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Brown Bag Lecture Series

Academic Year 2014-15    

· Fall 2014 · 
Yin  ·  Markusen  ·  Kromer  ·  Shoval  ·  Dickinson

"Who Benefits from Collaborative Planning?  Reclaiming the East 185th Street Corridor in Cleveland"

Jordan Yin, PhDJordan Yin, PhDFriday, October 17th, 2014
Noon to 1:15pm, 1st Floor Conference Room, 3343 Forbes Ave


Jordan is the Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.  He received a PhD in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and is the author of "Urban Planning for Dummies." - one of Planetizen's 10 best planning books of 2013.  He as formerly the Research Director at the Center for Competitive Workforce Development at Duquesne University.
Collaborative planning can bring together wide-ranging interests that sometimes think that they have little in common.  This presentation looks at the planning process for a neighborhood corridor revitalization project on Cleveland's city-suburb border engaging multiple community-based institutions and agencies through a planning workshop project carried out by college and high school students.  Although still a work-in-progress, this planning process illustrates some of the important potential short-term and long-term benefits of collaborative planning.

"Creative Cities: The Future of Research in Urban Arts and Culture"

Ann Markusen, PhDAnn Markusen, PhDWednesday, October 29th, 2014
Noon to 1:15pm,  NOTE: Posvar Hall, Room 3911


Ann is Director of the Arts Economy Initiative and the Project on Regional and Industrial Economics at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and Principal of Markusen Economic Research.
Over the past decade, under the rubric of creative placemaking, policymakers, planners and practitioners have turned to arts and culture to enliven city life and stimulate urban economies, but research challenges remain. What are the missions of urban arts and culture? How can offerings and engagement become more equitable and diverse? In fashioning good policy and making funding and planning decisions, what do city leaders and advocates need to know about the location preferences of artists, arts organizations and arts participants? Ann Markusen reviews what we know to date on these questions, and closes with reflections on the potential of arts and cultural research to link to broader urban theories, capitalize on interdisciplinary research and mixed methods, and integrate international research and experience in the field.

"Land Banks and ‘Land Aid’ in Pennsylvania Cities and Towns"

John KromerJohn KromerFriday, November 7th, 2014
Noon to 1:15pm, 1st Floor Conference Room, 3343 Forbes Ave

Flyer  •   Slides

John is a housing and development consultant who specializes in strategic planning, public agency capacity building, and program and policy development for urban communities and metropolitan regions.
Under the sponsorship of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, John Kromer has spent much of the past year helping municipal and county officials in many communities—from Pottstown to Erie—organize strategic plans and business models for new land banks. Land bank enabling legislation that was approved by the state in 2012 provides Pennsylvania communities with new opportunities to acquire neglected properties and return them to productive uses in the mainstream economy.
Land bank planning is especially challenging in Pennsylvania because no new funding is available to support large-scale property acquisition, rehabilitation, and/or demolition. To overcome this challenge, many communities are considering an approach in which the land bank doesn’t own any “surplus” properties and only acquires properties that can readily be conveyed to pre-qualified developers. Also under consideration is a strategy in which the land bank acquires a small number of higher-value properties listed for each tax sale, then immediately resells them, using the net sales proceeds to capitalize a blight remediation fund.
The presentation will include a review of tax sale data from Berks and Erie counties that documents recent trends and illustrates ways in which land bank property acquisition at tax sales can provide financial benefit to nonprofit developers and generate new funding to support a broader blight-fighting strategy.

"The Potential of Tracking Technologies for Research in the Social Sciences"

Noam Shoval, PhDNoam Shoval, PhDFriday, November 21st, 2014
Noon to 1:15pm, 1st Floor Conference Room, 3343 Forbes Ave

Flyer  •   Slides

Noam completed his Ph.D. at The Hebrew University (2000) and conducted post‐doctoral research at the Department of Geography, King’s College, University of London (2000–2001). He was (2007–2008) an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Department of Geography of the University of Heidelberg (Germany).  Noam's main research interests are urban geography and planning, urban tourism and the implementation of advanced tracking technologies in various areas of spatial research such as tourism and urban studies and medicine.  Over the years he published two books and almost one hundred other scientific publications.
The question of mobility is of immense importance in social science research. Yet the current methods used to collect data on spatial and temporal activities have limitations in terms of accuracy and validity, since they tend to rely solely on the evidence provided by the research subjects themselves.  Until recently, the most common method for gathering information on time‐space patterns of individuals was the time‐space diary. In recent years, the rapid development and availability of small, cheap, and reliable tracking devices has led to a growing volume of research in the social sciences using tracking technologies. The best known technology is the Global Positioning System [GPS] that offer researchers the opportunity for continuous and intensive high‐resolution data collection in time (seconds) and space (meters) for long periods of time. Recently the massive introduction of smartphones opens up even far greater opportunities. 
This presentation will show examples from my own research and publications in the last decade regarding the implementation of tracking technologies in various fields, such as: urban studies, tourism, aging and medicine.

"Inclusionary Eminent Domain: Reconciling the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause with Affordable Housing, Urban Development and Planning Law"

Gerald S. Dickinson, EsqGerald S. Dickinson, Esq.Friday, December 5th, 2014
Noon to 1:15pm, 1st Floor Conference Room, 3343 Forbes Ave


Gerald concentrates his practice on economic development and incentives, zoning, land use and affordable housing and serves as the coordinator of the firm’s Housing Rights Project, a pro bono initiative advocating on behalf of public-assistance tenants in eviction proceedings. He is a former Fulbright Scholar to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he conducted a comprehensive project on urban development and planning at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Law and represented tenants in eviction proceedings at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS). In 2015, he will take a one-year “sabbatical” from practice to serve as a law clerk for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
There is a new paradigm shift in takings law, namely “inclusionary eminent domain.” This new normative concept, coined by Dickinson, provides a framework that molds eminent domain takings and economic development into an inclusionary land assembly model equipped with multiple tools to help guide municipalities, private developers and communities construct or preserve affordable housing developments. The tools to achieve this include Community Benefit Agreements (“CBAs”), Land Assembly Districts (“LADs”), Community Development Corporations (“CDCs”), Land Banks (“LABs”), Community Land Trusts (“CLTs”) and Neighborhood Improvement Districts (“NIDs”). Analogous to inclusionary zoning, inclusionary eminent domain helps us rethink how to fix the problem of decreased access to affordable housing and exclusion, particularly where the exercise of eminent domain for purposes of urban development displaces low-income residents. This presentation, based on a recently published academic article authored by Dickinson at the Loyola Chicago University Law Journal, incorporates both the intellectual musings of takings and zoning law with an assessment of how innovative tools can be practically applied to construct and preserve affordable housing.



Brown Bag Lecture Series

Brown Bag RSVP
412-624-1019 or

Bring your lunch and join us for presentations that highlight neighborhood, community, economic, and other social research by our esteemed colleagues. Presenters include local, national, and international social research experts. Lectures are Noon – 1:15pm, 3911 Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St. Posvar Hall is next to the Hillman Library on the Schenley Oval. On-street metered parking is available, as well as a metered parking lot at Semple and Bouquet Streets. Other parking is available at the Soldiers and Sailors Parking Garage.

Brown Bag Summary List

University Center for Social & Urban Research
3343 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260   ·   412-624-5442