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Highlights from the Program in Urban Planning and Policy Development

Program in Public Policy Highlights


Fall 2012


Research Center & Program News | Faculty News | Student and Alumni News | Events


The North Jersey Sustainable Communities Consortium, a project administered by the Bloustein School's Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, is the recipient of a $5 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant award. The grant was announced as part of the 2011 Sustainable Communities Grants, the goal of which is to help communities and regions improve their economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.

The Bloustein School’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center is the recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Rutgers University Community-University Research Grants for New Brunswick for the City of New Brunswick Sustainable Safe Streets Initiative. These grants are designed to encourage the development of new initiatives to enhance the university’s ties with New Brunswick and provide funds to build new collaborations for research focused on the areas of nutrition and food security; youth development and education; community planning; and public health and safety.

The National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment is the recipient of a $122,400 grant from the New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Family Services to continue to assist the state with the establishment of a Healthy Homes Program for NJ by providing a valid system of implementing and assessing the benefits of incorporating a Healthy Homes approach to services that improve the health of young children through addressing environmental health needs in NJ communities.

The Bloustein School is seeking to fill a full-time tenure-track faculty position in transportation (transportation planning methods; urban modeling and simulation; decision and planning support systems; travel behavior and forecasting; transportation and land use interactions; traffic safety; non-motorized transportation; public transit; transportation economics; transportation risk and security).  The position may be at the assistant, associate or full professor level. 


Hooshang Amirahmadi has just published a new book entitled The Political Economy of Iran Under the Qajars: Society, Politics, Economics and Foreign Relations 1796-1926. The book is published by I B. Tauris in London and distributed by McMillan, Palgrave and St. Martin Press.

Clinton Andrews is leading a multi-university research project on occupant behavior at the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in Philadelphia with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. Through this and other projects, his team is developing empirical evidence and computer models showing how people interact with their built environment. During the last 12 months, he has shared this work with audiences in China, France, Switzerland and the UK.
Robert Burchell was one of three keynote speakers in Delray Beach, Florida at the June kickoff meeting for Seven50. Seven50 is a HUD/EPA/DOT and Florida RPC-funded grant to produce a 50 year Regional Sustainability Plan for the seven counties in Southeast Florida. Burchell, along with William Dolphin, will produce 50-year TREND projections of employment and population-related variables for 7 counties, 120 municipalities and 4,500 TAZs.

James DeFilippis had a completely revised edition of his Community Development Reader published earlier this year.  He continues to work on issues of community development, community organizing, and affordable housing.  He has recently begun working on issues of immigration, community organizations and urban politics.
Mike Ernst has joined Rutgers as an Instructor teaching courses in graphics and GIS for planners. Mike worked as a consultant on a wide variety of urban design and planning projects. He is a LEED Accredited Professional with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Miami University of Ohio and a Master’s of City Planning from UC Berkeley.
Amelia Greiner has been assisting the Baltimore City Departments of Planning, Law and Health to evaluate health implications of including new measures in the City's proposed zoning rewrite to address the location, density and existence of alcohol outlets. This analysis is specifically focused on the relationship between alcohol outlets and violent crime.  

Briavel Holcomb, a professor of geography and planning, was the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Honors award from the Association of American Geographers for 2012. AAG Honors are the highest awards offered by the Association of American Geographers. They are offered annually to recognize outstanding accomplishments by members in research & scholarship, teaching, education, service to the discipline, public service outside academe and for lifetime achievement.
Radha Jagannathan has co-founded a community development and human capital program called Nurture thru Nature (NtN). Funded by Johnson & Johnson, NtN introduces the wonders of nature and science to elementary school students in New Brunswick public schools. NtN has also established a partnership between community residents, parents, students and teachers at public schools and Rutgers faculty and students with the primary goal of enhancing social and human capital stocks for New Brunswick residents. NtN has been implemented as a classical experimental design, enabling accurate assessment of program impact.
Michael Lahr is president-elect of the Southern Regional Science Association and was re-elected to a five-year seat on the Council of the International Input-Output Association.  He performs economic impact analyses using regional input-output models, applied computable general equilibrium models, spatial econometrics, and other statistical modeling techniques for various applications and clients.

