Planner and geographer Jamaal Green joined Weitzman as a postdoctoral fellow in 2020 and he will join the standing faculty as an assistant professor beginning on July 1, 2022. For the Department of City and Regional Planning, he has taught Land Use & Environmental Modeling and Modeling Geographical Objects, an introductory course on geographic information systems (GIS).

Jamaal Green wearing a backpack in front of the entrance to Fisher Fine Arts Library.
Jamaal Green, assistant professor of city and regional planning at the Weitzman School.

“My approach to Modeling Geographic Objects is different than how folks traditionally have approached introductory GIS courses. I approach it as a researcher,” says Green. “On the first day, I give the students a hypothetical situation. For example, imagine you are sitting in your planning office, you get an email from your manager, and the manager wants to know how many people fit within a particular space. What I tell my students is that you’re going to get questions like this, where the deliverable may not necessarily be a map, but you’re going to have to use GIS or spatial analysis to be able to answer the question. I ask them to focus a lot on what I call the workflow of that analysis. You get a question, and how do you collect that data, clean that data? If you need to do some kind of spatial analysis on it, how do you make it spatial?”

Green has done research on industrial land management in cities which suggests that it’s often guided by misinformation. “I became interested in industrial land management through the work of Nancey Green Leigh, who has written about the ways smart growth and the rise of new kinds of infill development leaves no space for industrial land,” he says. “Industrial land is framed generally as a net negative. That land is often framed as dirty and contaminated. On the economic or political end, it’s deemed obsolete. There’s this belief that we don’t make anything in the US anymore, and that’s not true. People say we don’t make anything in cities, and that’s also not true. Industrialized land, or land that allows for flex or light-industrial space, also provides a lot of space for the growth of jobs and firms.

“I’m working with Vincent Reina [associate professor of city and regional planning, and faculty director of the Housing Initiative at Penn], looking at housing quality issues for low-income homeowners. We are comparing data from the national American housing survey and the City of Philadelphia’s Basic Systems Repair Program,” says Green.

“Housing quality is really a black box in a lot of cities, especially for owner-occupied properties. We generally assume that if you own your home, you’re good. But for low-income homeowners, especially in the face of years of economic stress in a relatively poor and older city like Philadelphia, deferred maintenance can stack up for years. Your house can literally become a death trap. You don’t have the money to repair it, and the value of your home is probably not great enough that you can get financing. This starts a cycle of degradation.”

“A lot of people in Philadelphia are aware that this cycle exists, but the extent of it and the burden of substandard housing are not well known. The efforts of the City through the Basic Systems Repair Program to help people improve the state of their housing also helps to stabilize neighborhoods.”

Read more at Weitzman News.

Source Google News – Read the original article

Jamaal Green on geographic information systems, urban planning, and housing quality | Penn Today – Penn Today

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