Local Governance and Social Sustainability
The question that drives much of my work is: how can local governments produce social sustainability? I focus on three elements of this pillar- access, acquisition, and attachment/accountability- and look for ties between these and institutional efforts focused on urban design, the unique needs of different demographic groups, and the value of dissenting voices.
What do American suburban communities look like today? Are they run differently than central cities? How might they be similar or different, and why? These are questions I ask myself often. As the United States is a country of suburbs- many of which changed rapidly over the past several decades- these are important questions. My governance lens tends to be focused on actions of local governments and their interactions with citizens. In my research, I suggest several ideas and implications for reassessing suburban spaces, especially inner-ring communities.
Social Equity, Social Justice, and Sub-National Governance
Generally, my research is motivated by a view that centers social equity/social justice in public administration. My co-authored article on the role of equity in governmental process improvement trainings is forthcoming at Public Integrity. Additionally, several other pieces on social equity and social justice within public processes are under review at various public administration journals.
Interdisciplinary and Engaged Public Scholarship
Public scholarship is not only an important vehicle to publicize the work of an academic institution, it is an opportunity for a scholar to embed themselves within the public sphere, provide expert analysis and commentary and generate community engaged research and service projects. In a forthcoming piece at the Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs, my co-author and I created a framework to use service-learning to cultivate a democratic and social justice-oriented mindset in MPA students.
In addition to my core areas listed above, I am working on several projects related to local public finance practices; charter reviews; methodological choices in public administration research; and state-local relationships in declining regions.
Aside from academic journal publications, however, my public scholarship efforts have resulted in increased attention to social issues as well as monetary support, and additional research opportunities.