Passed Comprehensive Exams

Today, I finished a new milestone in working towards my PhD: passing comprehensive exams. The way that our department structures comprehensive exams is split into two sections. In the first section, I completed five written exams over a seven day period: three four hour exams for Theory, Research Design, and Research Methods; and two six hour exams for my focus areas: Migration and Disasters.

After a brief review period and feedback from my committee members, I entered the oral exam segment. In this portion, I sit with all of my five committee members as they take turns asking me questions about the responses to my written exams, and whatever else they wanted to query me on. Once that was done, I left the room so they could deliberate, and returned to hear that I had passed my comprehensive exams!

Next step: dissertation proposal.

Blog Post on Phil Freelon

I wrote a new blog post for Carolina Angles on the the passing of local and global architect, Phil Freelon. An excerpt is included below:

Philip Goodwin Freelon, local architect and the Architect of Record for the lauded National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., died on July 9th, 2019, at the age of 66. His death was due to complications from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

In addition to being a nationally prominent architect, Mr. Freelon was an important local figure. He graduated in 1975 from North Carolina State University’s College of Design. Later, he served as an adjunct professor at his Alma Mater and designed both the Partner III building and the contemporary expansion of the Gregg Museum of Art and Design, both on NC State’s campus. At 25, he became the youngest architect to ever be licensed in North Carolina.

Read more at Carolina Angles

Natural Hazards Center’s Hazards Workshop: Poster Presenter

The Natural Hazards Center is an National Science Foundation-designated organization dedicated to furthering knowledge on the social dimensions of natural dimensions and facilitating research and coordination between academics and practitioners. It is run through the University of Colorado at Boulder. For over 40 years, it has been hosting an annual conference on Natural Hazards research and Applications. For this current workshop, I am participating in a poster session to showcase some of my work of post-disaster migration.

My poster analyzes post-disaster displacement from and return to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, specifically focusing on the following questions:

1) Are disaster migrants displaced to areas with comparatively low-levels of vulnerability?
2) Do patterns of settlement by post-disaster migrants resemble pre-disaster migration trends?
3) Do these patterns influence individuals’ decisions to return or to remain?

 

At What Point Managed Retreat 2019: Presenter

Recently, the Climate Adaption Initiative at Columbia University’s Earth Institute hosted the Managed Retreat conference. I had the privilege of presenting work that I have been developing with Jordan Branham on Disaster Exposure and Migration: The Impact of Major and Minor Flood Events on Population Loss for the panel on Migration as Adaptation.

I had an absolutely fantastic experience, and met some scholars that I have been reading extensively (including Elizabeth Fussell), met with some colleagues my age that I am beginning to become familiar with through these types of events, and learned a lot. This conference had multiple panels and presentations on buyouts, on how we should even approach the term ‘managed retreat’, and conversations with local community leaders and members of indigenous groups who’s homes are threatened by sea-level rise.

Carolina Planning Journal: Published Book Review

For the most recent Carolina Planning Journal: Changing Ways, Making Change Volume 44, 2019, I wrote a review on The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy, by Anna Clark. An excerpt is included below:

Possibly because the Flint water crisis does not have one true cause, The Poisoned City does not have one true narrative. Clark’s account follows multiple historic arcs that range from the founding of the city to the rise and fall of leaded gasoline to power vehicles… [Taken together] Clark’s story, and the anecdotes that fill the pages, is enough to make you want to buy a water filter and test your taps.

First Prize: ASFPM Student Paper Competition

This is an update to my earlier post on being named a semi-finalist for the ASFPM 2019 Conference Student Paper Competition.  I wrote a paper with Jordan Branham entitled “Disaster Exposure and Migration: The Impact of Major and Minor Flood Events on Population Loss.” I presented the paper on Tuesday, and, today, was awarded first place for this work.

See more about the final paper here!

Climate Change Adaptation Panel: Moderator

Today, I had the privilege of moderating a great panel, Climate Change Adaptation: Communities at a Crossroad, for the 6th annual Climate Change and Resilience Symposium hosted by UNC’s school of public health. A quick description of the panel is below:

“With the Communities at a Crossroad panel, we will hear from academics and practitioners engaged with planning for hazards and climate change in North Carolina. These panelists have diverse experience in academia, planning consultancy firms, and local governments; their work to support local communities offers valuable lessons learned for communities facing a shifting environment in the era of climate change.”

