Urban Studies Research http://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2016 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Shrinking Regions in a Shrinking Country: The Geography of Population Decline in Lithuania 2001–2011 Thu, 21 Apr 2016 07:46:25 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2016/5395379/ Shrinking populations have been gaining increasing attention, especially in postsocialist Eastern and Central European countries. While most studies focus on specific cities and regions, much less is known about the spatial dimension of population decline on the national level and the local factors determining spatially uneven population change. This study uses Lithuanian census data from the years 2001 to 2011 to get insight into the geography of population change for the whole country. Lithuania has experienced one of the highest rates of population decline in the world in the last decades. The predictive models show that regional factors have a strong effect on the variation in population change throughout the country but also reveal that sociodemographic and economic area characteristics play a role in the process of decline. Our results give little hope to those who would like to reverse the ongoing trends of population change and emphasize the need for spatial planning to cope with the changes. This is an approach which currently does not exist in practice in Lithuania. Rūta Ubarevičienė, Maarten van Ham, and Donatas Burneika Copyright © 2016 Rūta Ubarevičienė et al. All rights reserved. Analysis of Akure Urban Land Use Change Detection from Remote Imagery Perspective Wed, 06 Apr 2016 14:31:15 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2016/4673019/ This study presents the analysis of Akure urban land use change detection from remote imagery perspective. Efforts were made to examine the direction that the continuous expansion of the city tends towards since its inception as a state capital in 1976. Using Aerial Imagery Overlay (AIO), the pattern of land use changes in Akure and its environs were determined. This involves imageries interpolation and overlaying to determine the land use changes, direction, and extent of the expansion. Findings revealed unguided expansion in the growth of the city which affects the pattern of land uses within the city and, by extension, into the adjoining settlements. There were incompatible conversions in land uses and undue encroachment into green areas in the adjoining communities. The study suggests effective zoning strategy on unguided nature of urban development whose effects on land use are very prominent in the study area. Adequate monitoring by the Development Control Department and other stakeholders in urban planning is equally suggested to mitigate the incompatible land use changes in the area. Julius Oluranti Owoeye and Oyewole Amos Ibitoye Copyright © 2016 Julius Oluranti Owoeye and Oyewole Amos Ibitoye. All rights reserved. Social Isolation of the Stateless and the Destitute: A Study on the Refugee-Camp and the Sullied Slum of Dhaka City Thu, 03 Mar 2016 09:52:04 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2016/9017279/ The lower-class segment of the population of the developing nations often fails to form meaningful social relations and remain disengaged from essential social institutions. The research examines those people who live in refugee-camp and sullied slum of Dhaka city and inspect how much they are socially isolated. Certain characteristics, taken as indicators to test the level of social isolation, indicate that a large segment of camp and slum dwellers are feeling isolated. However, the evidence shows no differences in the predicted direction with respect to the objective demographic variables; nonetheless, a pattern of perceived social isolation was found from the survey data. Muhammad Rehan Masoom Copyright © 2016 Muhammad Rehan Masoom. All rights reserved. Potential for Application of Retroreflective Materials instead of Highly Reflective Materials for Urban Heat Island Mitigation Wed, 17 Feb 2016 14:04:47 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2016/3626294/ Research on urban heat island (UHI) mitigation has been carried out globally. Several strategies have been proposed or developed to mitigate UHI, including highly reflective (HR) envelopes of buildings, green roofs, urban vegetation, shading, heat sinks, and air-conditioning efficiency. Among these techniques, HR envelopes have been extensively studied as an effective method to mitigate the UHI effect by reducing energy consumption. However, because most of HR materials are diffusive, HR envelopes applied to vertical surfaces can reflect both onto roads and nearby buildings. Additionally, HR roofs cannot reflect all incoming solar radiation to the sky if there are high buildings around it. Thus, HR materials applied as building envelopes have a limited effect against the solar contribution to the UHI. In order to solve this problem, retroreflective (RR) materials, which reflect the solar radiation back towards the source, have been studied and developed to be applied as building envelopes instead of HR materials. This paper