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Now showing 1 - 10 of 67
  • Publication
    To Whom Does Philadelphia Belong? Exploring and Defining "Institutional Investment" in Single Family Rentals in Philadelphia
    (2023-04-01) Underwood, Cade Warner
    Since the global financial crisis of 2007-2009, single-family rentals have dramatically risen to prominence as a uniquely profitable asset class for institutional investors, especially in the United States. Made possible by a combination of three primary factors – the post-crisis inexpensive Real Estate Owned (REO) homes surplus, the decline in working-class wealth and ability to purchase homes, and the emergence of new property management technology – institutional investors are, for the first time, rapidly acquiring hundreds of thousands of single-family homes. The resulting single-family rental portfolios have also inspired novel investment profiteering strategies, which researchers increasingly argue profit at the direct expense of tenants and prospective owner-occupants. However, at the heart of these arguments, there exist critical unanswered questions around how “institutional investment” is defined and understood. As a result, public interpretations of important research frequently misunderstand its gravity. Journalists and policymakers tend to mitigate researchers’ claims, either arguing that “all home buyers are investors” or reducing all institutional investment to a handful of prominent players. This thesis seeks to empower existing and forthcoming research by clarifying how and why institutional investment should be understood, distinctly, in the modern day. The thesis first traces the historical development of institutional investors, then explores new methods for analyzing under-studied, smaller-scale institutional investment strategies. Most existing research has focused heavily on specific, large-scale investors and the cities where they generally operate. Instead, this research pilots methods to examine under-studied investor behavior in Philadelphia, the largest US city that has thus far received almost no research attention. The thesis then forwards the argument that, without a developed understanding of institutional investment, Philadelphia forfeits power over to whom its homes belong and who profits from those homes.
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    WEB Du Bois and the "Negro Problem": Thoughts on Violence in Philadelphia
    (2007-07-22) Hillier, Amy
    This sermon, delivered at First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, might also be called "Why a white girl from New Hampshire is studying The Philadelphia Negro." This essay/sermon connects Du Bois's 1896 survey of Philadelphia to the violence currently plaguing Philadelphia.
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    Clientelism and Planning in the Informal Settlements of Developing Democracies
    (2019-03-01) Deuskar, Chandan
    The informal provision of benefits to the poor in exchange for political support, known as clientelism, often provides access to land and services for the urban poor in informal settlements in developing democracies. This review of multidisciplinary literature finds that while clientelism provides the urban poor with some access to the state, its benefits are often inadequate and inequitable. This kind of informal provision also disincentivizes or interferes with the implementation of formal plans. The literature provides some examples of transitions away from clientelism, but lessons for planners in facilitating such transitions are elusive.
  • Publication
    Classifying Opportunity Zones- A Model-Based Clustering Approach
    (2022-01-01) Green, Jamaal; Shi, Wei
    Objective: Opportunity Zones (OZs) are the first major place-based economic development policy from the federal government in nearly two decades. To date, confusion persists among planners and policymakers in some places as to what features of OZ tracts matter for their inclusion, and, secondly, what features of OZ tracts make them attractive targets for potential investment. The authors developed a typology of OZ tracts in order to offer planners and policymakers alternative ways of organizing a highly variable set of tracts. Methods: This study employs model-based clustering, also known as latent class analysis, to develop a typology OZ tracts from the population of all eligible tracts in the United States. The authors use publicly available data from the US Census Bureau and Urban Institute in developing the typology. Descriptive statistics and graphics are presented on the clusters. Using Portland, Oregon as an example city, the authors present a cartographic exploration of the resulting typology. Results: OZs present with immense variation across clusters. Some clusters, specifically cluster 3 and 9, are less poor, have a greater number of jobs and higher development potential than other clusters. Additionally, these exceptional clusters have disproportionate rates of final OZ designation compared to other clusters. In Portland, these less distressed clusters make up the majority of ultimately designated OZ tracts in the city and are concentrated in the downtown area compared to the more deprived eastern part of the city. Conclusions: We find that OZ designation is disproportionately seen in particular clusters that are relatively less deprived than the larger population of eligible tracts. Cluster analysis as well as other forms of exploratory or inductive analyses can offer planners and policymakers a better understanding of their local development context as well as offering a more coherent understanding of a widely variant set of tracts.