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ASFPM Foundation 9th Annual Collegiate Student Paper Competition: Semifinalist

Recently, the abstract for a paper that I wrote with a fellow PhD student, Jordan Branham, was accepted as a semi-finalist for the ASFPM Foundation’s 9th  Annual Collegiate Student Paper Competition. We will be editing the paper for submission in April, and presenting on the topic in May; after which the first, second, and third place entries will be selected. The abstract is included below:

Abstract:

The effects of sea level rise and an increased propensity for major precipitation events caused by global climate change are expected to drive a dramatic reduction in the availability of habitable coastal land and induce population migrations away from particularly vulnerable areas (Allen et al. 2018; R. A. McLeman 2011). However, there is little understanding of how changing risk exposure influences individual decisions to relocate or the thresholds at which these decisions are made (Black, Adger, and Arnell 2013; Bardsley and Hugo 2010). In this paper, we seek to understand how the interaction of different scales of hazard events impact population change over time. To do this, we focus on exposure and vulnerability to flooding events. These events can range from repetitive ‘nuisance’ flooding caused by light weather to storm surges and severe rainfall precipitated by major hurricanes.

We address this research question by examining how minor and major floods between 1990 and 2016 impacted population movements during the same time period in North Carolina. Our study area is home to both coastal and riverine flood hazard areas, affording us the opportunity to tease out the marginal effects of flood vulnerability, exposure to disaster in the form of hurricanes, and the combination of these two factors on population change. Specifically, we use disaster declarations to quantify exposure to major disasters and define a census tract’s vulnerability based on the proportion of buildings within floodplains. Our analysis employs multiple regression with an interaction term in order to assess how our key explanatory variables individually and collectively influence population growth, while controlling for a number of mediating factors such as demographics, economic indicators, geography, and population trajectories.

Our findings suggest that populations have differential responses to environmental risks based on geography, particularly when compounded by joint exposure to both major and repetitive events. More specifically, while coastal communities have experienced significant population growth despite high levels of flood vulnerability, those subareas that are exposed to multiple disasters possess a negative relationship with population growth, suggesting that major disasters can act as focusing events that trigger population shifts (Birkland 1997). Comparatively, it appears that areas subjected to riverine-based flood risk are inclined to population loss in reaction to moderate risk, but less reactive to major events. We expect that these risk-responses will become more pronounced in the era of climate change as both major and minor flood events become more common and out-migration becomes self-supporting. Further, as population loss leads to reduced community resilience, the potential for the rise of non-linear migration exoduses will continue to increase (R. McLeman and Smit 2006; Massey et al. 1993). Therefore, while this study produces important initial findings, it is also presents a methodology that can continue to be used for a more rigorous longitudinal review that will be possible with future Census data.

Impacts of the Government Shutdown on HUD Programs: Blog Post

I wrote a new blog post for Carolina Angles on the impact of the government shutdown on HUD programs, with an emphasis on the impact in North Carolina. An excerpt is included below:

On January 4th, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a memorandum intended to explain how payments will proceed to Assisted Property Owners who provide affordable housing units to families across the United States. They assured owners that, while the Department’s spending authority expired on December 21st, interim activities would continue for the first thirty business days. This would include payments for Section 8 contracts, rent supplement contracts, Section 236 agreements, and Project Rental Assistance Contracts (PRAC), among others, “on an as needed basis to ensure ongoing viability of assets and preservation of affordable housing…contingent on budget authority being available from prior year appropriations or recaptures.” It was not immediately clear if or how that would continue past the thirty-day mark, possibly because, at that time, it seemed unlikely we would surpass it [1].

Read more at Carolina Angles

Photo credit: Joseph Prezioso / AFP / Getty Images

Planning for 36 Hours in New Orleans, LA: Blog Post

Recently, I established a quick travel series for the Carolina Angles planning blog, which gives a quick look at fun haunts from the perspective of planning students and professionals. To kick off the series, I wrote a post on New Orleans, LA, where I lived for multiple years during my undergraduate education. An excerpt is included below:

About the series: Welcome to our ongoing travel series. These are all posts written by planning students and professionals about what to do in a given city when looking for Brunch, a Brew, or a good idea on a Budget. To cap it all off, we include a fun planning fact!

About the visit: I lived in New Orleans for five years during my undergraduate program and absolutely fell in love with this city. I can never go back as often as I like, but recently returned for a friend’s wedding. Here are some of my favorite haunts and top recommendations

Read more at Carolina Angles