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research agenda

urban inequality, equality of opportunity & socio-economic mobility

I am currently co-editing a volume on the challenges and opportunities of inequality and economic mobility as they relate to creative economies, based on the contributions to a panel I organized for the 2015 Urban Affairs Conference entitled “Contradictions of the creative city: inequality, economic mobility, and the arts” (under review by Palgrave Macmillan’s Palgrave Pivot series). In addition to co-authoring the introductory and concluding chapters, I am contributing a chapter on the relationship between cross-sectional income inequality, economic and social mobility, and creative innovation economies. Other contributors include co-editor Dr. Colby King, Dr. Laura Crommelin, Dr. Melanie Fasche, and Dr. Matt Kaliner. I also see this as the first of several research projects considering this relationship, eventually exploring it with confidential longitudinal and cross-sectional data.

twenty-first century employment structures

A third stream of research—somewhat related to the others—deals with the structure of employment in the contemporary labor markets. I am especially interested in the increasingly contingent nature of employment arrangements—sometimes referred to as the “gig economy,”—and a policy regime that addresses the issues that arise with this change. I have worked in the past on the issue of the contingent workforce, and look forward to expanding that work, exploring the nature of work relationships, entrepreneurship and freelance work that is by choice and by necessity, and other forms of contingent work.

economic geography of creative industries

First, I plan to continue with my work on creative industries, especially around motion pictures and related industries. In addition to the two to three articles I expect to submit as a result of my dissertation work, I would like to explore more fully the structure of the industry workforce using tools such as social network analysis and geographic information systems. In addition, I would like to continue working on the structure and organization or creative work and innovation economies.

regional indicators and quality of life assessments

Another area of interest, although yet to be explored in my formal academic research, is the issue of regional indicators and quality of life assessments. This interest began while I was chairing a civic board for Wilmington/New Hanover County, NC, as part of which I was honored to co-host a regional Quality of Life Conference with Dr. Milan Dluhy of UNCW in 2003. As part of that effort, we worked with city, county and state officials to establish a regional progress board to track community health and economic indicators. A similar effort, “Neighborhood Nexus,” began in the Atlanta metropolitan region a few years ago, but I was not able to work on it before leaving the state. Upon my return to North Carolina in 2014, I became aware of another related project, the NC Indicator Projects Group, which has been working on establishing similar efforts throughout the state. I am interested in exploring both the trend in implementing these efforts, and the results they have achieved where they have been implemented.

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