, 9:45-11:15am)

Urban Sprawl & Equity in Water & Sewer Expansion Patterns in Brazil, 1980-2010

Sophie Kelmenson (Oct. 27, 2:00-3:15pm)

Private Businesses in Public Commons – Contested Coastal Developments in California

Allison Forbes

Industrial Policy, Targeting & Economic Development Practice (Oct. 26, 10:00-11:15am)

Planning for Labor Market Resilience – Can Big Companies Create a Big Tent? (Oct. 28, 8:00-9:30am)

Yan Chen (Oct. 28, 9:45-11:15am)

How Does Land Use Mix Change in the U.S.? Analysis of Land Use Mix Dynamics Using LODES Census Block Level Data from 2002 to 2015

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Featured Image: The Buffalo Skyline, Photo Credit: The Cleveland Scene

About the author: Leah Campbell is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of City and Regional Planning, where she focuses on equitable climate adaptation and disaster mitigation. Prior to UNC, she worked in the environmental nonprofit sector in California after receiving her B.S. in Geophysics and Environmental Science from Yale in 2015.