Nick Allen

Doctoral Candidate

Nick is a PhD candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. His work asks how the institutions governing land shape urban development and constrain local politics. His considers planning dilemmas by drawing from comparative political economy, institutional economics, and public finance. His current projects ask:

1. When does fiscal structure drive local economic decline? In North American cities, land-use regulations and regional segregation build upon fiscal cornerstones like the property tax. These arrangements evolve favorably in richer jurisdictions, but reinforce decline and intensify poverty in legacy cities. Explaining the causes of this divergence reveals options for recovery.

2. What are the underlying origins of housing scarcity in high-growth cities? While extensively studied in the US, politically enforced barriers to housing production also arise in countries with dissimilar land-use regulations and urban political regimes. Without intervention, housing scarcity constrains growth, promotes displacement, and encourages land-market capture.

Previously, Nick was as an economic development official in Detroit and conducted research on urban transitions in South and Southeast Asia. He received a BA from Yale University and a Master of City Planning from MIT. His projects have been sponsored by the Kresge Foundation, Ford Foundation, Hudson Weber Foundation, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.