summarizes several previous researches on HR envelopes and cool roofs and summarizes several current researches on RR materials. The potential for application of RR envelopes in cities is proposed with consideration of economic and environmental factors. Jihui Yuan, Kazuo Emura, and Craig Farnham Copyright © 2016 Jihui Yuan et al. All rights reserved. Visual Complexity Analysis Using Taxonomic Diagrams of Figures and Backgrounds in Japanese Residential Streetscapes Sun, 27 Sep 2015 07:20:30 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2015/173862/ This study was conducted with the objective of finding the perceivable effect of figures and backgrounds on residential streetscapes and their connections in visual complexity. The visual complexity depends on the extent of information a viewer can observe from a visible area. The information includes a number of visual elements along the streetscapes and their diversity and interconnections. The aim of this research was to analyze the structural hierarchical visual complexity of the streetscapes, caused by varied spatial arrangement and numerous spatial connections of the perceivable visual elements. The visual elements of 60 residential streetscapes were classified into figures and backgrounds using human perception of 20 subjects. The identified figures and backgrounds were arranged in a taxonomic diagram representing their connections. These taxonomic diagrams reflect the structural hierarchical visual complexity. Finally, taxonomic entropy was applied to statistically analyze the structural hierarchical visual complexity. When the taxonomic diagram is vertically and horizontally lengthy and the arrangement of the elements of taxonomic diagram is irregular, the complexity increases depicting a large number of figures whose spatial connections impart a high visual complexity to the streetscapes. G. M. W. L. Gunawardena, Yoichi Kubota, and Kiyotaka Fukahori Copyright © 2015 G. M. W. L. Gunawardena et al. All rights reserved. Neighborhood Racial Composition, Institutional Socialization, and Intraracial Feelings of Closeness among Black Americans Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:07:09 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2015/712046/ Relying on nationally representative data from the most recent wave of the National Survey of Black Americans (NSBA), the current study examines how past and present neighborhood racial composition is associated with feelings of closeness toward black Americans, black Africans, and black West Indians. In addition, this research tests whether race-based socialization messages received from caregivers or religious socialization messages explain this relationship among a sample from the adult black US population. The findings show that past neighborhood composition is associated with present feelings of closeness toward black Americans and black West Indians but are not associated with close feelings toward black Africans. Current neighborhood racial composition is not associated with feelings of closeness toward any of the groups. Racial socialization messages are associated with closeness towards them all but are found to be largely a function of having a two-parent family during childhood. Religious socialization is also associated with intraracial feelings of closeness. Results suggest that neighborhood racial composition is important to help facilitate positive feelings toward others who share the same race but a different ethnicity. Antwan Jones, Marcus Andrews, and Sara Policastro Copyright © 2015 Antwan Jones et al. All rights reserved. Cities, the Urban Green Environment, and Individual Subjective Well-Being: The Case of Milan, Italy Sun, 09 Aug 2015 09:30:05 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2015/137027/ This paper evaluates the independent effect of the spatial proximity of green urban areas upon the individual subjective well-being of the Milan population (Italy). The methodology is based on a survey undertaken in 2010 using a sample of 1,000 of Milan citizens. Univariate and multivariate analyses and GIS localization have been employed in order to rank the major individual well-being determinants and the relationship between citizens and urban green areas. Results show that the residential proximity of citizens to urban green areas seems to have little bearing on individual subjective well-being. Giorgio Tavano Blessi, Enzo Grossi, Giovanni Pieretti, Guido Ferilli, and Alessandra Landi Copyright © 2015 Giorgio Tavano Blessi et al. All rights reserved. Associational Involvement in Dutch Municipalities and Neighbourhoods: Does Ethnic Diversity Influence Bonding and Bridging Involvement? Mon, 29 Jun 2015 08:23:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2015/381730/ We test whether ethnic diversity in Dutch neighbourhoods and municipalities drives down associational involvement and build on earlier research in two important ways. First, we explicitly take into account the ethnic composition of local voluntary associations, distinguishing involvement in bonding (only in-group members) and bridging (with out-group members) associations. Second, we aim to explain