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Our faculty are engaged in research that makes a difference.

In addition to teaching, our faculty are engaged in scholarship addressing a wide range of issues: gentrification and displacement, urban heat islands, bicycling, urban agriculture, food justice, homelessness, the maker movement, tiny homes (aka accessory dwelling units), carbon taxes, equity planning, autonomous vehicles, disaster recovery, food trucks and carts, and collaborative planning processes.

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Mapping naturally-occurring affordable housing is helping the city mitigate potential gentrification from a new light rail line

Like many cities, Portland has experienced gentrification, displacing people of color to neighborhoods further from the core, with reduced amenities, access to transit and other services. Dr. Lisa K. Bates worked with the City of Portland to assess the vulnerability of different neighborhoods to increased gentrification pressure. This work has shaped the City’s new 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Her study of “naturally occurring affordable housing” along the Southwest corridor in Portland was used by the City to commit to purchasing housing in the corridor before a planned light rail, to help mitigate gentrification. She worked with the City to design its housing policy to bring families who were displaced back to Northeast Portland, and helps provide oversight to new plans to mitigate gentrification in the urban renewal district.

bikeboxDr. Jennifer Dill has worked with cities across the country to evaluate the effects of bicycle infrastructure, including the first study in the U.S. to comprehensively evaluate bike boxes (with civil engineering professor Dr. Christopher Monsere). The evidence from their study was used to support federal approval of this simple design that can improve safety. A recent project examined the barriers to bike share for under-served communities, using data from Philadelphia, Chicago, and Brooklyn. The results are informing bike share programs throughout the country.

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Temperatures in Portland vary, with several heat islands

Dr. Vivek Shandas has developed techniques to map the local impacts of climate change by engaging communities in the mapping of urban heat islands. He is actively working with city leaders in the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East to identify mitigation options for reducing heat stress among potentially vulnerable populations.

Through Planning Oregon, several faculty are working with state, regional and local public, private and civic sector planners on issues of concern for Oregon’s statewide land-use planning program. Dr. Sy Adler is documenting oral histories about Oregon’s statewide land use planning program. In a new look at Goal 3 of the statewide program, Agricultural Lands, Dr. Horst has collaborated with other researchers and community food systems advocates to assess recent trends in farmland sales and to examine the future of Oregon’s agricultural land.FarmlandSales

Telling the story of Oregon’s diverse communities—who we are, where we live, and how we are growing together—requires accurate census data.  To achieve a fair and accurate count by raising awareness and encouraging public participation, Dr. Jason Jurjevich developed a website called Census 20/20.

Some quick facts and links

Our faculty currently administer about $2.6 million dollars in externally funded research grants. 

Dr. Megan Horst just received the Rising Scholar Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.

Find more of our faculty’s work here.

Next: Planning matters in Portland, but we also connect with the world.

Want to learn more about the MURP program? Complete the form below, and we will be in touch.


JenniferDill View All

I am a Professor of Urban Studies & Planning at Portland State University.

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