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Selected Works

Michael P. Johnson

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Full-Text Articles in Urban Studies and Planning

Smart Shrinkage: Better Planning And Decision-Making For Legacy Cities, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Oct 2019

Smart Shrinkage: Better Planning And Decision-Making For Legacy Cities, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

Neighborhoods, cities and regions facing long-term declines in population and economic activity may consider alternative responses, such as revitalization, regeneration, shrinkage and abandonment. In this presentation I show that planning decisions intended to improve quality of life, informed by qualitative and quantitative data and analytic methods, implemented through accessible and affordable technologies, and based on notions of social impact and social justice, can enable residents to play a leading role in the positive transformation of shrinking cities and
distressed communities.


Urban Planning And Operations Research: A Review And Critique, Tayo Fabusuyi, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Oct 2019

Urban Planning And Operations Research: A Review And Critique, Tayo Fabusuyi, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

While inquiry in Operations Research (OR) modeling of Urban Planning (UP) processes is longstanding, the OR discipline has not influenced UP at a level of other domains such as public policy and information technology. Could an OR approach which focuses on the complex, emergent nature of cities and the institutional environment enable interventions that better address challenges that are complex, multi-stakeholder and stochastic in nature? Based on a critique of research and practice in OR and UP, we argue that a prospective and prescriptive approach to
planning that embraces mixed-methods can help researchers and practitioners develop programs that reflect community ...


Supporting Shrinkage: Better Planning And Decision-Making For Legacy Cities, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Justin B. Hollander, Eliza W. Kinsey, George Chichirau, Charla Burnett Aug 2019

Supporting Shrinkage: Better Planning And Decision-Making For Legacy Cities, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Justin B. Hollander, Eliza W. Kinsey, George Chichirau, Charla Burnett

Michael P. Johnson

Planning and policy design for shrinking and distressed regions is challenging. Traditionally, planners use
a variety of tools and incentives to encourage land uses that accommodate changes in populations,
infrastructure and activities to maximize quality of life and social and environmental sustainability.
These are generally designed for growing cities and politically and socially active communities. Since
many regions face significant disparities in social supports, financial resources and quality of life, use of
these tools is thus problematic.

Information technology and the Internet have transformed the production of goods and services. The
‘big data’, ‘smart cities’ and ‘e-government’ movements make it ...


From Data To Decisions In Local Government, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Jul 2019

From Data To Decisions In Local Government, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

Making good decisions is essential to enabling local government to deliver services that improve the lives of constituents. But what is a good decision, and what is necessary to make good decisions? In this presentation, given to fellows of the Lead for America program, I introduce the notion of decision and data analytics, specific to the needs of resource-constrained local governments, provide three examples of analytics & decision opportunities ranging from mostly-qualitative to mostly-quantitative data and analysis, and end with three case studies that I had the Lead for America fellows perform.


Changing Urban Form In A Shrinking City, Justin Hollander, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Rachel B. Drew Jun 2019

Changing Urban Form In A Shrinking City, Justin Hollander, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Rachel B. Drew

Michael P. Johnson

This paper uses building footprint data in a shrinking city, Baltimore, MD, in 1972 and 2010 to achieve two primary research objectives. The first is to understand the historical patterns of housing construction and demolition in selected row house neighborhoods in Baltimore between 1972 and 2010. The second is to understand changes in housing footprints, and associations between these changes and physical and socio-economic characteristics in selected neighborhoods. We find that housing losses and associated changes in building footprints have shown substantial variation across our study area and exhibit clustering within our study area. Moreover, while housing loss is strongly ...


Decision Science For Community Development And Social Change, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Feb 2019

Decision Science For Community Development And Social Change, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

Operations research, also known as management science or decision science, is a mathematics-based discipline that draws from engineering, information systems, management, public policy and planning. OR enables individuals and organizations to make better decisions regarding manufacturing and logistics, service provision and strategy design. My particular interest in OR focuses on the needs of mission-driven and resource-constrained organizations that serve urban communities. In my talk I will describe how OR can use qualitative and quantitative analysis through meaningful engagement of communities to enable creative identification, formulation and solution of complex problems for local impact and social justice. Specific applications I'm ...


