Research Projects

I have several active empirical and theoretical projects in various stages of development. Currently, I am working in the following areas:

     Redevelopment Politics & Neighborhood Change
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Atlanta has entered a period of rapid reconfiguration of the urban core. Much of this new development rehearses well-trod tropes of gentrification and large-scale displacement. However, the Atlanta region is home to one of America's largest black middle-class communities, and both its suburbanization and its contemporary "return to the city" reflect an unusual set of racial (and regional) community dynamics. I am interested in how lower- and middle-income communities that are not upwardly-mobile and white communicate their desires to the development community; where and how they are most successful; and the degree to which divergent place-imaginaries of Atlanta might be (partially) reconciled.
     Community Land Trusts & Non-state Regulation
Twin Cities Region, Minnessota
Urban Land Trusts offer a novel, supported gateway to home ownership for residents who for a variety of reasons might not otherwise be able to become homeowners. However, these trusts also become very involved in neighborhood politics and the reproduction of local identity. I am interested in how these typically nonprofit agencies interact with both residents and the local state as they execute their mission of expanding stable ownership opportunities to a wider population.
     Automation & the Urban: Technology-led Disemployment and the Shape of Cities
Since industrialization, urban morphology has been centrally shaped by the mediation between sites of laboring and sites of dwelling though technologies of transportation. Both the nature of laboring and the nature of transportation are in the early stages of a radical inflection point with regard to technologies of automation. I am particularly interested in the effects that automation might have on the shapes of cities: where people are willing to live, how they are willing to move, and where (and under what conditions) opportunities to work will be distributed spatially.
     Urban Theory in and from South Africa
Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa
How is exclusion (both by the state and private entities) used as a strategy for managing social relations and the development machine in urban South Africa?
     The Politics of Place-making and Resistance
Growing from an interest in geographical theory, I am working with a variety of collaborators to further develop contemporary theories of place and place-making. Building on the concept of "relational place-making," we are exploring how place theory helps to expand the empirical range of critiques of urban development.

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