relationships between ethnic diversity and associational involvement, testing two competing sets of predictions derived from conflict and contact theories. Using data from the Netherlands Longitudinal Lifecourse Study (2013), ethnic diversity turns out to hardly affect associational involvement negatively. Only for leisure associations, living in ethnically more diverse municipalities substantially decreases the likelihood to be involved in bonding associations, whereas higher levels of neighbourhood ethnic diversity increase the likelihood to be involved in bridging associations. Moreover, ethnic diversity indirectly affects associational involvement via interethnic contact. Higher levels of ethnic diversity increase interethnic contact which, in turn, is negatively related to involvement in bonding associations. Whereas higher levels of ethnic diversity in neighbourhoods increase perceptions of ethnic threat, these perceptions decrease with higher levels of ethnic diversity in the municipality. Perceptions of ethnic threat do not, however, affect associational involvement. Our results shed more light on the direct and indirect relationships between ethnic diversity and bonding and bridging associational involvement. Michael Savelkoul, Maurice Gesthuizen, and Peer Scheepers Copyright © 2015 Michael Savelkoul et al. All rights reserved. Walking beyond the Socioeconomic Status in an Objectively and Perceptually Walkable Pedestrian Environment Tue, 24 Feb 2015 09:57:48 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2015/919874/ An extensive body of literature suggests that physical environment, physical activity, and socioeconomic status (SES) are intrinsically linked to each other and to weight related health problems. In this study, the role of objective and perceived pedestrian environment characteristics (microscale measures) was explored in relation to people’s recreational walking patterns in two neighborhoods with opposite SES. A total of 441 street segments were assessed and a total of 133 questionnaires were conducted. The findings suggest that recreational walking can take place beyond a neighborhood’s suggested SES when objective and especially perceived microscale characteristics (pedestrian environment) are favorable. Zeynep Toker Copyright © 2015 Zeynep Toker. All rights reserved. Testing Estimates of Housing Cost Differences among US Metropolitan Areas Tue, 10 Feb 2015 08:50:40 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2015/121978/ This paper investigates the accuracy of six measures of housing cost differences among US metropolitan areas. Using Census data from 177 metropolitan areas, it tests the measures in two ways. First, it tests the ability of changes in the measures to predict changes in the shelter component of the metropolitan CPI from 1990 to 2000. Second, it tests the ability of the measures themselves to predict a proxy in 2000. A measure based on Fair Market Rents calculated by HUD placed second on the first test but did badly on the second. The housing component of the ACCRA index, a living cost measure frequently used by researchers, performed poorly on both tests. The top performer on both tests was a measure based on the average rent per room for a metropolitan area’s dwellings. Researchers wishing to control for living cost differences among places should consider including it in their living cost index. Todd Easton Copyright © 2015 Todd Easton. All rights reserved. Production of Quality Housing in Urban Transformation in Areas under Disaster Risk: Osmangazi and Yıldırım, Bursa, Turkey Wed, 31 Dec 2014 00:10:10 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/616198/ Bursa is one of the cities with high disaster risk and a quality housing problem in Turkey. Urban transformation activities are carried out in order to improve quality of life and create safe living spaces for sustainable urban development. Quality housing production does not signify merely a need to be satisfied quantitatively. Housing and its environment, where physical and social needs of the users are satisfied, should be designed considering local conditions and in a way that they will be suitable for users’ life styles and cultural habits. In this study, the selected study area comprises neighborhoods which are under disaster risk, have been determined as urban transformation areas, and have residents with similar socioeconomic characteristics. With the purpose of improving user satisfaction, this study investigates users’ experience with physical, social, and cultural features of housing and its environment, which identify the quality of housing, and their preferences of new housing units to be produced. Nonprobability sampling method was selected for the field study, and a survey study was conducted. SPSS 17.0 (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) was employed for data entry. In order to generate data for quality housing production, relationships between variables were analyzed with Pearson chi-square test. Murat Taş, Nilüfer Taş, and Zehra Berna Aydın Copyright © 2014 Murat Taş et al. All rights reserved. Urban Sprawl in the Mediterranean Urban Regions in Europe