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The concept of near repeats extends to housing research because several documented problems—such as voucher relocations, property-code violations, price shocks, or foreclosures—have been shown to have patterns of spatial and temporal proximity. The theoretical underpinnings of near repeat research in criminology are geographic in nature, rooted in the first law of geography (Miller, 2004) that everything is related, but closer things are more related because they share common characteristics. I used the near repeat calculator, which can be found at http://www.temple.edu/cj/misc/nr/.
concept posits that events geographically concentrate by spreading from one location to another in a systematic manner. The near repeat analysis shows that properties within short distance intervals— up to 1,320 feet (0.25 miles)—are likely to go into foreclosure within 90 days. These results support the nearest neighbor analysis results in that foreclosures are occurring at the street block level.
Finally, I conducted a kernel density estimation (KDE) analysis to visualize the foreclosure cluster patterns across Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.9 I overlaid the block group boundaries with the KDE output surface to examine how well foreclosure clusters aligned with the geographic units. Exhibit 8 shows foreclosed properties are highly concentrated within and across the block groups and that even units as small as block groups can still be too large and mask or dissect true local patterns. Nevertheless, the block groups generally capture the spatial extents of foreclosure concentration better than tracts.
I used parameters from a distance analysis that revealed that 8 miles is the threshold at which clustering of foreclosures dissipated. I used a negative exponential function to model the distribution, because construction patterns often have houses that are tightly grouped within small neighborhoods. I used the geometric interval classification scheme to thematically map the density patterns to reveal the core areas of the clusters.
Analytical and Policy Considerations The examples and results in this article demonstrate the impact Simpson’s Paradox has on analysis.
My analysis revealed that using a geographic unit larger than a block group in Wilson and Behlendorf (2013) would have compromised the analysis. My findings substantiate the concerns of several authors from the cited research who acknowledged that their results could change using smaller geographic units. Baumer, Wolff, and Arnio (2012), for example, thought that results from using large geographic units were speculative about local conditions and suggested more detailed analyses be conducted within cities. In another example, Kirk and Hyra (2012) recognized that increased crime from foreclosures might exhibit stronger relationships in select neighborhoods because of localized effects. Simpson’s Paradox can be mitigated through a number of methods to meet these concerns, such as data normalization, transformation (Wilson, 2011), or optimization (Mu and Wang, 2008), as long as the data are reliable (Sperling, 2012). When these methods cannot be employed, however, identifying the geography that captures an existing spatial effect is the best approach.
The policy consequences of Simpson’s Paradox are equally as important. Urban policy often targets places, and as such, the spatial extent of those policies should match the geographic coverage area of the problem to be effective in mitigation. Using the wrong geographic unit could lead to policies that do not fully address the problem. In Wilson and Behlendorf (2013) the use of census tracts would have led to a conclusion of no spatial contagion between foreclosures and that any crime associated with those properties also did not spread into adjacent neighborhoods. The tract model results, then, might have prompted the formulation of ineffective, or less than optimal, policy in containing the spread of foreclosures and any associated crime.
Acknowledgments The author thanks Brent Mast and Jon Sperling from the Office of Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for providing valuable comments toward improving this article. The author also thanks Brandon Behlendorf from the University of Maryland for his work on the original foreclosure and crime working paper.
Author Ron Wilson is a social science analyst in the Office of Policy Development and Research at the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development and an adjunct faculty member of the Geographic Information Systems program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
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Changing Geographic Units and the Analytical Consequences:
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Garcia, Ruth M., Ralph B. Taylor, and Brian A. Lawton. 2007. “The Impacts of Violent Crime and Neighborhood Structure on Trusting Your Neighbors,” Justice Quarterly 24 (4): 679–704.
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Jones, Roderick W., and William A. Pridemore. 2012. “The Foreclosure Crisis and Crime: Is Housing-Mortgage Stress Associated With Violent and Property Crime in U.S. Metropolitan Areas?” Social Science Quarterly 93 (3): 671–691.
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Rengert, George F., and Brian Lockwood. 2009. “Geographical Units of Analysis and the Analysis of Crime.” In Putting Crime in Its Place: Units of Analysis in Geographic Criminology, edited by David Weisburd, Wim Bernasco, and Gerben J.N. Bruinsma. New York: Springer-Verlag: 109–122.
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Wilson, Ronald E., and Brandon P. Behlendorf. 2013. The Neighborhood Context of Foreclosures and Crime. Working paper. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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304 SpAM Calls for Papers Form Follows Families: The Evolution of U.S. Affordable Housing Design and Construction (Summer 2014 issue of Cityscape) The design, construction, and physical maintenance of U.S. low-income housing—both assisted and market-rate inventories—have undergone both remarkable innovation and astounding decay during the past century. If well designed, constructed, and maintained, affordable housing is a vital economic and social asset. If not, it is a symbol of modern urban blight, a contributor to precarious living situations, and a symptom of bureaucratic inefficiency and market disregard. The new and existing housing stock occupied by low-income Americans are mirrors of our policy and our markets.
