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Unity in Disasters: Schools, Planners, and Natural Hazards

It’s a disturbing cycle: schools with high poverty rates and limited resources have the lowest-performing students, receive less funding, then even lower outcomes, which causes fewer people to want to move there, decreasing the tax base upon which resources are determined, and further depleting scarce resources. Researchers, public officials, and leaders across disciplines are concerned with figuring out how to break the vicious relationship between … Continue reading Unity in Disasters: Schools, Planners, and Natural Hazards

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

Distribution Centers Need Planning, Too

As urbanization increases, land costs are higher, and the wealthy are outbidding other classes for housing in the central city. According to the U.S. Census, more than 80% of the country’s population lives in cities.[i] The rise of e-commerce produces an outsized demand for goods delivered rapidly. The suburbs, long thought of as an oasis for the wealthy from the grit of industrialization, is now experiencing … Continue reading Distribution Centers Need Planning, Too

Building with Big Cats in Mind

Most of us like animals. Maybe not spiders or rats (those poor guys get a bad rap), but adorable bobcats or soaring eagles? Something in these creatures captivates us in an often-unconscious way. This intrigue comes from our biophilia, or ‘love of life,’ which refers to the innate tendency of humans to be drawn to other life forms. Not only do we feel an affinity … Continue reading Building with Big Cats in Mind

REPOST: What Exactly Is “Local Food”? Ten Answers for North Carolina and Beyond

We all need to eat. Each of us deserves access to affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate nourishment. But food influences more than just individual health.The way in which food is grown (such as the use of pesticides, how animal waste is managed, and the type of crops grown) affect soil, air, and water quality, which in turn affect the health of the environment and people … Continue reading REPOST: What Exactly Is “Local Food”? Ten Answers for North Carolina and Beyond

Land Use Planning and the Contest for the Meaning of Nature

At the heart of land use planning, an unspoken battle has been being waged over the very meaning of nature. And for most of its history, land use planners have unwittingly taken sides and acquiesced around a particular anthropocentric conception of nature that has determined the ways that land gets used. The continued consequences of climate change and ecological erosion, as well as economic inequality … Continue reading Land Use Planning and the Contest for the Meaning of Nature

Green and Open Space Increase Neighboring Property Values

What is the value of green space?  You probably know the answer to this question. If you said green space provides benefits to public health, you’re absolutely right. If you said green space improves drinking water quality, you’re right too. However, green space has monetary benefits as well. What is the value of green space to the homeowner that lives next door? That is a … Continue reading Green and Open Space Increase Neighboring Property Values