Community-Focused Problem-Solving With Operations Research And Analytics, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Jan 2019

Community-Focused Problem-Solving With Operations Research And Analytics, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

In these days of ‘analytics’, ‘big data’ and ‘smart cities’, many of us are aware of the importance of data and quantitative analytic methods for program design, implementation and evaluation. Less commonly-understood are specific tools and methods for community-based interventions in which the problem to be solved is unclear, and the ways in which data of many different kinds can be used to develop interventions that represent best-possible uses of organization and community resources. Moreover, it is also less commonly-understood how to put communities, and community members, near the center of problem-solving and decision-making.

Examples of challenging problems include: How ...


Course Syllabus: Ppol-G 704 Research Methods Ii, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Dec 2018

Course Syllabus: Ppol-G 704 Research Methods Ii, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

This is the second course of the research methods sequence that is required for students in the PhD program in Public Policy. This course will prepare students to produce professional-quality research, and will provide exposure to a variety of special topics in policy analysis. Students will design and implement a research project suitable for conference presentation that is relevant to their field of interest. The instructor, and guest lecturers as necessary, will provide lectures on topics necessary to develop well-rounded policy researchers, as well as special topics that are responsive to students’ particular needs. The primary goal of this course ...


Course Syllabus, Upcd 620 Quantitative Analytic Methods For Urban Planning & Community Development, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Dec 2018

Course Syllabus, Upcd 620 Quantitative Analytic Methods For Urban Planning & Community Development, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

This course provides students with an introduction to quantitative analytic methods appropriate to propose, support and evaluate localized and regional initiatives in planning and community development. Technical skills associated with these methods will be taught with a focus on the needs of community-based organizations which typically have limited time, human, financial and technical resources to perform detailed analyses in support of their programs and initiatives. This is a core, required course in the Urban Planning and Community Development master’s program. No previous university-level exposure to probability and statistics are necessary. Students will learn basic skills in analysis and interpretation ...


Strengthening The Profession Through Diversity And Inclusion-Related Research Within Or, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Oct 2018

Strengthening The Profession Through Diversity And Inclusion-Related Research Within Or, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

Diversity, equity and inclusion are well-studied and widely-practiced areas in organization design, human resources and many areas of social sciences. However, the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines are somewhat newer to the notion of diversity, equity and inclusion as a way to improve professions and contribute to substantive research within component disciplines. This is especially true for operations research and the decision sciences. In this talk, given to an interdisciplinary audience of engineering professors, administrators and students, I provide an introduction to operations research, to diversity, equity and inclusion within STEM and OR specifically, ways that DEI might ...


Community Operational Research: A Survey Of The Discipline, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Gerald Midgley, Jason D. Wright, George Chichirau Sep 2018

Community Operational Research: A Survey Of The Discipline, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Gerald Midgley, Jason D. Wright, George Chichirau

Michael P. Johnson

Community operational research (COR) is an extension of multiple OR/MS traditions to support participatory research, localized impact and social change. It applies critical thinking, evidence-based policy analysis, community participation and decision modeling to local interventions. It emphasizes the needs, voices and values of disadvantaged and marginalized populations. It rests on a foundation of meaningful engagement with communities. This presentation summarizes a multi-year effort to assemble cutting-edge research in COR in a special issue of European Journal of Operational Research available August 2018. We review principles for community OR, describe the breadth and diversity of the field through the experience ...


Emerging Trends And New Frontiers In Community Operational Research, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Gerald Midgley, George Chichirau Jul 2018

Emerging Trends And New Frontiers In Community Operational Research, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Gerald Midgley, George Chichirau

Michael P. Johnson

Community operational research (Community OR), and its disciplinary relation, community-based operations research, has an increasingly high profile within multiple domains that benefit from empirical and analytic approaches to problem solving. These domains are primarily concentrated within nonprofit services and local development. However, there are many other disciplinary and application areas for which novel applications and extensions of COR could generate valuable insights. This paper identifies a number of these, distinguishing between ‘emerging trends’ (mostly in well-studied areas of operations research, management science and analytics) and ‘new frontiers’, which can be found in traditions not commonly oriented towards empirical and analytic ...


