Penn Institute for Urban Research

The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is dedicated to advancing cross-disciplinary urban-focused research, instruction, and civic engagement on issues relevant to cities around the world. As the global population becomes increasingly urban, understanding cities is vital to informed decision-making and public policy at the local, national, and international levels.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 19
  • Publication
    Motion Planning in Humans and Robots
    (1997-10-01) Kumar, R. Vijay; Ostrowski, James P.; Zefran, Milos
    We present a general framework for generating trajectories and actuator forces that will take a robot system from an initial configuration to a goal configuration in the presence of obstacles observed with noisy sensors. The central idea is to find the motion plan that optimizes a performance criterion dictated by specific task requirements. The approach is motivated by studies of human voluntary manipulation tasks that suggest that human motions can be described as solutions of certain optimization problems.
  • Publication
    A Brief History of Race and the Supreme Court
    (2006-07-01) Kairys, David
    This essay, based on a lecture sponsored by the Penn Institute for Urban Research, presents a brief history of the Supreme Court on race issues, from the Marshall Court to the present, beginning by focusing on Brown v. Board of Education and the development in the mid-1970s of a narrow purposeful discrimination rule that has made it near impossible for minority claims of discrimination to succeed.
  • Publication
    Fiscal Impacts of the Proposed Beazer Projects Hopewell Township, New Jersey
    (2006-02-01) Wong, Sidney
    This report examines the fiscal structure of Hopewell Township and its regional school district, and develops various types of demographic multipliers. It offers a concise discussion of methodologies of fiscal impact study. Using an improved average cost method and case studies, this report provides an assessment of the net fiscal effects of three proposed residential projects. It provides a discussion of the impacts of age-restricted development.
  • Publication
    Why is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in Housing Prices
    (2005-10-01) Glaeser, Edward L.; Gyourko, Joseph; Saks, Raven
    In Manhattan, housing prices have soared since the 1990s. Although rising incomes, lower interest rates, and other factors can explain the demand side of this increase, some sluggishness in the supply of apartment buildings is needed to account for high and rising prices. In a market dominated by high-rises, the marginal cost of supplying more housing is the cost of adding an extra floor to any new building. Home building is a highly competitive industry with almost no natural barriers to entry, and yet prices in Manhattan currently appear to be more than twice their supply costs. We argue that land use restrictions are the natural explanation for this gap. We also present evidence that regulation is constraining the supply of housing in a number of other housing markets across the country. In these areas, increases in demand have led not to more housing units but to higher prices.
  • Publication
    Has the Concentration of Income and Poverty among Subsurbs of Large US Metropolitan Areas Changed over Time?
    (2003-04-01) Madden, Janice F.
    American policy analysts have assumed that poverty is increasingly concentrating in the inner suburbs of large cities. This study demonstrates that that assumption is inaccurate. Using data on household income and poverty for suburban civil divisions from the 1970, 1980, and 1990 US Censuses, this article calculates values for two indicators of the change in the relative concentration of income and poverty, the coefficient of variation, and a regression of changes on initial values. Results indicate that poverty and income concentrations have not generally increased among suburbs over the last twenty years. There is evidence, however, that poverty has increasingly concentrated within some suburban municipalities of older metropolitan areas in the northeast and midwest.
  • Publication
    Does Increasing Women's Schooling Raise the Schooling of the Next Generation?
    (2002-03-01) Behrman, Jere R.; Rosenzweig, Mark R.
  • Publication
    The Impacts of Borrowing Constraints on Homeownership
    (1989-10-01) Linneman, Peter D.; Wachter, Susan M.
    This paper utilizes micro data to directly quantify the impact of mortgage underwriting criteria on individual homeownership propensities. To determine whether a family is constrained by these criteria, the optimal home purchase price is estimated. The results indicate that wealth and income constraints both reduce homeownership propensities, with a stronger impact for wealth constraints. Mortgage market innovations of the early 1980s seem to have reduced these effects. The research indicates, however, that even in well-developed capital markets, the presence of borrowing constraints adversely affects homeownership propensities.
  • Publication
    Measuring Real Estate Returns When the City Acts as an Investor: Boston and Faneuil Hall Marketplace
    (1989-10-01) Sagalyn, Lynne B
    The financial payback to the City of Boston from the development of Faneuil Hall Marketplace provides a starting point for analyzing the benefits of public-private downtown project development deals.
  • Publication
    Women's Schooling, Home Teaching, and Economic Growth
    (1999-08-01) Behrman, Jere R.; Foster, Andrew D.; Rosenzweig, Mark R.; Vashishtha, Prem
    The hypothesis that increases in the schooling of women enhance the human capital of the next generation and thus make a unique contribution to economic growth is assessed on the basis of data describing green revolution India. Estimates are obtained that indicate that a component of the significant and positive relationship between maternal literacy and child schooling in the Indian setting reflects the productivity effect of home teaching and that the existence of this effect, combined with the increase in returns to schooling for men, importantly underlies the expansion of female literacy following the onset of the green revolution.
  • Publication
    Local Enterprise Zone Programs and Economic Development Planning: A Case Study of California and Four Mid-Atlantic States
    (1996) Wong, Sidney
    This dissertation explores the underlying concepts of enterprise zones, assesses their effectiveness, and seeks to identify conditions under which enterprise zones work. It covers 70 zones in California, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia (roughly one-tenth of the nation's locally administered zones established before 1987). It first reviews previous studies and exposes common methodological problems and theoretical weaknesses they confront. Pulling literature from industrial location, local economic development, and taxation studies, it develops and applies an analytical framework for classifying and evaluating zone performance. It measures zone performance in terms of the difference in the percent changes in employment and business establishment between zones and their regions. Next, it conducts a survey to investigate how zones are structured and managed. Combining survey results and zone performance data, it uses regression models to identify determinants of zone success. Finally, it includes case studies of three zones, all with an above-average performance to further validate previous statistical findings and to provide insights on the operation of 'successful' zones. This research finds that there is considerable variability among zones, but most of them do not adhere to the original laissez-faire conception of enterprise zones. In general, changes in employment and business establishment within a zone differ little from those of its region. However, active management and outreach by zone administrators tends to improve zone performance. Successful zones are typically those which are small, actively managed, with a simple program structure, located in a growing region, and with some basic location advantages. This dissertation research cannot link any specific economic development tool adopted in enterprise zones to their performance. Instead, regression models and case studies find that zone performance is determined by regional growth, initial zone conditions, and the employment size of the zone. Finally, income and employment levels in enterprise zone communities are found barely changing even when zones are experiencing rapid employment growth.