Dr Smith has three overlapping lines of research that involve local, national and international collaborations:
Local Governments as Immigrant Recruiters
Dr. Smith is working with Wayne State University students to compile a database of local governments that are actively welcoming or literally attempting to recruit immigrants to purchase homes, start businesses or contribute to needed skills in the workplace. Are these policies mostly a response to urban decline, pressure from civil society, or a genuine skills mismatch in the workforce? If possible, we will use the data to determine the impact of any of these policies and make recommendations based on our findings.
Community Measures of Inequality and Sustainability
Research suggests that inequality negatively affects human well being and creates an unsustainable environment. Measures of inequality of places may change depending on where one draws the line on the map. Dr. Smith is working with Sergio Rey at the Arizona State University School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning to find applications for the spatial decomposition of the Gini index, a measure of the relative inequality of places in a region.
Furthermore, Dr. Smith is a core advisor for the International Ecocity Standards Framework project of Ecocity Builders. This project combines community organizing, ecocity mapping, and indicators to promote sustainability in human settlements. The draft sustainability standards framework will be presented to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June of 2012.
Age Friendly Communities
Dr. Smith is also a consultant to a project conducted by Amanda Lehning and Ruth Dunke of the University of Michigan School of Social Work to empirically test the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Age-Friendly Community model. Policy makers are promoting an attitude towards planning that is friendly to persons of all ages, but especially senior citizens who may have special mobility needs. What aspects of a community matter to senior citizens? What are the reasons they choose to age in community?
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