21st Century Cities Initiative funds 12 urban research projects

A dozen PhD students will pursue research projects focused on urban issues, including homelessness, education, housing, and urban agriculture

21st century city

Johns Hopkins University's 21st Century Cities Initiative, a hub for urban research, recently provided funding to 12 doctoral researchers pursuing projects in Baltimore and around the globe. Together, this year's awards totaled nearly $46,000.

The annual grants are a cornerstone for 21CC, which is an interdisciplinary platform for research and education on topics that affect cities, including economic opportunity and quality of life. The awards are given to innovative dissertations focused on policy-relevant urban research closely aligning with the initiative's interest areas. The awardees this year focus on a variety of local and global urban issues including immigration, education, healthy food, and disaster relief.

"The 21st Century Cities Initiative Award for Doctoral Research on Urban Issues allows 21CC to promote the excellent urban research that PhD students at Hopkins are working on across the university," said Mac McComas, senior program manager with 21CC. "The award supports our broader mission of both building the next generation of urban scholars and engaging urban scholars across a broad range of policy issues that are crucial to the well-being of residents in urban areas."

Projects awarded include:

Arresting Movement: The Political Economy of Immigration Detention in Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom

Sabrina Axster, Political Science

This project examines the relationship between criminal justice and immigrant incorporation, and argues that institutional contexts shape immigration detention in a comparative case study of Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The research will develop a framework to theorize what shapes the character of immigration detention and generate insights on how citizenship can be used to curtail migrants' human rights.

Police and Family Life in Baltimore City

Rachel Butler, Sociology

Even after adjusting for crime levels, large numbers of calls to police originate in majority-black, low-income neighborhoods. This project will interview 40 residents of low-income Baltimore neighborhoods about their experiences with police, including their views of police and police utilization.

Between Economic and Social Exclusions: Chinese Online Gambling Investments in Metro Manila

Alvin Camba, Sociology

The project argues that Chinese online gambling capital generates specific forms of economic and social exclusions that emerge from the Philippines' preexisting structural inequalities.

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen?: Local Government and International Influence in Disaster Relief in Indonesia

Valerie de Koeijer, Political Science

This project seeks to explain how relationships between host governments and international development/humanitarian organizations, or IDHOs, shape disaster aid outcomes. The author will argue that the relationships between governments and IDHOs shape aid outcomes via the interaction of government restrictions and IDHO-government integration.

Ecological perspective on family separation and reunification experienced by Korean Chinese youth in South Korea

Yoona Kim, International Health

This study aims to understand the family separation and reunification experienced by Korean Chinese youths in Seoul, South Korea, from an ecological perspective. The results of this study will serve as formative material for immigration and education policy and social interventions that facilitate the family reunification process for Korean Chinese in South Korea.

Quantifying Older African Americans' Exposure to Structural Discrimination: A Mixed Methods Instrument Design Study

Sarah LaFave, Nursing

This study will develop and test an Exposure to Structural Discrimination instrument for validity and reliability among older African Americans. This research could inform policies and interventions aimed at mitigating the relationship between structural discrimination and older adult health, ultimately improving equality in opportunity to age with dignity.

Land and Labor: How Does the Pandemic Impact China's Urban Unemployment, Migrant Livelihood, and Rural Land Consolidation?

Tian Tian Liu, Sociology

This project explores two interrelated questions: How will the global pandemic create urban unemployment and impact the livelihoods of migrant workers in various service and manufacturing sectors? How will urban unemployment shape migrant workers' relationship with their farmland back home and affect rural land transfer?

From Redlining to Green Network: Urban Greening and the Racial Politics of Plants

Nathaniel Adams, Anthropology

This project examines how urban greening efforts act to remediate, reproduce, or reimagine the enduring spatial legacies of residential segregation in postindustrial cities like Baltimore.

Understanding Implementation of Healthy Kids' Meals Policies in the United States

Crystal Lee Perez, Health Policy & Management

Healthy kids' meal policies aim to improve the nutritional composition of kids' meals by requiring that restaurants replace sugary drinks with healthier beverages on kids' menus. This study will examine HKM policy text and implementation, and correlates of kids' meal purchases in restaurants.

Providing Decision Support for Climate Adaptation: The Value of Uncertainty-Based Adaptive Management

Rui Shi, Environmental Health & Engineering

This dissertation will address how comprehensive decision analysis can inform adaptation planning for mitigating health impacts of heat waves in cities, using Baltimore as a case study.

Feeling Valued? Exploring Teacher-Perceived Support From Families in Urban Early Care and Education Programs

Natalie Schock, Education

Early care and education is an important urban institution, as nationally nearly 8 million urban 3- to 5-year-olds attend ECE programs. This project will explore teachers' perceived support from families, a core component of the family-teacher relationship.

Cities Under Stress: Authority Erosion in South America

Maximiliano Vejares, Political Science

This project analyzes political mediation in three cities in Chile, where despite the relative strength of the state, consistent economic growth for three decades, and a strong party system, new challenges have eroded local governments' ability and willingness to provide public goods.