Associate Professor Jennifer Minner Featured in CNN Travel Countdown to Expo 2020

Rendering of the 1,080-acre Expo 2020 site in Dubai.

Rendering of the 1,080-acre Expo 2020 site in Dubai. / photo Expo 2020

Associate Professor Jennifer Minner contributed to CNN Travel’s Countdown to Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In the countdown, Minner provided a historical overview of previously held expos. The 1962 expo in Seattle, Washington, she stated, was a prominent example of developing civic space and iconic architectural pieces, including the Seattle Space Needle. “One measure of a successful Expo is whether it has a societal impact in urban planning,” Minner commented.

Professor Minner has been interested in the concept of mega-event sites in her research. In the department, she has taught seminar courses on how city government agencies have channeled public and private investments to become host cities. Her special topics course Cultural Landscapes, Public Space, and former Mega-Event Sites has provided students the opportunity to research and develop design, preservation, and cultural strategies for various mega-event sites throughout history.

The CNN Travel video on the Expo 2020 countdown is part of the Global Gateway series, which documents the rapid developments occurring in Dubai. Minner’s interview can be heard at 1:13 in the video.

CRP out in full force at the ACSP 2019 conference

People seated at round tables in an event space

photo / Kay Meyer Photography

The Department of City and Regional Planning (CRP) was well-represented at October’s annual conference for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) in Greenville, South Carolina. CRP faculty and Ph.D. students engaged in a variety of different events, ranging from paper presentations to participation in panel discussions.

“It was inspiring and gratifying to see the significant participation by Cornell at this year’s ACSP annual meeting,” said department chair Jeffrey Chusid. “Eleven members of our faculty, as well as 11 CRP Ph.D. students, delivered presentations on their research, while a number of them and other Cornellians engaged in panels and other discussions about the future of the planning field. The intellectual life of the department is thriving.”

For Ph.D. students, the experience presenting their research to a broader audience outside the department provided insight into areas of exploration for furthering their work and introducing them to other academics in the field.

“My initial approach to the ACSP conference was broad. I wanted to see a wide variety of sessions throughout the conference tracks,” Ph.D. candidate Dylan Stevenson commented. “Doing so offered me a glimpse as to how different planning ‘circles’ communicated and the ways in which planning subfields attempt to tackle the same problem.”

CRP faculty and alumni were among the recipients of faculty awards at the conference. Assistant professor Nicholas Klein was recognized as one of the Top Reviewers for the Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER). In selecting a Top Reviewer, editors examine the quantity, quality, and timeliness of each candidate’s reviews.

Additionally, Courtney Knapp (CRP Ph.D. ’14), associate professor at Pratt Institute, received the Paul Davidoff Book Award for her publication Constructing the Dynamo of Dixie. The award recognizes an outstanding book regarding participatory planning and positive social change, opposing poverty and racism as factors in society and seeking ways to address social and place-based inequalities.

The 2020 ACSP conference will be held in Toronto, Canada.

Suzanne Lanyi Charles’s Research Featured in Recent Publications


headshot of a woman with blonde hair wearing a blue shirt

Suzanne Charles

Assistant Professor Suzanne Lanyi Charles has recently published two papers stemming from her ongoing research concerning the post-crisis financialization of housing. Charles’s research explores the shifts in the way global capital is being reinvested in local housing markets since the 2008 housing crisis and the effects of those shifts on households and access to housing. One important manifestation of these shifts is an increase in single-family rental housing (SFR) in suburban neighborhoods. While increases in suburban SFR may provide access to neighborhoods otherwise off-limits to renters, the increasing dominance of corporate ownership of SFR may be problematic.

Charles takes look at SFRs in a broad collection of U.S. metropolitan areas in “A Latent Profile Analysis of Suburban Single-Family Rental Housing (SFR) Neighborhoods” (Housing Policy Debate, October 29, 2019). “Single-family rental housing (SFR) is an increasingly prevalent form of housing tenure in U.S. suburban neighborhoods, representing a paradigm shift in how households gain access to a suburban single-family home,” she writes.

Using a specialized data analysis technique, the paper classifies types of suburban neighborhoods having high rates of SFR located in the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Concentrations of SFR were found to be located in a variety of neighborhoods, including diverse middle-class, older white middle-class, low-income Hispanic, low-income African American, and affluent neighborhoods. The study finds that the composition of high-SFR neighborhoods in these areas varies substantially. The article examines the variation in the types of high-SFR neighborhoods for the areas studied and presents a detailed analysis of the spatial distribution of high-SFR neighborhood types in Atlanta, L.A., and Boston.

In “The Financialization of Single-Family Rental Housing: An Examination of Real Estate Investment Trusts’ Ownership of Single-Family Houses in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area” (Journal of Urban Affairs, October 11, 2019), Charles writes that a new type of SFR investor emerged after the 2008 housing crisis — real estate investment trusts (REITs) that funnel large amounts of global capital into local housing markets.

The paper presents an examination of investments made by the four largest publicly traded SFR REITs in the Atlanta metro area. Using exploratory spatial data analysis methods, the study examines the intensity and locations of statistically significant spatial clusters of SFR owned by REITs. Findings indicate that overall, houses owned by SFR REITs are highly spatially clustered in neighborhoods forming a U-shape surrounding the city of Atlanta. Furthermore, many of the places where SFR REIT ownership is clustered are places that were hard hit by the 2008 housing crisis. Increased rents, depressed house prices, deferred maintenance, and increased evictions due to REIT ownership may increase unaffordability, create greater instability, and decrease quality of housing for households in an already precarious position in the housing market.

