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Faculty Research

Above: Dr. Lisa K. Bates gives a CityWise lecture at PSU's Native American Student and Community Center evaluating the Portland Housing Center's “Getting Your House In Order” program, a financial literacy course aimed at closing the racial homeownership gap.  

Faculty members at TSUSP engage with communities through both research and service to address issues of social justice and diversity from a variety of perspectives.

Lisa K. Bates

Lisa Bates’ research area is neighborhood and housing policy and planning. Her work is particularly focused on social justice issues, including understanding how inequitable racialized outcomes may arise from institutional biases in policy implementation, and how planning can promote increased equity and opportunity. Dr. Bates’ research also describes how people of color and low-income households make decisions about housing and neighborhoods, given their perceived choices and constraints. As a planner, she engages with space and place as important to the context of decision-making and policy-making, and has conducted research in diverse settings, including post-Katrina New Orleans, Chicago, and Portland.

In Portland, Dr. Bates has served as the co-lead for the Technical Advisory Group on Equity and Civic Engagement for the Portland Plan and on the Creation Committee for the Office of Equity and Human Rights, both of which seek to address ways to dismantle institutionalized racism in city government. She has also participated in Partnership for Racial Equity, a working group convened by the Urban League of Portland, and with providing research for the Portland African-American Leadership Forum.

Yiping Fang

Yiping Fang deepens the School's expertise in international planning. Her research has been focused on housing reform in china and the social and spatial inequality in Chinese cities between local and migrant households. China’s historic institutional discrimination and inequitable distribution of services to its residents remains a primary focus of Dr. Fang's research. She coordinates a weekly seminar on topics related to planning in China and develops exchange opportunities for students through the PSU-China Innovations in Urbanization Program. Dr. Fang teaches courses in research methods, GIS in planning, international planning, and planning in developing countries. 

Matthew Gebhardt

Matthew Gebhardt's research concerns the formulation and implementation of urban redevelopment projects and the structures and institutions that facilitate or constrain these processes. He is particularly interested in the implications of these projects for community engagement, neighborhood change and social justice. Dr. Gebhardt is currently studying the regeneration of public housing estates in the UK as a complement to his previous work on US public housing redevelopment. He recently received a HUD grant and a faculty enhancement grant from PSU to research the demographic and spatial patterns of Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) Planning Grant applications. 

Karen Gibson  

Dr. Gibson teaches courses on urban poverty, community economic development, urban housing, and black urban history through documentary film. Her research focuses primarily on racial economic inequality and its spatial manifestations in the urban United States. She is currently conducting a study of neighborhood change--particularly the processes of segregation, housing disinvestment, reinvestment, and gentrification--in Portland’s historic black community, the Albina District. From 2001-2010, Dr. Gibson conducted applied research through a partnership with Home Forward (formerly the Housing Authority of Portland), evaluating both their anti-poverty program (GOALS) and the social impacts of their public housing redevelopment HOPE VI projects. She is currently board president of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI), a non-profit provider of affordable housing.

Jason Jurjevich 

Jason Jurjevich is a human geographer with research interests in population and political geography. More specifically, his research focuses on the spatial implications of demographic change. Through his work at the Population Research Center (PRC), Dr. Jurjevich has authored several scholarly and applied articles highlighting social, economic, and demographic related trends in the Portland metropolitan area and Oregon. Recent research includes considering the social and political implications of inferring same-sex demographic statistics from U.S. Census data and examining the discursive power of scale in measuring income and racial segregation. 

Nathan McClintock

Assistant Professor Nathan McClintock is a geographer who focuses on urban agriculture, sustainable food systems, and food justice. His work integrates various methods (from soil sampling to GIS to interviews to social theory) under a broader urban political ecology framework to understand food systems, cities, and the environment across multiple levels and scales. Dr. McClintock’s goal is to innovate agri-food systems research and education on a theoretical level by drawing attention to social processes, to the broader political economy, and to how it articulates with race, class, and gender. At the same time, he is interested in actively contributing to change on the ground via participatory action research. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on urban agriculture and food systems, urban political ecology, and sustainable cities, all of which focus centrally on social justice.

Thad Miller

Thad Miller's research focuses on the relationship between science, values, civic reasoning and decision-making related to environmental and social issues. Along with Dr. Amy Lubitow (Assistant Professor, Sociology, PSU), Dr. Miller received a grant from the American Sociological Association Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline (FAD) for their project, “Contesting Sustainability: Bicycles, Race and Place,” which examines the controversy around the proposed North Williams Traffic Safety and Operations Project in Portland. Using qualitative interviews, content analysis and participant observation, they are investigating how and why community conflict regarding a seemingly benign development project—a bicycle lane and traffic safety improvement and expansion—has erupted into a divisive issue within the neighborhood surrounding North Williams Avenue. The project also explores how the creation of a Stakeholder Advisory Committee by the Portland Bureau of Transportation will change the design of the contested project. This research will help to clarify how critical dialogue regarding urban planning policies and practices arises and, in the case of North Portland, how historical legacies of racism and classism may generate distrust of projects developed by the city government and allied stakeholders. Drs. Miller and Lubitow also intend to use this project to aid city planners and community members in generating policy recommendations that may lead to the development of more inclusive planning processes in the Portland metro area.

Connie Ozawa

Connie Ozawa is a professor whose work examines how the design, structure and flow of planning and decision making processes reflect and affect power relationships, and the role of the planner in such activities. She is particularly interested in how and when different types of information wield varying levels of authority, the effects of the inclusion/exclusion of stakeholders, and the consequences of decision making processes on implementation and the creation of livable cities. Dr. Ozawa is the author of Recasting Science: Consensual Procedures in Public Policy Making, Westview Press, (1991) and editor of The Portland Edge: Challenges and Successes in Growing Communities, Washington, DC and Boulder, CO: Island Press, (2004).

Greg Schrock

Greg Schrock's research lies at the intersection of regional economies and local labor markets. He studies how state and local actors are integrating policies and strategies for economic and workforce development, especially in ways that promote social equity and upward mobility in low-wage labor markets. Dr. Schrock is currently studying local policies for first-source hiring in economic development, especially in "green job" initiatives in U.S. cities.

Richard White

Dr. White teaches courses in the University Studies Program that prepare students for further work in the Community Studies and the Healthy People Healthy Places clusters; courses in the Community Development undergraduate program; and International Community Development field seminars in Nicaragua. His research interests include urban social structure, social justice, community organization and development, international community development, and urban faith-based organizations.

Gerry Sussman

Professor Sussman's teaching focuses on development theory and the political economy of cities in both developed and developing countries in the historical and social contexts of power, practice, and ideology. His research particularly focuses on the impacts of media and new technology on urban form, urban design, urban representation, public space, public culture, and labor and social equity concerns. More recently, his research has primarily dealt with the political economy of media and communications technology and the electoral sphere in the U.S. and Europe.