Reflecting on Cityscape’s Most Cited Articles
Mark Shroder, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Monitoring.
Cityscape, launched in 1994, is the scholarly journal of HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R). The journal, which publishes three issues annually, is aimed at policymakers, academics, and practitioners and features articles that contribute to the body of knowledge on housing and community development. I have been the managing editor of Cityscape since 2007.
The journal consists of three major sections: the Symposia, the Refereed Papers, and the Departments.
The papers in each issue’s Symposium section share a common theme and are selected by guest editors, sometimes with double-blind refereeing. In 2022, this section focused on three themes: Opportunity Zones, the measurement of blight, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. housing markets. The four themes planned for 2023 will explore housing technology projects, the reentry of ex-offenders into housing, recent zoning reforms, and a reconsideration of the past 100 years of the federally sponsored model planning and zoning codes.
The standard metric for determining the research value of a particular work of scholarship is the number of times it is cited in other research articles. All 20 of the most frequently cited Cityscape articles, as reported by Google Scholar, appeared in Cityscape’s Symposium section.
|Quigley and Rosenthal
|The Effects of Land Use Regulation on the Price of Housing: What Do We Know? What Can We Learn?
|Cities, Information, and Economic Growth
|Brophy and Smith
|Mixed-Income Housing: Factors for Success
|Schwartz and Tajbakhsh
|Mixed-Income Housing: Unanswered Questions
|Coulton, Theodos, and Turner
|Residential Mobility and Neighborhood Change: Real Neighborhoods Under the Microscope
|Nelson, Ehrenfeucht, and Laska
|Planning, Plans, and People: Professional Expertise, Local Knowledge, and Governmental Action in Post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans
|Community Empowerment Strategies: The Limits and Potential of Community Organizing in Urban Neighborhoods
|Technology and Cities
|Spatially Targeted Economic Development Strategies: Do They Work?
|Rondinelli, Johnson, and Kasarda
|The Changing Forces of Urban Economic Development: Globalization and City Competitiveness in the 21st Century
|The Importance of the Central City to the Regional and National Economy: A Review of the Arguments and Empirical Evidence
|Developing a Framework for Understanding University-Community Partnerships
|Teitz and Chapple
|The Causes of Inner-City Poverty: Eight Hypotheses in Search of Reality
|Hwang and Lin
|What Have We Learned About the Causes of Recent Gentrification?
|Better Neighborhoods, Better Outcomes? Explaining Relocation Outcomes in HOPE VI
|Technological Change and Cities
|Moving Toward a Shrinking Cities Metric: Analyzing Land Use Changes Associated With Depopulation in Flint, Michigan
|Evaluating University-Community Partnerships: An Examination of the Evolution of Questions and Approaches
|Herbert and Belsky
|The Homeownership Experience of Low-Income and Minority Households: A Review and Synthesis of the Literature
|Disaster Recovery and Community Renewal: Housing Approaches
The most frequently cited Cityscape paper is a 2005 article by John Quigley and Larry Rosenthal titled “The Effects of Land Use Regulation on the Price of Housing: What Do We Know? What Can We Learn?” Economists have long believed that local governments’ policy choices, including those involving code and zoning regulations, contribute significantly to the high price of housing in high-growth metropolitan areas. This view has become widely shared over the past decade as housing prices in many parts of the country have risen faster than inflation, and some states and localities have begun pursuing reform measures. Previous symposia on this subject can be found in Cityscape issues from 2005, 2009, and 2021. Additional symposia on this topic are planned for July 2023 and November 2023.
Our second most frequently cited article, by Edward Glaeser in 1994, is a literature review featuring a new theory on the role of cities in economic development. Companies (and employees) located in the center of densely populated urban areas must pay higher rents and experience congestion costs, so why do firms choose these locations? Further, if there are clear advantages to producing goods and services in the central city, what are the factors limiting that growth? Several of the most frequently cited papers in Cityscape explore this issue and the role of cities in exploiting and adapting to technological change, including the 8th (Mitchell Moss, 1998), the 11th (Keith Ihlanfeldt, 1995), and the 18th (Robert Atkinson, 1998).
