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Optimal Business Location Model

The idea behind this paper is to create a model that will predict the optimal place for a business to locate. In order to ensure long run viability, a firm must understand the idea of optimal business location. In the designing of a strategy, it is important to not only evaluate the present market environment but to also account for possible future change. This paper will demonstrate the core ideas behind a comprehensive location model that will predict the optimal location for a business. The effectiveness of the model will be evaluated by using past data in Durham, North Carolina to predict current retail development and to see if the trend recognized would be able to correctly identify the location choices of firms. Further analysis will show what this foretells for Durham’s future retail locations.

The remainder of the paper can be found here.

A presentation on this topic can also be found here.


1. Chi S.C., Kao S.S., Kuo R.J., “A decision support system for selecting convenience store location through integration of fuzzy AHP and artificial neural network.” Elsevier Science B.V., June 15, 2001.

2. Craig Samuel, Ghosh Avijit. “Formulating Retail Location Strategy in a Changing Environment.” The Journal of Marketing, Vol. 47, No. 3, 1983. pp 56-68.

3. Glaeser, Edward L., Rosenthal, Stuart S., Strange, William C., “Urban Economics and Entrepreneurship.” National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper 15536.

4. Huff, David L., “A Programmed Solution for Approximating an Optimum Retail Location.” Land Economics Vol. 42 No. 3, Aug. 1966. pp 293-303.

Eminent Domain in Urban Areas

© Mike Lester, www.caylecartoons.com

The constitutional issue of eminent domain rose to prominence in national political dialogue after the landmark Supreme Court Case Kelo v. New London in 2005. Once a right reserved for government takings for “public uses,” like highways and schools, Kelo legitimized the government’s right to seize property for the “public good-” specifically economic development.   This broadly expanded the strength of the government power, and many viewed the ruling as a significant step backwards in securing strong property rights in the United States (few savored the idea of their family home being labeled “blighted” so Chicago could build another movie theater or Outback Steakhouse).  While many a paper has been penned on the political ramifications of the court case, few academics have researched the economic and socioeconomic impact the use of eminent domain can have on an urban area.

This literature survey will address the literature we do have- its effectiveness in correcting market inefficiencies (urban renewal and urban sprawl) and whether the usage of eminent domain inherently “targets” a minority or impoverished population.  Miceli and Sirmans pontificate on the holdout problem and urban sprawl, O’Flaherty evaluates the effectiveness of urban renewal on a theoretic level, and Carpenter and Ross examines a racial, economic, and educational bias inherent in eminent domain.


Brueckner, J. (2000). Urban sprawl: diagnosis and remedies. International Regional Science Review, 23(2), Retrieved from doi: 10.1177/016001700761012710

Carpenter, D.M., & Ross, J.K. (2009). Testing O’Connor and Thomas: Does the Use of Eminent Domain Target Poor and Minority Communities?. Urban Studies, 46(11), doi: 10.1177/0042098009342597

Miceli, T.J., & Sirmans, C.F. (2007). The holdout problem, urban sprawl, and eminent domain. Journal of Housing Economics, 16. doi: 10.1016/j.jhe.2007.06.004

O’Flaherty, B. (1994). Land assembly and urban renewal. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 24, 287-300.

The Efficacy of Transit-Oriented Development

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is one of the most contentious topics in modern urban planning.  The basic concept of TOD is that local governments can and should encourage decreased dependence on automobiles by creating convenient public transit nodes and supporting high-density development in the immediate vicinity of these points.  This often comes in the form of new rail-transit investments and is lauded as an important tool in the fight against urban sprawl.  New Urbanists see in TOD an opportunity to encourage high-density, mixed-use development like never before.  More conservative purists, however, argue that these TOD neighborhoods represent unwanted and inefficient market distortions that cater only to upper-class snobs too pretentious to ride a bus.  The outcome of this debate will have critical implications on the built landscape of our urban environments for decades to come.

Click here to learn more!


Chen, Joyce, Mark Hamilton, Nick Kindel, Ian Macek, and Meghan Pinch. “Transit Oriented Development and Cluster Developments.” 1-11. Web. 23 Sept. 2010. <http://courses.washington.edu>.

Niles, John, and Dick Nelson. “Measuring the Success of Transit-Oriented Development: Retail Market Dynamics and Other Key Determinants.” Proc. of American Planning Association National Planning Conference. 31 Aug. 2006. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.< www.community-wealth.org/_pdfs/articles-publications/tod/paper-niles-http://nelson.pdf>

O’Toole, Randal. “Defining Success: The Case Against Rail Transit.” Policy Analysis 663 (2010). Cato Institute, 22 May 2010. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.<http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? abstract_id=1612782>.

By: Brian Simel

Public Transportation and the Spatial Evolution of Chinese Cities

China is urbanizing at a rapid rate. The country is expected to have 926 million city-dwellers by 2025, and over a billion by 2030. This unprecedented scale of urbanization represents a huge strain on local and global resources. It is clear that such development is unsustainable if China follows the US model of city growth. In this paper, I explore how the development of public transportation networks in Chinese metropolises affect their spatial evolution, and how public transport provides a critical tool for sustainable growth

The full document can be found here


Frank, Lawrence D., and Gary Pivo. “Impacts of Mixed Use and Density on Utilization of Three Modes of Travel: Single-Occupant Vehicle, Transit, and Walking.” Transportation Research Record 1466 (1994). Web.

Kenworthy, Jeff, and Gang Hu. “Transport and Urban Form in Chinese Cities.” DISP 0251-3625.151 (2002). Web.

Muller, Peter O. “Transportation and Urban Form: Stages in the Spatial Evolution of the American Metropolis.” The Geography of Urban Transportation. Comp. Susan Hanson. New York: Guilford, 1986. Print.