Past historical surveys of America housing have shed light on how the bricks and mortar of our nation’s housing are inscribed with social, economic, and political meaning. This symposium seeks submissions that broaden this field by applying historical or social-science analysis to the form, materials, means, and methods of low-income housing. In this symposium we will be equally interested in both the market-rate housing stock occupied by low-income households and the assisted housing stock. The topics of interest are wide and include, but are not limited to, (1) gender, race, or physical mobility and housing design; (2) municipal “incivilities” ordinances and building codes;
(3) measures of inadequate or distressed housing; (4) vernacular design and occupant preferences;
and (5) homebuyer and occupant maintenance and repair behaviors. Submit proposals via cityscape@ hud.gov; full drafts are expected by November 30, 2013.
Inclusion and Exclusion in American Neighborhoods (Fall 2014 issue of Cityscape) The articles in this symposium may be either theoretical or empirical, and they may use either qualitative or quantitative methods. Among the topics of interest are (1) ethnographic examinations of mixed-race and mixed-income communities, particularly focusing on how different strategies and contexts facilitate racial and economic integration; (2) analyses of local government policies that advance or hinder the development of mixed-race and mixed-income communities; and (3) analyses of how specific programs (either mobility programs or place-based investment programs) advance the development of mixed-race and mixed-income communities. If interested in submitting an article or serving as a peer reviewer, contact Paul Joice (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Meena Bavan (email@example.com) by October 1, 2013. Individuals invited to submit articles must provide a full draft by February 1, 2014.
Cityscape 307 Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research • Volume 15, Number 2 • 2013 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Office of Policy Development and Research Contents Symposium Mixed Messages on Mixed Incomes Guest Editors: James C. Fraser, Deirdre Oakley, and Diane K. Levy Guest Editors’ Introduction: Policy Assumptions and Lived Realities of Mixed-Income Housing on Both Sides of the Atlantic
Mixed-Income Living: Anticipated and Realized Benefits for Low-Income Households by Diane K. Levy, Zach McDade, and Kassie Bertumen
Ethnically Diverse HOPE VI Redevelopments: A Community Case Study From the Pacific Northwest by JoDee Keller, Janice Laakso, Christine Stevens, and Cathy Tashiro
Mixed-Tenure Orthodoxy: Practitioner Reflections on Policy Effects by Ade Kearns, Martin McKee, Elena Sautkina, George Weeks, and Lyndal Bond
Commentaries On Spatial Solutions to Social Problems by James DeFilippis
Mixing Policies: Expectations and Achievements by Hilary Silver
Making Mixed-Income Neighborhoods Work for Low-Income Households by James C. Fraser, Robert J. Chaskin, and Joshua Theodore Bazuin
Lessons Learned From the Largest Tenure-Mix Operation in the World: Right to Buy in the United Kingdom by Reinout Kleinhans and Maarten van Ham
Commentaries Housing Policy Possibilities in the Prison of Property Relations: A Commentary by Katherine Hankins
Mixed-Income Housing: Where Have We Been and Where Do We Go From Here?
by Derek Hyra
Examining Mobility Outcomes in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: Neighborhood Poverty, Employment, and Public School Quality by Victoria Basolo
Mobility Decisions of Very Low-Income Households by Kimberly Skobba and Edward G. Goetz
“It was really hard.... It was alright.... It was easy.” Public Housing Relocation Experiences and Destination Satisfaction in Atlanta by Deirdre Oakley, Erin Ruel, and Lesley Reid............. 173 Commentaries Market-Driven Public Housing Reforms: Inadequacy for Poverty Alleviation by Amy T. Khare. 193 False Assumptions About Poverty Dispersal Policies by Rachel Garshick Kleit................. 205 Acknowledging the Structural Features of Choice by Sudhir Venkatesh
Cityscape Mixed-Income Symposium Summary and Response: Implications for Antipoverty Policy by Mark L. Joseph
Point of Contention: Homeownership and Child Well-Being Do Kids of Homeowners Do Better Than Kids of Renters? by Richard K. Green
The Relationship of Homeownership, House Prices, and Child Well-Being by Donald Haurin... 227 The Evidence Does Not Show That Homeownership Benefits Children by David R. Barker....... 231 Looking Back To Move Forward in Homeownership Research by Sandra J. Newman and C. Scott Holupka
Departments Policy Briefs The Federal Housing Administration and Long-Term Affordable Homeownership Programs by Edwin Stromberg and Brian Stromberg
Data Shop New Data on Local Vacant Property Registration Ordinances by Yun Sang Lee, Patrick Terranova, and Dan Immergluck
Graphic Detail Visualizing Same-Sex Couple Household Data With Linked Micromaps by Brent D. Mast
Impact Refinancing Hospital Loans by Alastair McFarlane
Industrial Revolution Smart-Grid Technologies in Housing by M.G. Matt Syal and Kweku Ofei-Amoh
SpAM Changing Geographic Units and the Analytical Consequences: An Example of Simpson’s Paradox by Ron Wilson
Calls for Papers