and the Crisis Effect on the Urban Land Development: Madrid as Study Case Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:51:08 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/807381/ The middle of 2007 saw the beginning of a worldwide financial crisis that led to a sharp reduction in investment based on construction and urban development. This new situation is generating a new process, characterised by a slowdown that has almost reached a standstill when compared with the frenzied development of previous decades. In order to analyse these processes, this study examines urban land use changes and the urban growth rate and spatial dynamics of the metropolitan region of Madrid. The analysis has been carried out on a large scale between two periods (2000–2006 and 2006–2009) using a regional land use geodatabase. The results show the changes in the urban land use dynamics that took place over these two periods that could characterise the cities of Mediterranean Europe, where contrarily to the general pattern in Europe built-up areas are combining scattered built-up areas with new aggregated compact developments. Jaime Díaz-Pacheco and Juan Carlos García-Palomares Copyright © 2014 Jaime Díaz-Pacheco and Juan Carlos García-Palomares. All rights reserved. Youth Exposure to Violence in an Urban Setting Mon, 10 Nov 2014 06:53:52 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/368047/ To inform a city-wide youth Violence Prevention Initiative, we explored youth narratives about their exposure to violence to gain insight into their understanding of the causes and effects of violence in their communities. At-risk youth were recruited through street outreach for individual interviews and focus group sessions. Types of experiential violence identified included (1) street, (2) family/interpersonal, (3) school, (4) indirect exposure (e.g., neighborhood crime), and (5) prejudice/discrimination. Reactions ranged from motivating positive effects (resilience, determination to escape) to negative effects (fear, paranoia, and aggression). For some, experiences with violence motivated them to pursue educational achievement and positive lifestyles. Causes of violence were described by participants as existing at a number of different levels (societal, neighborhood, interpersonal, and individual), reflecting a social-ecological perspective. Our findings highlight a need for violence prevention efforts that focus on a broad definition of violence, as well as on the poly-victimization of children and youth. At the same time, our findings highlight the challenges of conducting effective community-based prevention programs in urban settings characterized by spatial inequalities and social exclusion of community residents. David Seal, Annie Nguyen, and Kirsten Beyer Copyright © 2014 David Seal et al. All rights reserved. Economic Transition in the City of Paterson, New Jersey (America’s First Planned Industrial City): Causes, Impacts, and Urban Policy Implications Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:03:45 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/672794/ This paper examines the dynamics of economic change in the City of Paterson, New Jersey, from the time of its founding in the late eighteenth century to 1990, with emphasis on the post-1945 era. Analysis shows that from the time of its founding to the first half of the twentieth century, Paterson experienced a period of economic growth followed by economic decline in the 1960s, characterized by major changes in its principal industries of cotton, locomotives, and silk. Economic growth in Paterson up to the early part of the twentieth century is attributable to several locational factors, including the availability of water resources, transportation, labor supply, and markets. Its decline in the post-1945 era is attributable to a combination of local, national, and global economic factors including periods of depression, labor discord, product substitution, decentralization of economic activities, and deindustrialization. Economic decline resulted in a high rate of unemployment, poverty, and urban decay. The most significant effort to reverse urban decline in the city is the urban enterprise zone (UEZ) program. The impacts of this program on economic growth in the city, however, remain inconclusive. Thomas Y. Owusu Copyright © 2014 Thomas Y. Owusu. All rights reserved. Planning Office and Community Influence on Land-Use Decisions Intended to Benefit the Low-Income: Welcome to Chicago Thu, 10 Jul 2014 08:39:44 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/146390/ This study explores urban planning office and community influence on land-use decision making in two poverty-stricken but redeveloping neighborhood areas in Chicago. The Department of Planning and Development in this study had marginal impact on land-use decisions due to administrative limitations. Community influence is moderated by the degree to which low-income housing advocates can act directly as developers and produce housing units. The research findings indicate that land-use decisions intended to benefit the low-income resulted not from community-based political conflict