Charles’s research has received grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Real Estate Academic Initiative at Harvard University, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell, and the President’s Council of Cornell Women.

By Patti Witten

Students Discuss Climate Change Impacts at ICSD

dinner table group photo

Gerard Finin and his students meet with Tongan guests following the ICSD. photo / Gerard Finin

Visiting Lecturer Gerard Finin (M.R.P. ’86, Ph.D. CRP ’91) and students of the multi-disciplinary special topics course Global Climate Change Science and Policy traveled to New York City to participate in the International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD). In its seventh year, the conference was hosted by The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

The ICSD was part of the week-long Climate Week NYC 2019 event, which provided a forum for non-profit organizations, various levels of governments, and businesses to share practical solutions and goals for climate adaptation and mitigation.

At a dinner meeting following the conference, Finin and the students met with guests from the Kingdom of Tonga, which included: Hon. Mahe Tupouniua, Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Dr. T. Suka Mangisi, Deputy Chief of Mission for the Permanent Mission of Tonga to the United Nations; Rose Kautoke, Assistant Crown Counsel; and Siosiua Utoi’kamanu, Kingdom of Tonga Representative.

Students discussed the strategies for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The guests from Tonga and the class shared their thoughts on the challenges SIDS face when trying to accelerate climate adaptation and mitigation practices both domestically and at the international level.

“Although SIDS have historically been relatively small contributors of global carbon emissions, they have been the most vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change – from degradation and loss of fisheries to devastating cyclones,” shared Louis Chua (M.S. R.S. ’20) following the dinner.

Later in the semester, a student team led by Finin in the course will focus on the Kingdom of Tonga. They will be developing strategies and consulting for the kingdom, leading up to the COP25 conference, which will be held in Santiago, Chile later this year.

Global Climate Change Science and Policy is a multi-department seminar supported by Engaged Cornell. In addition to Finin, the course is taught by faculty from other colleges within the university, including Assistant Professor Linda Shi of City and Regional Planning.

Past courses and workshops of Finin’s have worked with constituents of Tonga to study the climate change impact on the kingdom. This past spring, Finin took his International Planning and Development Workshop to Tonga where they saw firsthand the impact of global warming on their livelihood. Students witnessed the coastal erosion conditions and water infrastructure, which were just a few challenges among many that communities face as a result of climate change.

Patric Hollenstein, Liisa North, and Mildred Warner: Listening to Local Voices: Using Collaborative Ethnography to Understand the Links between Community Well-Being, Public Services, and Family Strategies in Ecuador

Rural road

Tungurahua, Ecuador

Date and location: October 4, 12:20 p.m. in Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium, Milstein Hall

Glenn H. Beyer Memorial Lecture

Patric Hollenstein has a master’s degree in political studies (FLACSO Ecuador). He is professor at the Central University of Ecuador. His work specializes in markets, agrifood networks and chains, fair trade, popular and solidarity economies, and rural territories. He is writing his doctoral thesis on the transformation of public food markets in Ecuador.

Liisa L. North is professor emerita from York University in Toronto and FLACSO in Ecuador. She has written 12 books and more than 60 articles and chapters on rural development, agrarian reform, political economics and public policy in Andean countries. Her most recent book is Dominant Elites in Latin America: From Neo-liberalism to the “Pink Tide” (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018).

Mildred Warner is professor of city and regional planning at Cornell University. She served with the Peace Corps in Tungurahua, Ecuador, in 1979 and has maintained connections with the region since that time. Her research focuses on public services and community development. She authored more than 100 journal articles and several edited volumes.


The province of Tungurahua, Ecuador is one of very few places in Latin America that has achieved economic growth and reductions in inequality at the same time. Investments in infrastructure, and connecting rural and urban through roads, markets, and education has built an integrated region. This has made real the politics of buen vivir in the lived experience of rural people in place —the buen lugar. We use the power of narrative to build situated knowledge to enhance scholarly understanding of this rural transformation, and we promote knowledge equity by engaging local voices. By lifting up individual experience we can articulate the particularity of the local within larger forces.

Liisa North, Patric Hollenstein, and Mildred Warner will present the context and the oral histories of rural residents featured in their recent book, Un Buen Lugar en Tungurahua: Estrategias Familiares de un Pueblo Rural, (FLACSO Ecuador, 2018).

Cosponsored by the Latin American Studies Program and the Einaudi Center

More CRP events

Assistant Professor Linda Shi Records Climate Change Inequality Episode for Podcast

What Makes Us Human,” a podcast of Cornell University’s College of Arts & Sciences which explores what it means to be human in the 21st century, has made inequality the centerpiece of its new season. Assistant Professor Linda Shi recorded the season’s first episode, an audio essay focused on her climate change inequality research, through which she has come to some anticipated, as well as some surprising, conclusions.

“It’s the poor who have contributed the least to carbon emissions who will suffer the most from climate change,” Shi said in her podcast. “However, my research shows that efforts to adapt to climate change can also worsen inequality.”

Shi is hopeful, however, that addressing regional economic development will make the climate change response more equitable. Her research focuses on urban environmental governance and advancing planning policies to manage the urban climate transition in ways that improve social equity.

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