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Thread: Dissertation help needed

  1. #1
    Nov 2007

    Dissertation help needed

    Hello all,
    I am so glad I found this forum, so many interesting things being discussed. I am currently doing some research and thinking about my dissertation - main topic is Urban Change (historical study) - I've been reading some entries about the Philippines, and the issues that surround urban sprawl.

    Is there any smaller topic that may be of interest and relevant to today?
    For instance, the terminology of 'Sustainable development' in the Philippines might be different from the definition in the UK..does anyone think this influences urban change?

    What about the urban sprawl - do you think a preventive or positive intervention for this would be to educate the poor/'squatters' on sustainable living/environment would improve the state they live in - thus improving the city?

    I need advice on how I might be able to focus the topic/s...

    thanks! Any input would help...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    May 2005
    New Town
    I don't know if this helps, but I recently published a paper with a professor examining the historical development (physical growth) of Albuquerque that may tie-in and perhaps stimulate some ideas.

    The paper is part of a larger study initiated by UC Davis professor Stephen Wheeler to analyze, I believe, 16 US cities and their historical physical development. Looking at historical maps and comparing them to the contemporary street grid, we identified distinct historical typologies of development that characterized different time periods. We then analyzed contemporary growth patterns and identified those typologies that are being implemented today. This gave us a pretty good picture of the city's spatial development and allowed us to make some assertions about how these current trends are likely to impact future growth (and some of what we should be doing about it). Sprawl is a significant issue here in Albuquerque. Out of 100 mid-sized US cities, we rank 99th in terms of density. Applying the methods we worked with, we now have a clearer picture of how these sprawling patterns impact the region.

    We also related these findings to census data considering issues like household income, home values, race and ethnic distribution, etc. It involved a lot of old map analysis, GIS work and census data analysis. A lot of work, but very useful results for local and regional planning bodies. Professor Wheeler is planning to do this for a number of other US cities in the coming years.

    The paper is entitled "The Rise of the Regional City: Spatial Development and the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area." Unfortunately, you can't get it anywhere free online, but it was published in the New Mexico Historical Review (Volume 82, no. 1, Winter '07). If you are eager to see a copy, send me a personal message and perhaps I can e-mail you a pdf. You might check the JStor website first, though (http://www.jstor.org). I am no longer at a university, so I don't have access to their system anymore.

    From the abstract: "We find that the recent expansion of the region is characterized by eight main development forms: rural sprawl, middle-class tract housing, incremental small-scale subdivision, upscale fringe development, commercial development, industrial/office development, multifamily housing, and trailer parks (listed in order of the amount of land consumed by each). Although “suburban sprawl” is often pictured as middle class tract housing and associated commercial development, rural sprawl in fact affects a far greater land area in the Albuquerque region, accounting for 52% of all new land developed between 1980 and 2005. Spatial analysis of census demographics shows that many newly urbanizing portions of the region are characterized by relatively affluent, Anglo populations, in contrast to the older portions of the metro area and the Rio Grande Valley, which are often home to more diverse, lower-income residents.

    Overall, the dramatic increase in the physical size of the twenty-first century region is striking, as is the discontiguous, “leapfrog” nature of development, polarization by income and race, and the jurisdictional fragmentation of the region. This analysis points to the need for coordinated regional planning to manage growth if the region’s residents wish to preserve open space, protect historic cultural landscapes, limit environmental impacts, curb rising motor vehicle use and traffic, and reduce spatial inequities between affluent and lower-income communities."
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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