Community-Based Participatory Research Through The Lens Of Decision Science, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Jun 2018

Community-Based Participatory Research Through The Lens Of Decision Science, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

This is a brief introduction to community-focused and community-engaged research through the perspective of the decision sciences. It is intended as a complement to similar approaches more generally situated in the social sciences.


Editorial: Special Issue: Community Operational Research: Innovations, Internationalization And Agenda-Setting Applications, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Gerald Midgley Mar 2018

Editorial: Special Issue: Community Operational Research: Innovations, Internationalization And Agenda-Setting Applications, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Gerald Midgley

Michael P. Johnson

This is an editorial to a special issue of European Journal of Operational Research, titled "Special Issue: Community Operational Research: Innovations, Internationalization and Agenda-Setting Applications". This special issue is edited by Michael Johnson and Gerald Midgley. Editorial assistants are Jason Wright and George Chichirau. The anticipated publication date for the special issue is July 2018. The special issue is comprised of 31 papers, representing diverse application areas, methodologies, analytic methods and author countries of origin.


Planning With Justice In Mind In A Shrinking Baltimore, Jeremy Nemeth, Justin B. Hollander, Eliza Whiteman, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Feb 2018

Planning With Justice In Mind In A Shrinking Baltimore, Jeremy Nemeth, Justin B. Hollander, Eliza Whiteman, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

In our 2011 paper “The bounds of smart decline: a foundational theory for planning shrinking cities,” we outline five propositions for just planning processes in cities losing population: inclusion, deliberation, recognition, transparency, and scale-appropriateness. Each proposition addresses a perceived weakness of planning processes in shrinking cities, and with each we list a set of actions planners can take in “moving the dial” toward more just outcomes. In this article, we test this theory to what we call Baltimore’s Abandoned Housing Strategy, a series of citywide policy interventions intended to facilitate the productive reuse of vacant and abandoned properties. Through ...


Course Syllabus: Honors 490 Mayor's Symposium: Housing In A Changing City, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Dec 2017

Course Syllabus: Honors 490 Mayor's Symposium: Housing In A Changing City, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

This course provides students with an introduction to project-based and community-engaged learning through the subject of urban housing policy. The theme of this course is stabilizing and revitalizing Boston’s neighborhoods by increasing access to decent and affordable housing for all, with a focus on reducing incidence of eviction and displacement arising from gentrification and neighborhood change. Through readings, lectures, discussions, site visits and conversations with practitioners, scholars and advocates, students will acquire a comprehensive perspective on urban housing, and develop innovative projects to address important needs of Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab (https ...


What Is Community Operational Research?, Gerald Midgley, Michael P. Johnson Jr., George Chichirau Dec 2017

What Is Community Operational Research?, Gerald Midgley, Michael P. Johnson Jr., George Chichirau

Michael P. Johnson

Community Operational Research (Community OR) has been an explicit sub-domain of OR for more than 30 years. In this paper, we tackle the controversial issue of how it can be differentiated from other forms of OR. While it has been persuasively argued that Community OR cannot be defined by its clients, practitioners or methods, we argue that the common concern of all Community OR practice is the meaningful engagement of communities, whatever form that may take – and the legitimacy of different forms of engagement may be open to debate. We then move on to discuss four other controversies that have ...


Community-Engaged Operations Research: Trends, New Frontiers And Current Applications, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Nov 2017

Community-Engaged Operations Research: Trends, New Frontiers And Current Applications, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

Community-engaged operations research is an extension of multiple OR/MS traditions to support participatory scholarship, localized impact and social change. It applies critical thinking, evidence-based policy analysis, community participation and decision modeling to local interventions. It emphasizes the needs, voices and values of disadvantaged and marginalized populations. Through a survey of current scholarship in two complementary areas of inquiry, ‘community operational research’ (referring to work by primarily UK-based researchers) and ‘community-based operations research’ (referring to work by primarily US-based researchers), we develop principles for community-engaged OR, present critical questions that represent opportunities to expand the impact of this work, and ...


