Utility Ratemaking and Energy Efficiency

Introduction The utility ratemaking formula is used to set the rates for electricity. Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) account for things like capital expenditures and operating expenses to determine what to charge customers in order to stay financially healthy. The Public Utilities Commission of each of each state is in charge of ensuring that these rates are just and reasonable. However, there are underlying motivations in … Continue reading Utility Ratemaking and Energy Efficiency

Racial Inequality, Gentrification, and Poverty: The History and Context of Durham’s Affordability Crisis

On any given night in Durham, young people mill about on Rigsbee Avenue, ducking into the bars and restaurants that have cropped up there. Liberty Warehouse, an upscale condominium complex that once was a tobacco auction warehouse, looms farther up the street. The transformation of this street is emblematic of Durham’s transition from a working-class tobacco town to a hip city known for its food … Continue reading Racial Inequality, Gentrification, and Poverty: The History and Context of Durham’s Affordability Crisis

Hazard Mitigation and Hurricane Harvey: Reflections on a Conversation with Dr. Galen Newman

The following is derived from an interview about the 2017 disaster with Dr. Galen Newman, a Fellow in the Institute for Sustainable Communities and a member of the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A&M University. His research focuses primarily on urban regeneration and flood resilience. Harvey was different. While many hurricanes pose serious flooding risks to coastal areas, the danger often lies in … Continue reading Hazard Mitigation and Hurricane Harvey: Reflections on a Conversation with Dr. Galen Newman

REPOST: Rural Studio & the 20K House

As a mission-driven, educational initiative, the Rural Studio has been able to commit almost a decade of rigorous analysis to the careful development of these affordable housing prototypes, illustrating the important potential of community design to explore ideas and provide services that the private market is unable to support. In 1968, civil rights leader Whitney M, Young Jr. addressed the National Convention of the American … Continue reading REPOST: Rural Studio & the 20K House

How to Engage your Community Online

It’s no secret that community engagement is a necessary part of planning that includes citizens in the ways that their communities are shaped. What is a secret is the best way to run community engagement processes. Planners have had varying success with engagement plans when balancing how to include as many voices as possible with getting feedback that is valuable to planning projects. Continue reading How to Engage your Community Online

Owning a Home as an Undocumented Immigrant

For many immigrants, owning a home is a sign of having achieved the American dream. With the economic recession and housing market downturn, there has been some concern about the decline in overall homeownership rates; however, immigrants remain enthusiastic about homeownership. The homeownership rate among the foreign-born population in 2015 was fifty percent, only ten percent lower than the rate among the U.S.-born population, but … Continue reading Owning a Home as an Undocumented Immigrant

Affordable Housing Toolkit Snapshot: Inclusionary Zoning

This blog is part of a series spotlighting the writings of first-year DCRP Master’s students in fulfillment of PLAN720: Planning Methods in Fall 2017.  The dearth of affordable housing options available to residents of our nation is slowly seeping into the national discourse, where previously it had largely been confined to the purview of urban planners, lawyers, and policy advocates. Matthew Desmond’s groundbreaking 2016 book, … Continue reading Affordable Housing Toolkit Snapshot: Inclusionary Zoning