When cities spend money who pays and who benefits? This question has guided my research agenda throughout my career. From studies on competitiveness and industry cluster policies to more recent work on how, why and where neighborhoods change I am focused on the broad range of distributive outcomes associated with city spending. Currently I am focused on methods for representing neighborhood change in complex, multiscalar contexts and developing a line of research that explores the increasing neighborhood-scale diversity in U.S. cities. I am motivated by a desire to better understand how different groups, particularly the poor, benefit (or fail to benefit) from local policy decisions. My published work intersects with demography, economics, public policy, and urban studies. A key component of much of my research is an effort to blend complex, interview-based research on neighborhoods with innovative quantitative methods of spatial analysis. Recent work with coauthors Rhubart and Jensen has led to the publication of labor-shed and commuting zone delineations available at This site contains text, spreadsheet, and GIS files for multiple delineations and multiple years including ERS Commuting Zones, BEA Economic Areas, and FCC Partial Economic Areas.

Research Interests

Urban and Economic Geography; Demographics; Poverty; Planning and Economic Development Policies; Spatial Statistics; Complex Economic Systems


  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Washington, 2007
  • M.A., Geography, University of Washington, 2003. Awarded Ullman Prize for Best Thesis.
  • A.B., Geography (cum laude), Dartmouth College, 1997. Highest departmental honors. Awarded Marsh Prize for Outstanding Thesis.