In the first round of research grants to Ohio State graduate students and faculty who are exploring real estate related topics in their research were awarded in the fall of 2015. The Center received 17 applications and has selected five proposals for funding. The projects represented five different departments across Ohio State campus and range in topics from the impact of brownfield redevelopment on surrounding neighborhoods to impact of beach nourishment on surrounding communities. 

Grant report summaries

  • Marisol Becerra, PhD Candidate in Environmental Social Science, “Environmental Justice for Whom? A Spatiotemporal Study of Brownfield Redevelopment and Gentrification in the United States”

    As of 2012, there were an estimated 450,000 abandoned industrial sites, also known as brownfields, in the United States. Since its inception in 1995, the federal Brownfield Revitalization Program has successfully acquired and distributed more than $23.3 billion in brownfield cleanup and redevelopment funding from the private and public sector. By using Brownfield Redevelopment Grantee data, the U.S. Census data and American Community Survey 2010-2014, Marisol Becerra begun examining the impact of brownfield redevelopment on the surrounding communities, specifically focusing on tracking demographic changes in respect to race and socioeconomic characteristics. Results from this initial nationwide study indicate property values increase when brownfields are awarded redevelopment grants. Furthermore, the changes in housing characteristics such as renter occupied and owner occupied units reveal a growing shift supporting the rent-gap theory for gentrification and neighborhood change. Although the results of this exploratory analysis reveal support for gentrification indicators such as increased rent prices, property values, and a growing renter base, it does not prove causation or statistical significance. Moving forward, it is important to examine multi-level effects of brownfield redevelopment at the national, regional, state, city, and neighborhood level for one or a set of neighborhoods in the U.S. to further identify the neighborhood change processes that happen at the smallest scale using U.S. census data.

  • Andrew Doup, Moritz College of Law, “Port Authority as a public-private partnership for real estate development”

    Port Authority Law can create value for real estate development deals through the exercise of a combination of legal powers otherwise unavailable under state or local governments. The Port Authority Act of Ohio empowers local governments to create a public corporation with enumerated, but comprehensive real estate development-related powers. These powers include the ability to finance, acquire, construct, lease, and sell real property, as well as the power to generate an operating income from its real estate development-related activities. The exercise of these powers has been broadly upheld by the judiciary as a constitutional delegation of legislative power. This study presents information on the powers, uses, and judicial limitations of the Port Authority Law so that public and private decision-makers may capture its synergies to create value for their private business and public policy objectives.

  • Kyle Ezell, Professor, City and Regional planning, “The Cultural Design Blueprint”

    Meaningful, identifiable places are competitive because they usually do a better job of attracting residents, jobs, customers, and tourists. The framework provided in “The Cultural Design Blueprint” guide developed by Kyle Ezell is designed to help communities implement architecture, landscape architecture, infrastructure, public art, and building interiors that are more meaningful because they are inspired by their local culture. The visual guide provides a method to help any place achieve a competitive edge through creative culture-based design. The guide uses the city of Athens planning process as a case study for wider use. Unlike most other plans that are reused by many places that produce similar (often generic results), using the framework detailed in this guide will help communities produce place-based design results to help celebrate the place they love.

  • Yun Qiu, PhD Candidate in Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, “Shoreline Defense against Climate Change and Capitalized Impact of Beach Nourishment”

    Simultaneous trends in retreating shorelines and increasing population have raised concerns among coastal residents and policy makers and led to shoreline stabilization programs to protect coastal development. Beach nourishment – the process of replacing an eroding section of a beach with sand dredged from inlets or offshore sand reserves – was first implemented in the state of New York in the 1920s and is now the dominant coastal management policy along the US Atlantic Coast. Whereas valuation of beach amenities has been studied extensively, the economic impact of beach nourishment policy is not well understood. By using a quasi-experimental approach to examine the capitalized effect of nourishment in the northern barrier islands of North Carolina, Yun Qiu, a PhD candidate in the department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, found that the benefits from widened beaches are distributed unequally, both within and across neighboring communities. While at the community level, a beach nourishment project exhibits characteristics of a local public good, the beachfront and near-shore property owners gain disproportionately from the project. He further found that there are positive spatial spillover effects in amenity values but the benefits of storm risk reduction are highly localized. These findings suggest a need for spatially targeted polices to sustain shoreline stabilization.