Currently, I am working with Justin Hollander on the Shrinking Cities Project. Over the past thirty years, many cities have been losing population due to industrial changes and other factors. Often these shrinking cities have tried to fight this decline through different techniques. However, studies are beginning to show that it may make more sense for shrinking cities to accept population loss. Rather then fighting it, these cities can work with the population decline and use policies and planning and design methods to improve their neighborhoods.
Using Hartford, CT as a case study, I will be taking an ethnographic approach to find out more about population decline in certain neighborhoods. Through interviews and time spent in these neighborhoods, I will be investigating how residential land use has changed and how these changes are affecting residents. With my findings, I hope to be able to see patterns of land use change and also be able to make design and/ or policy suggestions for the city of Hartford. Working with some designers at Kent State University, I also hope to be able to look at some of their design suggestions for shrinking cities and see if their ideas would be possible in these neighborhoods in Hartford.
Through GIS, I hope that questions I have for this project can be answered. Some of these questions are:
a. How have the neighborhoods' land use cover changed in the past 30 years?
b. Are there irregular land use patterns in these neighborhoods due to vacancies or abandonment?
c. Are there demographic patterns from the census data that are relevant to these land use patterns (if indeed there are patterns in the land use)?
d. What are the current uses (if any) for the vacant or abandoned properties in the neighborhoods?
e. Are there areas in Hartford where some of the designs from Kent State would be successful?
Baldwin, Peter C., Domesticating the street : the reform of public space in Hartford, 1850-1930, Columbus : Ohio State University Press, c1999.
Beauregard, Robert A. Voices of decline : the postwar fate of US cities, Oxford, UK ; Cambridge, Mass., USA : B. Blackwell, 1993.
Bourne, L. S., & Rose, D. (2001). The changing face of Canada: The uneven geographies of population and social change. Canadian Geographer 45 (1), 105-120.
Bunting, T., & Filion, P. (2001). Uneven cities: Addressing rising inequality in the twenty-first century. Canadian Geographer 45 (1), 126-141.
Grogan, Paul S., Comeback cities: a blueprint for urban neighborhood revival, Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 2000.
Leo, C. & Anderson, K. (2006), Being Realistic about Urban Growth. Journal of Urban Affairs 28 (2), 169-189.
SPSS Dataset put together as part of the Shrinking Cities Project. Includes Census data on demographics and housing for 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000.
UConn MAGIC (Map and Geographic Information Center) - free http://magic.lib.uconn.edu/cgi-bin/MAGIC_DBsearch1.pl
State of Connecticut Dept. of Env. Protection - free http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2698&q=322898
UConn CLEAR (Center for Land Use Education and Research) - free http://clear.uconn.edu/projects/landscape/statewide_landcover.htm