Spring 2014

Semester Start Date: 
Monday, January 27, 2014

Too Legit to Quit: Exploring Concepts of Legitimacy and Power in Scaling-Up Community Development Work

Lillian K. Steponaitis (MCP ’14) examined community-based organizations, in which success is based not only on the services they offer, but also their more intangible networks of trust, robust local relationships, and on-the-ground knowledge of community needs.  As local organizations grow and seek to replicate themselves, the question of local trust and participation, the very basis of their legitimacy, is sometimes challenged.

Mega-Project Politics: The Evolution of Lahore’s First BRT Corridor

In her thesis Fizzah Sajjad (MCP '14) asks how opportunities emerge for states in the Global South to undertake large-scale spending on public transport, particularly in cases where they have previously withdrawn from its provision. In recent years, such opportunities have emerged in the form of mass transit mega-projects, particularly Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) mega-projects.

Culture, Cooperation, and Planning for Development in Maputo, Mozambique

Laura Andreae Martin (MCP '14) focuses on cooperation projects rooted in cultural ties which are receiving unprecedented attention from the international development community. When and how culture practically matters to development has not been thoroughly explored within urban planning. Her thesis examines whether, when, and how cultural affinities matter for the successful design, management, and implementation of urban planning projects in the global South with international partnerships.

The new Skoltech curriculum

This past spring semester Professor Amy Glasmeier taught her new course Geography of the Global Economy Systems in Transition: Russia, China and the U.S. The course is part of the newly launched Skoltech curriculum which is a collaboration with Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.

RhodeMap RI Economic Development Priorities

Students in 11.438 Economic Development Planning  developed components of Rhode Island's new state economic development plan prepared as part of a HUD Sustainable Communities Plan.  The plan includes: (1)   recommendations to improve the use of state property tax inceentives; (2) plan to improve and scale entrepreneurial development services for minority, low-income and low-income enterpreneurs; and (3) a state initiative to diversify the state's ship and boat-building industry.  

Power Centrality . . .Testing the Splintering Urbanism Theory with Social Media data from Santiago de Chile

Francisco Humeres (MCP ’14) focused on Power Centrality as a method for measuring a particular feedback property: How well connected are places to other well connected places. In this research Power Centrality is used to assess a recent model of Urban Structure; The Splintering Urbanism Theory of Graham and Marvin (2001). This theory posits that the contemporary city is a fragmented agglomeration of isolated urban pieces where distant but valuable fragments are highly connected between them, bypassing their less valuable surroundings.

Street-Level Air Quality through a Cyclist-Led, Crowdsourced Map in Singapore and Mexico

In her thesis, Amalia R. Holub (MCP '14) explores the feasibility of creating a street-level air quality map, whereby cyclists gather data through a participatory sensing process as they ride around the city. Two primary areas were studied: the state of the technology for portable air quality monitors, and the likelihood of cyclist participation in gathering data. Amalia conducted experiments in Singapore and Mexico City to determine whether a small, relatively inexpensive monitor can gauge variation in concentrations according to distance from traffic and route choice.

Five Thousand Pound Democracy: Citizenship and Governance for a Five Thousand Pound Life

Dayna Cunningham, Executive Director of the Community Innovators Lab (CoLab), recently wrote an article for The Architectural League of New York titled, Five Thousand Pound Democracy: Citizenship and Governance for a Five Thousand Pound Life.

Capturing the Impacts of Land Use on Travel Behavior: A Comparison of Modeling Approaches

 Most urban planning literature suggests that compact and mixed-use neighborhoods correlate with lower vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT), and accordingly, lower energy consumption and transportation-related emissions. In her thesis, Veronica Hannan examined the daily travel behavior in Santiago de Chile to understand how demographic structure, neighborhood design, and regional accessibility influence travel behavior as measured through emitted grams of five criteria pollutants (CO2, VOCs, PM10, CO and NO).

Transportation Data As Disruptive Innovation in Mexico City

Emily Eros (MCP '14) studied the growing ubiquity of affordable mobile phones and internet-capable devices and how some developing cities are collecting and compiling this data. Her thesis uses a 2013 data collection project to explore the potential impacts of transportation information on microbus regulators, owners/operators, and users. Her findings suggest that increased static information may increase government power with respect to microbus operators, particularly during franchising negotiations, but that it may offer limited benefits to users.

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