Planning, Design, and McMansions: A Conversation with Kate Wagner

Earlier this month, first-year Master of City and Regional Planning student Emily Gvino interviewed Kate Wagner, the creator of the viral blog McMansion Hell and whose work was recently included in the Web Cultures Web Archive through the Library of Congress. Kate’s writing focuses on architecture and design, and Emily was interested in hearing her thoughts on the state of housing today, new design trends, … Continue reading Planning, Design, and McMansions: A Conversation with Kate Wagner

Reflections Post-Graduation Featuring: Sarah Parkins

What is your current job? Transportation Planner for the Transportation System’s Planning Group at WSP in Raleigh, NC. WSP is a transportation planning and engineer consulting firm with offices across the U.S. How does your job relate to the specialization you pursued in Carolina Planning? If at all? I was a housing and community development student (HCD), so my job doesn’t directly relate, however, I … Continue reading Reflections Post-Graduation Featuring: Sarah Parkins

Good Design Practices Improve Affordable Housing

This piece was originally written by Lara Seltzer for Planning Methods (PLAN 720) in November 2018. In today’s current economic climate, the lack of affordable housing in the United States is cause for concern. In 2017, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies released a report highlighting that 38.9 million households in America are cost-burdened, meaning the household pays more than 30% of their income … Continue reading Good Design Practices Improve Affordable Housing

Impacts of the Government Shutdown on HUD Programs

On January 4th, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a memorandum intended to explain how payments will proceed to Assisted Property Owners who provide affordable housing units to families across the United States. They assured owners that, while the Department’s spending authority expired on December 21st, interim activities would continue for the first thirty business days. This would include payments for … Continue reading Impacts of the Government Shutdown on HUD Programs

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