but more so from community organization cooperation with political actors. Yan Dominic Searcy Copyright © 2014 Yan Dominic Searcy. All rights reserved. From the City to the Suburbs: Characteristics of Suburban Neighborhoods Where Chicago Housing Choice Voucher Households Relocated Mon, 16 Jun 2014 09:20:33 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/787261/ The Housing Choice Voucher program (HCV) is a federally supported demand-side housing subsidy. According to HCV, eligible households are encouraged to secure affordable housing in favorable neighborhoods, including suburban neighborhoods. To what extent, however, is the supply of affordable rental housing located in suburban communities that offer favorable amenities meeting the increased demand? Using the Geography of Opportunity as a framework, this study examines the mobility results of traditional HCV households who moved from the city of Chicago to surrounding suburban neighborhoods to reveal characteristics of destination communities. Findings indicate that HCV households tend to move into suburban renter neighborhoods that have high poor, African American, and female-headed household populations. Policy makers are encouraged to consider findings to improve life outcomes of suburban HCV program participants. Adrienne M. Holloway Copyright © 2014 Adrienne M. Holloway. All rights reserved. Human Capital, Skills, and Uneven Intraurban Employment Growth: The Case of Göteborg, Sweden, 1990–2008 Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:55:09 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/260813/ Recent research has elucidated the role of talents to explain urban growth differences but it remains to be shown whether urban dynamics, such as human capital and a mixed local population, can be linked to intraurban employment growth. By use of a unique longitudinal database, we track the economic development through the lens of intraurban employment growth of a number of primary urban areas (PUA) in Göteborg, Sweden. Regarding factors influencing employment growth, we find that relative concentrations of human capital protect areas from rising unemployment during severe recession (1990–1993) and recovery (1990–2000) while the composition of skills is beneficial during recovery (1990–2000) and long-term growth (1990–2008). Our findings suggest that neither too high concentrations of creative occupations nor too low ones are beneficial. Thus, human capital drives much of the employment changes in relation to the recession and early transition from manufacturing to service but composition of skills is more relevant for explaining long-term intraurban employment growth. Jonathan Borggren and Rikard H. Eriksson Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Borggren and Rikard H. Eriksson. All rights reserved. Neighborhood Social Capital, Neighborhood Disadvantage, and Change of Neighborhood as Predictors of School Readiness Wed, 26 Feb 2014 12:12:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/204583/ Neighborhood income and social capital are considered important for child development, but social capital has rarely been measured directly at an aggregate level. We used Canadian data to derive measures of social capital from aggregated parental judgments of neighborhood collective efficacy and neighborhood safety. Measures of neighborhood income came from Census data. Direct measures of preschoolers’ school readiness were predicted from neighborhood-level variables, with regional indicators and household/parental characteristics taken into account. Our findings show that (1) residing in Quebec, being Black, and having a parent who was born outside Canada are positively associated with children’s living in disadvantaged or low collective efficacy neighborhoods as well as with their living in low-income households. (2) Children’s odds of residential mobility were reduced when the origin neighborhood had higher collective efficacy but increased when the family rented rather than owned. (3) Both neighborhood collective efficacy and children’s ever having lived in a poor neighborhood were correlated with receptive vocabulary scores, but results were mixed for other cognitive dimensions. Children of younger mothers scored worse on receptive vocabulary. There were similar patterns for demographic predictors related to visible minority status, sibship size, and birth order. Neighborhood average income had no effect on cognitive outcomes when the region was controlled. Charles Jones and Jing Shen Copyright © 2014 Charles Jones and Jing Shen. All rights reserved. Gentrification in Latin America: Overview and Critical Analysis Mon, 17 Feb 2014 15:20:36 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/986961/ This paper offers a critical review and interpretation of gentrification in Latin American cities. Applying a flexible methodology, it examines enabling conditions associated with societal regime change and local contingencies to determine its presence, nature, extent, and possibilities. Questioning the uncritical transfer of constructs such as gentrification from the Global North to the Global South, the paper advocates