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Brown Bag Lecture Series

Academic Year 2015-16    

· Fall 2015 · 
Hwang  ·  Healy  ·  Blackhurst  ·  Aurand

"Modeling Community Mapping:  Mashing Up Government Data and Online Community Data in Korea"

Sungsoo Hwang, PhDSungsoo Hwang, PhDFriday, October 9th, 2015
Noon to 1:15pm, 1st Floor Conference Room, 3343 Forbes Ave


Sungsoo is Associate Professor of Dept. of Public Administration at Yeungnam University, Korea. He formerly worked as a UCSUR PNCIS team member, while pursuing his Ph.D. and is currently visiting George Washington University for his sabbatical. His research interests lies in the intersection of Information Technology and Policy Analysis. He published “In Pursuit of the Effective Neighborhood Information System: User-Friendliness and Training” in Government Information Quarterly (2009) and similar research in other venues. Professor Hwang is a PhD graduate (2007) of GSPIA and worked on Neighborhood Information System data – the beginning of PNCIS – as a graduate student at UCSUR.
Open government movement pushes governments to open up public data to the citizen and its demand for public data has increased. Recently (2013), Public Data Open Access Law has been mandated in Korea and it is highly expected to realize the potential of the public data to good use. This presentation illustrates good practice of mashing-up government data (administrative data) with online mapping data as well as some private online community data. We suggest this as a new direction to spur the utilization of public data, highlighting the strength of combining government administrative data with location-based data. In doing this, this presentation showcases the community mapping platform to demonstrate the potential of the power to combine public data with online community data. As policy recommendation, we suggest small scale, local-focused data build up and the role of local university as data intermediary.

"Urban renewal in Europe: Is renewing deprived areas of European cities a European matter?"

Aisling Healy, PhDAisling Healyk, PhDFriday, October 23rd, 2015
Noon to 1:15pm, 1st Floor Conference Room, 3343 Forbes Ave


Aisling is Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Jean Monnet. After a PhD entitled The Private Government of Urban Public Action defended in 2007 at the Political Science Institute of Lyon and gained with High Honours, she was a CNRS post-doctoral fellow for a year and was then recruited as a lecturer by the University of Aix-Marseille. She now teaches in Saint-Etienne at the University of Jean Monnet and continues her research work on French and also European cities, urban policies and business leaders and representatives.
In the 1990's, European Institutions progressively got involved in some urban renewal projects linked to deprived neighborhoods of European cities. But they also since then seem to have given up their ambition to set up a proper urban community policy. Although European programs dedicated to cities remain far from representing the most important of European policies, we'll show that the interventions of European institutions in that realm have had different impacts on renewal policies in Europe.

"Interdisciplinary Modeling of Environmental Resources:  Insights from Three Recent Projects"

Michael Blackhurst, PhDMichael Blackhurst, PhDFriday, November 13th, 2015
Noon to 1:15pm, 1st Floor Conference Room, 3343 Forbes Ave

Michael is a Research Development Manager with the Urban and Regional Analysis Program at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research. His research is robustly interdisciplinary, drawing especially from engineering, economics, and statistics. Dr. Blackhurst oversees applied and basic research in the energy and environmental domains, including demand-side management, regional climate change mitigation and adaptation, regional water resource planning, and environmental life cycle assessment. His work has been profiled in the New York Times and National Geographic.
Michael will profile three research projects that apply interdisciplinary research methods aimed at advancing decision making in the energy and environmental sectors.
Project 1:  Green roofs provide a multitude of potential environmental benefits, such as reducing stormwater runoff, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is unclear if they are economically efficient investments. Using shadow cost analysis, social benefit cost analysis, and environmental life cycle assessment, this study demonstrates that green roofs can cost effectively reduce stormwater inflows but are not a cost effective means for reducing energy and GHG emissions. These results highlight challenges in designing appropriate policies promoting technology adoption given the social benefits cross multiple sectors.
Project 2: This study profiles 370 homeowners in Austin, TX that demonstrate a significant and positive correlation between total electricity consumption and the installation of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, challenging the common assumption that all electricity produced from rooftop PV panels displaces conventional grid electricity. Potential causal behaviors and policy implications are discussed.
Project 3:  Energy efficiency policies are typically designed around singular efficiency changes for a “typical” home. However, the baseline technical state of homes varies considerably and homeowners often jointly make consistent efficient technology choices. A statistical model of electricity consumption was developed to better understand the implications of marginal, joint technical change for multiple residential end-uses. Results indicate that the relative technical state of a home can significantly influence the performance of efficiency interventions. Policy implications are discussed.

"Understanding and Addressing the Housing Crisis for America's Lowest Income Households"

Andrew Aurand, PhD
Andrew Aurand, PhD
Friday, December 4th, 2015
Noon to 1:15pm, 1st Floor Conference Room, 3343 Forbes Ave

Andrew joined the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) in July 2015 as its Vice President for Research. He previously served as a faculty member in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University, where he taught graduate courses in housing policy, community development, and research methods, and where he completed research on the impact of  comprehensive planning and land use on the supply of affordable housing for low income households. In addition, he was co‐PI of a survey research project regarding the residential environments of older adults. He has also worked in the Research Division of the Montgomery County, MD Planning Department. Dr. Aurand is a PhD graduate of GSPIA (2007) and worked through the Community Outreach partnership Grant on many neighborhood and mapping projects in Pittsburgh!
The U.S. faces a severe shortage of 7.1 million affordable and available housing units for the nation's poorest renters. The presentation will discuss the implications of this shortage and the use of data to inform the public, housing advocates, and the debate surrounding federal housing assistance. The National Housing Trust Fund, set to distribute funds to states for the first time in 2016, will be discussed, as well as the current advocacy work to increase federal resources for 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