Henry Mayer is the principal investigator for a $400,000, two-year grant from FEMA Region II through the NJ Office of Emergency Management for a Phase II flood mitigation study on the combined Passaic and Raritan River watershed areas. He is also working on a project, primarily funded by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system, with added funding from DHS, FTA and DOT to develop a 20-minute training video for the approximate 80,000 bus operators around the country on awareness of suspicious persons and packages.

Tony Nelessen recently  presented the results of a three year public participation process to determine the acceptable and unacceptable physical characteristics of the 18 communities that are located within the Fire Island National Seashore.  The study was sponsored by the United Stated Department of Interior and will be incorporated into the General Management Plan for the seashore and in local codes.

Kathe Newman, Associate Professor and Director of the newly created Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement, co-edited the book Activist Scholar: The Work of Marilyn Gittell  and has two book chapters forthcoming:  "Ruthless: Mapping the Foreclosure Wave in an American Metropolis" in Mark Davidson and Deborah Martin's Urban Politics: Critical Approaches (with Elvin Wyly) and "Post-Industrial Widgets." in Manuel Aalbers' Borrowed Metropolis: Cities, Housing and the Political Economy of Mortgage Markets. Her 2010 article with Elvin Wyly, Alex Schafran, and Elizabeth Lee, "Displacing New York" in Environment and Planning A won the Ashby Prize. 

Robert Noland is leading the efforts of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center within the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium; this is a consortium of nine universities led by the Mineta Transportation Institute.

Over the past year, John Pucher has published ten refereed journal articles dealing with walking, cycling, and public transportation, with a particular emphasis on the benefits of active travel for public health.  This coming October, MIT Press will publish his new book City Cycling, which examines cycling trends and policies across the globe, including a wide range of cities in Asia, Australia, North America, and Europe.
"Broken Heartland: The Looming Collapse of Agriculture on the Great Plains," the cover story of the July 2012 Harper's by Wil S. Hylton, makes extensive use of Frank and Deborah Popper's concept of the Buffalo Commons as the land-use future for much of the region. In April 2012 the Poppers went to the Milwaukee premiere of Jerome Kitzke's oratorio, "Buffalo Nation (Bison bison)," which quotes extensively from their article "The Buffalo Commons: Metaphor as Method" in the October 1999 issue of the Geographical Review. Also in April they appeared in "Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison," a regional Emmy-winning 2010 documentary directed by High Plains Films' Doug Hawes-Davis, that aired on the Public Broadcasting System 1600 times across the country to excellent reviews.

In April Lyna Wiggins published the article "Tobacco Outlet Density and Demographics: A Geographically Weighted Regression Analysis" in Prevention Science. The article was co-authored with Raymond Sanchez Mayers, Fontaine H. Fulghum and N. Andrew Peterson.


Bloustein doctoral students Nick Klein and Andrew Zitcer have received the American Sociological Association’s Community and Urban Sociology Section (CUSS) Student Paper Award for 2012. The award is for their article “Everything But The Chickens: Cultural Authenticity Onboard the Chinatown Bus,” published in Urban Geography 33,1: 46-63. The award announcement states that, “The CUSS Student Paper Award goes to the student author of the paper the award committee regards as the best graduate student paper in community and urban sociology” and “the paper that demonstrates the most thoughtful, competent or innovative analysis of a theoretical or empirical issue that is germane to the Section’s main interests.”

Master of City and Regional Planning degree candidate Mike Benson was recently awarded the 2012 American Public Transportation Foundation’s Jerome C. Premo Scholarship. The scholarship is for applicants dedicated to a career in public administration/public policy in the transit community. Mike was honored at the 2012 Scholarship Awards Program in conjunction with the American Public Transport Association’s Annual Meeting in Seattle on October  1.

Kyle Gebhart MCRP '12 placed first among 13 entries in the American Planning Association’s Transportation Planning Division 2012 Student Paper Competition. His paper, titled “Wasteful Parking Supply in East Harlem (An Analysis of Parking Occupancy and Mode Usage at East River Plaza in New York City),” was chosen by the review committee for its clarity, strong research, and timeliness. The paper examines the 1,248 space parking garage constructed as part of the East River Plaza mall in East Harlem, Manhattan. Parking accommodations for this mall were calculated by using parking studies on similar box store-style shopping areas in Staten Island, Bronx, Queens, and Port Chester, NY.  Kyle’s research evaluates the assumptions and methodology used to determine the large parking supply and also measured current parking usage, finding that the parking supplied has resulted in an underutilized land use and therefore a waste of public funds and a lost opportunity for additional development. Download paper