analyses of mediating structures and local conditions to determine their applicability and possible variations. Overall, the review questions the feasibility of self-sustained, large scale gentrification in central areas of the region’s cities today tying it to each city’s level of incorporation into global circuits and the role of local governments. Rather than an orthodox hypothesis testing, this is an exercise in interpretation that calls for nuanced approaches to the study of urban restructuring in cities of the global South. John J. Betancur Copyright © 2014 John J. Betancur. All rights reserved. A More Accurate Measure of Local Public Goods: Overlapping Government Combinations as Units of Analysis Mon, 10 Feb 2014 06:39:40 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2014/963503/ This study posits and tests the viability of a new unit of analysis for local public goods in metropolitan areas: overlapping government combinations (OGCs). Counties, municipalities, school districts, and other special districts operate simultaneously within the same space, each providing their own set of local public goods. Residents of the same city can live within the boundaries of different counties, school districts and other special districts and thus receive (and pay for) very different quantities and qualities of public goods. Though there is a great deal of literature devoted to the variation of local public goods in a fragmented metropolitan region, there is none that cumulates the different local government types into units that represent the true bundles of local public goods that are provided to citizens and property owners. This study tackles this problem through the application of geographic information systems (GIS) to stack counties, municipalities, and school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington CMSA into unique OGCs. The unique OGCs are compared to their underlying component governments with respect to property tax rates and school performance and are found to be statistically distinct. Samuel B. Stone Copyright © 2014 Samuel B. Stone. All rights reserved. Dual Credit Enrollment: A Multiyear Study of Gender and Ethnic Differences Thu, 28 Nov 2013 08:21:33 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/269685/ In this investigation, we ascertained the extent to which differences were present in dual credit enrollment by gender and by ethnicity for students () enrolled in a Texas community college from the 2005-2006 through the 2011-2012 academic years. Statistical analyses revealed an increase in the numbers (i.e., from 3,069 to 3,664) and percentages (i.e., from 12.2% to 19.5%) of students who were enrolled in dual credit courses over the time period analyzed. Moreover, higher percentages of women (i.e., 20.8% in the most recent academic year) had enrolled in dual credit courses while in high school than men (i.e., 17.9% in the most recent academic year). Differences were also present as a function of ethnicity, with 33.1% Asian, 25.3% White, 17.4% Hispanic, and 7.5% Black students having been enrolled in dual credit in the most recent academic year. Differences were also revealed by gender for Hispanic and White students, but not for Asian and Black students. Implications of our findings are discussed. Robert D. Young Jr., John R. Slate, George W. Moore, and Wally Barnes Copyright © 2013 Robert D. Young et al. All rights reserved. Sustainable Approach to Regenerating Residential Form and Density: Case in Dhaka Tue, 05 Nov 2013 11:16:23 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/783792/ This paper presents principles and praxis of sustainable approach to maintaining targeted “residential regeneration by density” yet achieving innovations in urban form in a contextual scenario of Dhaka City, the capital of Bangladesh. It is evident from the context that Dhaka is experiencing a dramatic transformation in residential density due to demographic changes during the past two decades due the concentration of social, administrative, institutional, recreational, small-scale industries, and associated housing facilities. The transformation is visible in residential built footprint, significantly due to the demand-driven and density-led market, originated from low rise and low density and transforming to high density high rise. This transformation has been consistently threatening social and environmental realm indicated by depletion of garden houses; reduction of public parks; shrinking walkways; deletion of setback for ventilation and sun shade from trees; slowing down mobility; and obstruction of physical and visual permeability. The paper discussed a pragmatic approach that professionals have adopted to control the density and to introduce scopes for innovative urban forms by way of applying floor area ratio (FAR) methods and further discusses the merits of the methodological process of exercising morphology with a set of new building rules without undermining the market demand. Quazi M. Mahtab-Uz Zaman and Richard Laing Copyright © 2013 Quazi M. Mahtab-Uz Zaman and Richard Laing. All rights reserved. Developing Student Housing Quality Scale in Higher Institutions of Learning: A Factor Analysis Approach Thu, 31 Oct 2013 15:20:04 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/383109/ The researchers developed an instrument for measuring student housing quality (SHQ) in Higher Institutions of Learning (HIL) in Ghana. The paper sought to validate the student housing quality scale (SHOQUAL) through factor analysis approach. 