Spatial Inequality

Barriers to Integration: Physical Boundaries and the Spatial Structure of Residential Segregation

Working Paper      [ DOWNLOAD ]
with Jackelyn Hwang
We find that physical barriers, such as highways, railroad tracks, and dead-end streets, divide urban space in ways that reinforce or exacerbate segregation, but there is substantial variation in the extent to which they increase segregation both within and across these cities and for different ethnoracial groups. By uncovering a new source of variation in the segregation experienced by city residents, the findings have implications for understanding the mechanisms that contribute to the persistence of segregation and the consequences of segregation.

The Spatial Proximity and Connectivity (SPC) Method for Measuring and Analyzing Residential Segregation

Working Paper      [ DOWNLOAD ]
The SPC method contributes to scholarship on residential segregation by capturing the effect of an important yet understudied mechanism of segregation—the connectivity, or physical barriers, between locations—on the level and spatial pattern of segregation, and enables further consideration of the role of the built environment in segregation processes.

The Divergence Index: A Decomposable Measure of Segregation and Inequality

Working Paper      [ DOWNLOAD ]
In this paper, I introduce the Divergence Index, a decomposable measure of segregation and inequality. Although the Information Theory Index has been used to decompose segregation within and between communities, I argue that it measures relative diversity not segregation. I demonstrate the importance of this conceptual distinction with two empirical analyses and show that it is problematic to interpret the Information Theory Index as a measure of segregation, especially when analyzing local-level results or any decomposition of overall results.

The Boundaries of Spatial Inequality: Three Essays on the Measurement and Analysis of Residential Segregation

Ph.D. Thesis, Yale University (May 2015)
My dissertation introduces new methodological approaches for studying the spatial context of residential segregation.  It bridges qualitative insight on the local experience of unequal social environments and how we measure segregation for city populations. An emphasis on spatial boundaries and local context reframes our understanding of segregated environments, and offers deeper insight into even the most studied U.S. cities.

Social Networks

Closer to Guns: the Role of Street Gangs in Facilitating Access to Illegal Firearms

Journal of Urban Health (2018) 95:372–382      [ DOWNLOAD ]
with Anthony A. Braga and Andrew V. Papachristos
This study conducts a network analysis of a co-offending network for the City of Chicago to determine how close any offender may be to a firearm. Findings reveal that gang membership reduces the potential network distance (how close someone is) to known firearms by 20% or more, and regression results indicate that the closer gang members are to guns, the greater their risk of gunshot victimization.

Tragic, but Not Random: The Social Contagion of Nonfatal Gunshot Injuries

Social Science & Medicine, 125 (January 2015): 139–150      [ DOWNLOAD ]
with Andrew V. Papachristos and Christopher Wildeman
This study investigates the concentration of nonfatal gunshot injuries within risky social networks.  Findings imply that the risk of gunshot victimization is more concentrated than previously thought, being concentrated in small and identifiable networks of individuals engaging in risky behavior, in this case criminal activity.

Urban Policy

Residential Segregation in the Twenty-First Century and the Role of Housing Policy

Forthcoming in Blurred Boundaries, Real Consequences: The Intersection of Public Policy and Race, edited by Josh Grimm and Jaime Loke. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press.
with Jackelyn Hwang and Jacob Rugh
This study examines contemporary trends in segregation using new measures and methods to show that segregation has changed form but still persists in the twenty-first century. We find that poor minorities and affluent whites are highly isolated and became increasingly segregated from nonpoor and nonaffluent residents, respectively, from 2000 to 2010 in both central cities and the suburbs, and we discuss the implications of these findings for housing policy.

Commuting to Opportunity: The Working Poor and Commuting in the United States

The Brookings Institution, 2008       [ DOWNLOAD ]
This study examines workers’ commuting costs and travel modes, the trade-offs between transportation and housing costs, and how such characteristics vary across metropolitan areas. I find that the working poor spend a much higher portion of their income on commuting than other workers, despite using less expensive commuting modes at a greater frequency. Access to affordable commuting options provides a key link to economic mobility for the working poor.