  • Publication
    University Expansion in the Post-World War II Era: A Case Study on the University of Virginia
    (2021-05-01) Ghazzawi, Adam
    This thesis explores the University of Virginia’s (UVa) rapid enrollment growth and physical expansion between 1945 and 1980. Despite the university’s contentious and increasing presence in Charlottesville, this time period at UVa remains largely unstudied by scholars. Expanding upon existing research on universities in the postwar era, this study uses a range of quantitative, qualitative, and spatial methods to examine university intent and impacts on the surrounding community. UVa’s post-World War II expansion emerged from a period where university leadership sought to maintain the insularity of Jefferson’s academical village through the exploitation of Black labor. To grow the university and increase its national standing, Colgate Darden, Jr., UVa’s new president in 1947, pursued a series of calculated building investments that departed from prewar development patterns. As student enrollment increased at an unprecedented rate, UVa leadership became increasingly reliant on the private housing market, resulting in the studentification of the surrounding area. Community members became increasingly resentful of the university as it transformed Charlottesville’s built environment and encroached upon their neighborhoods. Although UVa largely grew its footprint within the confines of its existing land holdings, the university’s prioritization of prestige and the mixed socioeconomic outcomes that resulted is consistent with broader themes in the literature on postwar university expansion. This thesis lays the groundwork for future mixed-methods research and discussions of equity with regard to universities and anchor institutions more broadly.
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    Radburn and the American Planning Movement
    (1980-10-01) Birch, Eugenie L.
    Many intellectual streams have contributed to the ideology of the American planning movement. Radburn, a partially built, planned, New Jersey settlement, represents the influence of English garden city theories. Radburn's plan was so well designed and rationally organized that it has become a permanent resource for planners who in every generation examine and sometimes adapt it to solve contemporary problems. As a result, it has survived as testimony to the planners' vision of suburban growth. It also represents, however, a neglected promise unfulfilled because of larger currents in American culture.
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  • Publication
    Plights of a Pandemic: The Disconnect Between Migration, Policy, and Practice in Kuwait
    (2021-05-01) Jafar, Nour
    Labor laws within the State of Kuwait are in need of reform. The country’s labor and residency policies create legal loopholes for exploitation, abuse, and human trafficking. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened living conditions for low-income migrant communities, exacerbating these and related problems. Lockdowns forced migrants to stay at home for long periods of time with no income, food shortages, constant threats of eviction from landlords, and higher infection rates. This research uses semi-structured interviews and policy analysis to trace how labor and residency policies within Kuwait impact migrant communities, particularly in the context of the pandemic. Interviews are conducted with experts from different governmental agencies, while policy examination highlights what discrepancies exist. What effects have policies and governance in Kuwait had on human rights relating to workforce development within migrant communities during the covid 19 pandemic? How does the kafala system function to provide basic social services to migrant workers? How do Kuwait’s policies influence the actions of labor brokers? How do labor policies function between the private and public sector? What social services has the government introduced to protect the migrant community during the pandemic? This paper identifies the flaws of labor policies that have allowed for visa trafficking and exploitation to occur, such as the lack of protection of private sector workers, as well as corruption leading to senior officials within different governmental entities engaging as visa traffickers.
  • Publication
    Comment on James R. Cohen’s “Abandoned Housing: Exploring Lessons from Baltimore”
    (2001-01-01) Culhane, Dennis P.; Hillier, Amy E
    For most cities, the possibility of transforming unused property into community and city assets is as yet hypothetical. Fiscal constraints limit the amount of land acquisition, relocation, and demolition that cities can undertake. Private investors, unsure of which neighborhoods have a chance of becoming self-sustaining, are reluctant to take risks in untested markets. Cities need to create citywide planning strategies for land aggregation and neighborhood stabilization and to develop analyses of the risks and opportunities associated with redevelopment opportunities in specific markets. Research seems sorely needed. Although the policy world cannot and will not stand still waiting for academics to design the perfect study or to collect all the data to model the potential effects of various policy options and investments, analysis that can play a more immediately supportive role can and should be done now.