700 respondents were sampled from two public HIL in Ghana in a cross-sectional survey that used a self-administered structured questionnaire for data collection. Confirmatory factor fnalysis (CFA) was conducted to detect the underlying latent variables that significantly determine SHQ in Ghanaian HIL. The findings indicate that four emerged SHQ dimensions relevant to the research context were labelled as follows: core facility quality, enabling facility quality, support facility quality, and cost of housing. The constructs in the derived model possess high reliability and validity. Student housing service providers could conveniently use the derived instrument items for measuring SHQ in HIL. Implications are discussed and limitations are noted. The paper contributes to the literature in the areas of models of service quality in student housing management in HIL. F. K. Bondinuba, S. G. Nimako, and N. K. Karley Copyright © 2013 F. K. Bondinuba et al. All rights reserved. The Geography of Clusters: The Case of the Video Games Clusters in Montreal and in Los Angeles Tue, 13 Aug 2013 10:20:34 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/957630/ The aim of our research was to examine how clusters appear and develop in the video game sector. We thus did a comparative study of the video games cluster in Montreal and Los Angeles. This paper shows that concentration of human creativity in arts and in technology is a significant economic localization factor, but cross-fertilization of sectors and public policy also contributes to the understanding of the emergence of clusters in certain urban regions. Thus, political and industrial factors offer an explanation as to why clusters emerge and how they evolve, going beyond the purely geographic or economic factors. In LA as in Montreal, the cross-fertilization with film is important. However, in Montreal, it is the public policy contributing to financing jobs in the Multimedia City and the French language that brought Ubisoft to the city; this contributed to make the city well known in the field, creating a “brand” for the city and thus fuelling the cluster development. Sylvianne Pilon and Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay Copyright © 2013 Sylvianne Pilon and Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay. All rights reserved. The World Bank and the Building of Local Institutionality in Senegal: A Path toward Municipal Adjustment Mon, 22 Jul 2013 13:20:39 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/301068/ This paper examines the impacts of municipal adjustment strategies on territorial governance in Africa, with specific reference to Senegal, as the result of the action of the World Bank. The paper identifies the process through which the World Bank is reconfiguring the system of actors and changing the local institutional environment to embody its philosophy of governance modernization. The paper shows how the local actor is brought to contribute to the new focus on governance and the reshaping of local institutions, which together comprise a type of urban development that aligns with the tenets of globalization. Mebometa Ndongo and Juan-Luis Klein Copyright © 2013 Mebometa Ndongo and Juan-Luis Klein. All rights reserved. Urban Areas in the Transformation of the South: A Review of Modern History Mon, 27 May 2013 08:01:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/376529/ Since the 1940s, the southern US has been transformed from a region of backward agriculture, low-wage industries located in small towns and rural areas, and unrelenting racial segregation into a modern society and economy. In 1950, there were no metropolitan areas in the South with a population of one million or more, but 18 had populations in excess of one million in 2000. The populations of the Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Miami metropolitan areas grew to over 4 millions. Population growth in the 18 largest metropolitan areas accounts for 63% of the total population growth in the South from 1950 to 2000. The transformation of the South is, to a sizable extent, a transformation to an urbanized society. This paper documents this urbanization by examining population and employment growth in those 18 metropolitan areas. John F. McDonald Copyright © 2013 John F. McDonald. All rights reserved. Urban Households' Willingness to Pay for Improved Solid Waste Disposal Services in Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana Sun, 28 Apr 2013 11:54:50 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/659425/ Solid waste management within Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly area continues to be a major challenge for the municipal assembly and one of the key issues is its financial constraints. This study was undertaken to examine households' willingness