Early this summer Bloustein School MCRP candidates Tyler Rubin and Charlotte Colon Alvarez were two of eight graduate students in urban planning, community development, and public administration selected as fellows Morgan Stanley/Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD) Community Development Fellowship Program. The Fellowship Program pairs eight nonprofit community development corporations with eight graduate students from New York City’s finest urban planning, community development and public administration programs. The fellowship application indicates that a key objective of the program is to help train the next generation of community development leaders, so in addition to hands-on community development work, fellows will have the opportunity to meet with leaders in New York City’s government, planning, and community development fields. Fellows receive an $18,000 stipend to serve in a part-time, 10-month internship during the academic year in a neighborhood-based community development corporation.

MCRP candidates Heather Martin and  Scott Fishberg are the recipients of scholarships from the Advanced Institute for Transportation Education (AITE), whose purpose is to increase the knowledge and capabilities of transportation professional through education in transportation and related fields.

MCRP candidates Grant Engel, Aimee Jefferson, and Heather Martin were selected as fellows for the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP), awards fellowships to students pursuing degrees in transportation-related disciplines.

Last fall the Bloustein School commissioned The Raritan Borough Waterfront Redevelopment Studio, a graduate planning studio, to study the waterfront of Raritan Borough, New Jersey. The objective of the studio was to create a regenerative urban design plan for an underutilized portion of the Raritan Borough waterfront encompassing the 3/4-mile long Orlando Drive corridor. The studio was led by Princeton-based designer and planner Carlos Rodrigues, PP, AICP. Ten students worked for three months to create a vision plan for the area, presenting their work to Raritan Borough officials and members of the public in December, 2011. To ensure that the vision had “real-life” application, the studio worked closely with the Borough’s planner and engineer to craft concepts that would provide the basis for master plan and zoning amendments that could be adopted by the Borough. The Borough’s participation was funded by a grant from the Regional Center Partnership of Somerset County. The studio’s Vision Plan is available online at

The school announced the selection of the Louis Berger Graduate Fellows for the 2012-13 academic year as David Koch, Matthew Kusy, Areej Sabzwari, and Joshua Wilcox. The Berger Fellows program was created in 2009, in which Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) and/or Master of Public Policy (MPP) students from the Bloustein School are considered for a comprehensive fellowship award and earn credit during a professional experience internship at an international or national site of The Louis Berger Group, Inc., one of the leading planning and engineering consulting organizations in the country. “The relationship between the Bloustein School faculty and senior leadership at Berger has been strengthened by the development of this fellowship program,” said Bloustein professor and Associate Dean Michael Greenberg. “The fellowships are a generous investment in the future of these students, aimed at developing knowledge and professional skills by jump-starting their careers in a blue-ribbon firm that offers opportunities around the world.”


2012 marks the 20th anniversary year of the Bloustein School. We hosted many successful events throughout the 2011-12 academic year, including a Symposium on Planning Healthy, Sustainable Communities in April.

In June the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative hosted the Fourth Annual Sustainable Raritan River Conference, The Raritan River Region:  Flooding, Regeneration and the Next Generation. The event included a day of workshops and interactive discussions on citizen science and bioblitzes, dam removal and stream restoration, municipal success stories, corporate responsibility, land management, flooding mitigation and adaptation, practicing regeneration, and how we engage our communities, our neighbors, and our kids.

The Bloustein School will be hosting a Faculty and Research Center Staff Speaker Series to highlight the work of members of the Bloustein faculty and center staff.

Peter Norton, a historian of technology at the University of Virginia, will presented the 2012 Alan M. Voorhees Distinguished Lecture, “Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City,” on Thursday, October 18.

The Rutgers Association of Policy and Planning Students is hostingRepresenting the City: Technology, Action, and Change, a day-long symposium exploring the possibilities and challenges of information technology in democratic planning practice for social justice, on October 19. The symposium features a panel of five organizations that utilize digital data technologies as a catalyst for urban community engagement, a keynote lunch, and a series of  workshops that will expose participants to new technologies and tools for social change. Opportunities for dialogue, debate, and discussion will be available throughout the day.

The Office of Student and Academic Services will be holding career development job talks for students interested in the Port Authority NY/NJ, the Regional Plan Association, and more.  Career development at the Bloustein School.