Improving Decision-Making Skills Of Nonprofit Professionals, Michael P. Johnson Jr., George Chichirau, Jason Wright Oct 2017

Improving Decision-Making Skills Of Nonprofit Professionals, Michael P. Johnson Jr., George Chichirau, Jason Wright

Michael P. Johnson

Nonprofits face gaps in organizational capacity, including program design and evaluation, but previous research suggests that capacity-building exercises have a positive effect. We describe a data analytics training workshop with staff from Boston-area nonprofits reflecting a wide range of sectors. Through analysis of participant work on case studies provided by the instructor, we examine how participants made sense of training materials, the various strategies employed by participants to solve three case study problems, and participant feedback about the session. Our findings provide a basis for novel interventions in community based operations research. 


Decision Modeling For Housing And Community Development: A Methodology For Evidence-Based Urban And Regional Planning, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Aug 2017

Decision Modeling For Housing And Community Development: A Methodology For Evidence-Based Urban And Regional Planning, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

Urban community development corporations and other local institutions routinely face challenging problems in housing and economic development that require substantial expertise in data analytics and decision modeling. Recent research, inspired by local responses to the housing foreclosure crisis, and developed in cooperation with Boston-area CDCs, has resulted in a collection of applications that can assist CDCs and similar organizations to design local interventions for acquisition and redevelopment of housing. This paper describes these applications. The first of these is values and objective design, i.e. the process of identifying decision opportunities. The second of these is data analytics, or the ...


Ppol-G 746 Geographic Information Systems For Public Policy, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Jun 2017

Ppol-G 746 Geographic Information Systems For Public Policy, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

The purpose of this course is to learn principles and applications of GIS to support doctoral-level research and master’s-level research and analysis in public policy and related disciplines, such as public management, gerontology and urban and regional planning. This course has a particular focus on spatial data collection and analysis for urbanized regions within the greater Boston area. We will address basic geographic and mapping concepts. These include: world coordinate system and projections, map topology, tiled and layered maps, standard computer map file formats, data processing and data analysis, including Web-enabled GIS. We will also study advanced methods suitable ...


Course Syllabus: Ppol-G 630 Research Methods I, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Jun 2017

Course Syllabus: Ppol-G 630 Research Methods I, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

This course offers an introduction to research methods and design primarily from a social science perspective. The primary objective is to improve students’ ability to become better producers and consumers of public policy research by providing an introduction to an array of methodological issues and approaches to policy research. Within a social science framework, our discussions will include topics like: How do we find/develop research questions and testable hypotheses? What is the nature of “explanation” – or how do we know if we’ve found the “answer” to our research question/problem? What determines the method we choose to collect ...


Super Roundtable, “From Data To Decisions At Your Nonprofit”: Event Description And Assessment, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Jun 2017

Super Roundtable, “From Data To Decisions At Your Nonprofit”: Event Description And Assessment, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

On April 28, 2017, Tech Networks of Boston hosted an extended roundtable event to give nonprofit professionals an introduction to storytelling and decision-making with data, allowing the notion of ‘data’ (qualitative and quantitative), ‘storytelling’ (descriptive and explorative analysis through words, numbers and pictures) and ‘decision-making’ (identifying decision opportunities, quantifying values, generating alternatives and choosing most-preferred courses of action) to be understood as broadly as possible.  This document summarizes the event, presents some event feedback and discusses next steps in the area of nonprofit and community data analytics and decision science.


From Data To Decisions At Your Nonprofit, Michael P. Johnson Jr., George Chichirau, Jason Wright Apr 2017

From Data To Decisions At Your Nonprofit, Michael P. Johnson Jr., George Chichirau, Jason Wright

Michael P. Johnson

In recent years, discussions about ‘data analytics,' ‘big data’ and ‘performance management’ have tended to focus on organizations’ needs to collect, store, analyze, and make productive use of mostly-quantitative data to ensure that their activities are best-aligned with their missions. Without minimizing the importance of training, software and hardware selection, and organization design, there is also a need for organizations to make the best decisions they can using all data that are available – including qualitative data that may be hard to capture in information systems.
    
