Master’s Project Abstracts: Housing and Community Development

The Department of City and Regional Planning’s graduating class of 2019 completed their Master’s Projects on a vast array of topics, all demonstrating independent, original work on students’ areas of interest. This series shares the abstracts of projects that focus on similar topics. This final set in the series includes Master’s Projects that look at housing in North Carolina and internationally.


Disrupted: An Exploration of Eviction and Implications on Health in Durham, NC

Karla Jimenez

In Durham, NC, concerns about evictions have come to the forefront as the city deliberates over the strategies to address an increasingly unaffordable housing market. In 2017, over 10,000 summary ejectments (evictions) were filed. However, not all of the filed eviction notices were for tenants not paying rent. These no-fault evictions are an understudied and underdiscussed segment of evictions in Durham, which are occurring behind a national narrative focused on the faults of tenants. And as these evictions continue, community development practitioners lack an understanding of how the process of evictions specifically affects physical and mental health, and how not being at fault moderates the pathways. This project showcases portraits of two tenants relying on Section 8 vouchers who experienced a no-fault eviction judgment, and depicts changes in their health. Their stories are accompanied by contextual background and a literature review that grounds their experiences. The goals of the project are to (1) challenge the idea that evictions occur at the fault of tenants, and (2) accelerate the inclusion of public health practices and solutions in addressing evictions in Durham. The portraits of Disrupted are available on


Development in Slum Settlements – Building a Preschool in Ikageng, South Africa

Sonyia Turner

Planners work all over the world to help improve the built environment for all levels of society, giving special attention to the poor and disadvantaged (Payne & Vestbro, 2008). Within emerging economies, the poor are often concentrated in slum settlements. One in eight people, or one billion people, live in slums around the world, with Africa having the largest proportion of slum dwellers at 55.8% (UN-Habitat, 2017, p. 21). Slum settlements are characterized by non-durable dwelling structures, overcrowding, and a lack of access to necessary infrastructure such as water and sanitation facilities, and slums develop and operate within the informal sector of an emerging economy. Because slums operate within the informal sector, they pose several development challenges for planners. This Masters project thus seeks to answer the question: what does it take to build a preschool in a slum settlement? To explore this question, I will conduct pre-development services for a client: Not Forgotten South Africa (NFSA) for the development of a preschool in a slum settlement in Ikageng, South Africa. The pre-development services will include identifying and evaluating a site, developing a program to fit the site, conducting financial analysis, and providing recommendations for next steps.


Affordable Housing Development Toolkit: Successful approaches from North Carolina and beyond

Matt Norchi

This guide focuses on programs that aim to increase the production and supply of affordable housing for both renters and homeowners. Additionally, the guide does not cover the entire range of affordable housing production strategies that have been adopted. Rather, the guide focuses on noteworthy or innovative programs to shed light on their potential application to local governments in North Carolina.


For more information on Master’s Project process, see the DCRP page.

Featured Image: Downtown Durham skyline. 2017. Photo credit: Karla Jimenez-Magdaleno.