to pay for improved solid waste management services. A multistage sampling technique was employed to select six hundred respondents for the study. Logistic regression model was used to establish the determinants of willingness to pay for solid waste management whilst the Tobit model was used to evaluate the factors influencing the amount of money the households are willing to pay for improved solid waste management. The logistic model shows that income, age, number of children, quantity of waste generated, and education have significant effects on the willingness to pay, while the amount of money the households are willing to pay was influenced by their income, quantity of waste generated, education, house ownership, and number of children. Thus, the assembly can increase waste collection fees between GHC 3 and GHC 5.00. This would lead to improvement in the waste management within the metropolis. However, the additional charge should take into consideration location and income levels. Dadson Awunyo-Vitor, Shaibu Ishak, and Godfred Seidu Jasaw Copyright © 2013 Dadson Awunyo-Vitor et al. All rights reserved. Morphology and Spatial Dynamics of Urban Villages in Guangzhou’s CBD Tue, 19 Mar 2013 09:27:54 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/958738/ Studies on the urban village (chengzhongcun) over the past ten years have focussed on legalistic and structural aspects, as well as the social outcomes of village-led redevelopment. Studies on the morphology of villages, their spatial and economic linkage with the city, and their internal spatial dynamics are, in comparison, limited in number and scope. This study of village space in the new central area of Guangzhou focusses on the spatial relationships between village space and the surrounding city—the exchange of people and goods, the movement system in relation to commercial activity, and the relationship between the pattern of building and movement networks—as a primer for new approaches to physical renewal. Primary field data, interviews, and archival research support the analysis of Shipai village, in particular. It was found that Shipai plays a significant role in transport and economy at the district and central city level. The internal movement system functions to connect surrounding areas while supporting a commercial and services system of local and district-level significance. The built form of the village is also self-generated by location and internal rule making. The physical and activity patterns of the self-rebuilt village exhibit the characteristics of emergent spontaneous order. John Zacharias, Yue Hu, and Quan Le Huang Copyright © 2013 John Zacharias et al. All rights reserved. Grade Point Average Differences between Dual and Nondual Credit College Students Mon, 11 Feb 2013 14:35:21 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/638417/ We examined the first and final term grade point averages (GPA) for a class of students at a Texas community college to determine how dual enrollment credit influenced GPA. Five statistically significant differences, albeit small effect sizes, were present by gender and by ethnic membership. Dual credit students had higher GPAs than did nondual credit students. Interestingly, dual enrollment did not have a statistically significant influence on GPAs for Asian students or for students after two years at this community college. As such, this study is the first research investigation of which we are aware in which student GPA in the first college semester and at the end of the second year was compared between dual credit and nondual credit students. Implications of our findings and suggestions for future research are provided. Robert D. Young Jr., Sheila A. Joyner, and John R. Slate Copyright © 2013 Robert D. Young Jr. et al. All rights reserved. Approaching Neighborhood Democracy from a Longitudinal Perspective: An Eighteen-Year Case Study of a Homeowner Association in Beijing Wed, 09 Jan 2013 11:36:53 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/usr/2013/639312/ Neighborhood democracy was introduced into urban China in the early 1990s as a way to manage the social conflicts associated with the housing reform. Based on a case study of Dragon Villas, Beijing, this paper explores the causes, processes, and consequences of neighborhood democracy at the microlevel from a longitudinal perspective. Three insights are particularly noteworthy. First, the decrease in rental revenue and occupancy rate and the arrival of Chinese owner-occupiers contributed to the emergence of neighborhood democracy in Dragon Villas. Second, the establishment of a homeowner association, far from ending in the conclusion of neighborhood democratization, was only a first step. Furthermore, conflicts between the developer and the homeowners, and among homeowners, played a crucial role in lengthening the process of neighborhood democratization. Third, democratic self-governance resulted in improved governance, a more diverse built form that articulates individuation through consumption, and changes that reflect the importance of privacy and exclusivity. Kevin Lo Copyright © 2013 Kevin Lo. All rights reserved.