Our third and fourth most frequently cited papers originated from a 1997 symposium on mixed-income housing. Intentional efforts to reduce class segregation may be fragile in the face of larger socioeconomic forces. Paul Brophy and Rhonda Smith emphasize that those who promote mixed-income housing have a dual mandate: to build attractive market-rate units and to create opportunities for the occupants of the subsidized units, whereas Alex Schwartz and Kian Tajbakhsh outline key research questions about the feasibility of income mixing in any given community.
The fifth most frequently cited paper (Claudia Coulton, Bret Theodos, and Margery Turner, 2012) describes the causes and consequences of neighborhood change as families move into and out of poor neighborhoods. They find that changes in the characteristics of those who enter and those who leave have far more impact than the career trajectories of those who stay, in part because poor neighborhoods have fairly mobile populations. Those who want to serve the people of those neighborhoods must consider the large number of families who are transitioning into and out of them. The 14th (Hwang and Lin, 2016) and 17th (Justin Hollander, 2010) most frequently cited papers share this focus.
In addition to the symposia, we sometimes present a Point of Contention on a topic on which experts have not come to a consensus, such as the equity and efficiency of local property taxes, the benefits of homeownership for children, or whether higher residential density is the future for most Americans.
The Refereed Papers do not share a common theme, and, as the name suggests, I select them after they have successfully completed a double-blind referee process. Authors and referees hail from locations throughout the United States and beyond, but they always address issues germane to HUD’s mission. In 2022, the refereed papers focused on the use of community land trusts to support the long-term affordability of affordable rental housing and the tendency of projects funded by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program to be in areas of higher industrial air pollution.
The Departments are edited by current or former PD&R staff, and the papers in each department generally reflect specialized research activities. Articles in this section are intended to be accessible and useful for first- or second-year graduate students, although we hope that our other readers will find the material valuable. The departments include the following:
Affordable Design, which presents the results of our annual Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition and the competitions for recent developments that are cosponsored by HUD and the American Planning Association.
Data Shop, which introduces readers to new and overlooked data sources and to improved techniques for using well-known data. In 2022, the work presented in this department tabulated households that could afford to buy homes if they worked remotely, the migration of people experiencing homelessness to counties with services, housing research applications for the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics and the Adolescent to Adult Health data, and the sensitivity of the number of HUD-assisted households to the definition of “rural.”
Evaluation Tradecraft, which reports on innovations in data collection and analysis methods in the service of program evaluation in housing. Recent articles have offered a general measure of housing insecurity, and methods for keeping homeless individuals with disabilities engaged in an ongoing study.
Foreign Exchange, which gives U.S. readers an entrée into urban policy innovations in other developed countries. In recent issues, this department explained how other countries recapture some of the rise in property value that arises with new infrastructure, best practices in Australia for rehousing people who leave institutions, and how an Israeli earthquake preparedness program supported urban renewal.
Graphic Detail, which shows how maps can serve policy and research efforts. In 2022, this department illustrated the destruction and partial revival of Paradise, California, tree equity and the Housing Choice Voucher program, blight analysis in Portland, Oregon, and the exclusion of apartment tenants from neighborhood associations in Bloomington, Indiana.
Impact, which articulates the benefits and costs of new regulations or other policies that HUD is considering, such as 40-year, single-family mortgage terms; private flood insurance for FHA mortgages; or the prohibition of housing assistance to households with one or more ineligible immigrants.
Policy Briefs, which presents multiple sides to issues and controversies in housing, their current status, and the ways in which research can reduce the grounds for contention. Recent examples cover FHA mortgage assumption, state eviction laws, and flood risk in the housing finance ecosystem.
SpAM (Spatial Analysis and Methods), which acquaints readers with advances in geographic tools. Recent papers have shown how to define a downtown business district, how to measure the density of proximity to points of interest, and how to crosswalk ZIP Codes and census tracts.
If you have research to share with policymakers, academics, and practitioners, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.