The goal of this Super Roundtable is to enable organizations to improve their decision-making ability ...


How Can School Districts In Shrinking Regions Remake Themselves To Support Their Communities? Policy And Operations Analysis For A Massachusetts School District, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Feb 2017

How Can School Districts In Shrinking Regions Remake Themselves To Support Their Communities? Policy And Operations Analysis For A Massachusetts School District, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

School districts in towns and regions facing long-term demographic and financial challenges are under intense
pressure to make difficult decisions so that they may continue to provide a quality education and enhance the vitality of the communities they serve. Such decisions may address: funding sources, education and non-education expenditures, facility utilization and community engagement. A recent engagement with Massachusetts towns by the Collins Center for Public Management has generated a case study in small-town school district revitalization. In this talk I will present results of community conversations that have enabled analysts, working with school district stakeholders, to propose a range ...


Community Data Analytics: Localized Data Analysis And Decision Modeling In The Era Of ‘Big Data’ And ‘Smart Cities’, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Jan 2017

Community Data Analytics: Localized Data Analysis And Decision Modeling In The Era Of ‘Big Data’ And ‘Smart Cities’, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

Community-based organizations use data for program design, services provision and strategic planning. However, CBOs often have limited ability to identify, access and apply these data. Thus, CBOs may make decisions on the basis of inadequate data, or limited understanding of the local environment, or limited ability to generate mission-aligned solutions.Community data analytics (CDA) uses local know-how and clearly-articulated values in order to transform data into action. CDA is rooted in principles of operations research and management science for public benefi#12;t. These principles include: active participation by local stakeholders to identify problems of interest; a critical perspective on ...


Success Measures For Local Economic Development: Project Final Report, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Sandeep Jani Nov 2016

Success Measures For Local Economic Development: Project Final Report, Michael P. Johnson Jr., Sandeep Jani

Michael P. Johnson

No abstract provided.


An Agenda For Diversity And Inclusion-Related Research Within Or/Ms/Analytics, Michael P. Johnson Jr., George Chichirau Nov 2016

An Agenda For Diversity And Inclusion-Related Research Within Or/Ms/Analytics, Michael P. Johnson Jr., George Chichirau

Michael P. Johnson

Diversity and inclusion have been widely studied and debated, most often within the social sciences. What contributions can operations research, management science and analytics make to this domain of inquiry? This talk will critically examine assumptions and practices within the decision sciences that may support as well impede diversity- and inclusion-related research, and propose a research agenda that can challenge yet enrich our profession.


Estimating Strategic Impacts Of Foreclosed Housing Redevelopment Using Spatial Analysis, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Nov 2016

Estimating Strategic Impacts Of Foreclosed Housing Redevelopment Using Spatial Analysis, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

Community-based organizations engaged in foreclosure response wish to quantify the relative value of housing units for redevelopment. We measure the 'strategic value' of property acquisition candidates based on proximity to site-specific neighborhood amenities and disamenities, given the relative importance of that proximity to CDC organizational and community objectives. We show that strategic values can differ in systematic ways depending on the types of amenities and disamenities identified as relevant for acquisition decisions, the relative importance assigned to those amenities and disamenities, and the utility maximization objectives of the organization.


Decision Modeling For Housing And Community Development: #11;A Methodology For Evidence-Based Urban And Regional Planning, Michael P. Johnson Jr. Nov 2016

Decision Modeling For Housing And Community Development: #11;A Methodology For Evidence-Based Urban And Regional Planning, Michael P. Johnson Jr.

Michael P. Johnson

Urban community development corporations and other local institutions routinely face challenging problems in housing and economic development that require substantial expertise in data analytics and decision modeling. While CDC employees have significant experience in diverse application areas, they often face limitations in acquiring, analyzing and sharing data, and using these data to solve decision problems whose solutions can generate novel strategies to address localized needs. Recent research, inspired by local responses to
the housing foreclosure crisis, and developed in cooperation with Boston‐area CDCs, has resulted in a collection of analytic methods and applications that can assist CDCs and similar ...