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Travis Smiley’s Thesis Proposal

Mar. 11 @ 12:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.


Please join us for Travis Smiley’s Thesis Proposal on Monday, March 11, 2024 from 12:15 pm – 2 pm in Student Commons 4119!

Abstract: Rapid urban growth in recent decades has led experts to think more intentionally about how cities are built. The distribution of amenities, for example, supermarkets, and burdens, such as air pollution, within our cities significantly impacts the quality of life of citizens residing there. As we adapt our cities to address climate and other concerns, we have the opportunity to make changes that will help correct, rather than exacerbate, the unequal distribution of amenities and burdens among citizens in our communities.

The measurement of inequality is essential to accomplishing this. Currently, the Kolm-Pollak Equally Distributed Equivalent (EDE) is the preferred measure of inequality in urban systems due to its properties concerning separability, symmetry, population independence, scale dependence, and progressive redistributions. However, the Kolm-Pollak EDE is not suitable in all urban contexts because of its inability to account for multiple amenities or burdens at once. To combat this weakness, we propose an adaptation to the Kolm-Pollak EDE that takes into account the additional load resulting from interacting burdens through the use of a summary function. Additionally, we propose a framework for optimizing the adapted Kolm-Pollak to allow decision-makers to make data-driven decisions regarding policies affecting the distribution of amenities and/or burdens.

A key question when addressing the accessibility of resources is where to place new affordable housing units in a city. While many city planners are currently working to increase affordable housing, there is a lack of tools at the disposal of decision-makers to make data-informed decisions. To meet this need, we propose two optimization models to help identify good locations for affordable housing and to identify the optimal dispersion of available funds to best tackle this housing affordability crisis.