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We are interested in how globalization affects local and regional development and how it contributes to changing economic, social, and environmental inequalities both between and within places, with different populations having different life chances depending on their social and geographic location. Our research focuses on the intersection of place and inequality (including gender, race/ethnicity and economic inequalities) both within and between US and international contexts, individual and collective action for equity, and the actors and the process of policy making at multiple scales.


Roman CybriwskySanjoy ChakravortyMelissa Gilbert, Rob MasonMichele MasucciJeremy MennisRickie Sanders, Jacob ShellCarolyn Adams (Emeritus)

Research Projects

Slide05Inequality among Metropolitan Communities (Carolyn Adams and David Bartelt)

From 2003 to 2012, Professors Adams and Bartelt, along with colleagues from Sociology and Political Science, collected, organized and mapped hundreds of social, environmental, and economic indicators, to analyze trends in the quality of life in the greater Philadelphia region. Funded by over $2 million from the William Penn Foundation, that project has documented unequal access in different communities to employment, public services, education, mortgage lending, and many other dimensions of community life. It has served as a source of data for both faculty publications and recent dissertations.

Slide06Monsters over Kyiv (Roman Cybriwsky)

Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, is an historic city that was built originally for reasons of defense on high bluffs overlooking the River Dnipro.  Beautiful golden-domed churches and monasteries were also built on the hilltops, earning the city the nickname “New Jerusalem” during its heyday in the Middle Ages.  Some of those churches have survived the centuries and are icons of history. The bluffs are also noted for parkland and a broad range of monuments from the Czarist Russian Empire, the Soviet decades, and the time since Ukrainian independence in 1991.  This scene shows recent illegal construction of high-end apartments for the rich and politically connected on illegally seized parkland overlooking the Dnipro.  Ukrainians call such buildings “monsters” because they are uninvited, take land from the common good, violate city planning objectives, and wreak havoc with historic fabric and natural environment.  The iconic landscape of historic Kyiv is being destroyed by this type of ill-advised high-rising in a climate of government corruption and a rush for profits.

Digital Divides and Urban Inequalities (Melissa R. Gilbert)

This research examines the intersection of inequalities in access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) and economic inequalities using Philadelphia as a case study. Through quantitative and qualitative analysis of primary and secondary data, this research seeks to understand the relationships among technological and social capital embedded in particular neighborhoods, occupational sex and race segregation, local labor markets, and access to and use of ICTs and related information flows in areas important to people such as jobs, education, and political participation. By understanding the relationships among gendered, racialized and place inequalities in terms of access to ICTs and economic empowerment, this research will contribute to policy discussions about how to empower people living in poverty.

Slide07Food, Bodies and Land (Allison Hayes-Conroy)

GUS faculty member Allison Hayes-Conroy has developed four different projects related to social justice. Working on food adequacy among displaced women in Medellin, Colombia she and Temple colleague Betsy Sweet have tried to understand how rural families whose lives have been severely impacted by violence experience the urban food systems that they are forced into. In a related project on Medellin’s Legion del Afecto movement, Hayes-Conroy has also sought to understand how violence-impacted communities have overcome fear and marginalization through the formation of unlikely bonds using song, dance, theatre, food and collective journey. Back in Philadelphia, Hayes-Conroy’s work on Critical Nutrition seeks to understand practices of nourishment that are not dictated by nutrition but rather begin through assessments of cultural strengths and social inequities. Finally, elsewhere in Colombia she and colleagues have formed a research interest group on the social, health and environmental effects of herbicide release for coca eradication. Several Temple undergraduate and graduate students have been involved in these projects.

Environmental Justice (Jeremy Mennis)

Environmental justice is the principle that all people have equal protection under environmental laws and the right to participate in environmental decision-making in their community.  I am interested in the quantitative analysis of race, class, and other socioeconomic characteristics as they relate to indicators of environmental risk, particularly toxins produced from industrial and commercial activity.  Recent research has focused on the distribution of air toxic releases in New Jersey , as well as on racial equity in actions taken by agencies responsible for enforcing environmental policies. For more information, go HERE

Slide08Cities, Photography and Critical Pedagogy (Rickie Sanders)

My interests center on the connections between social theory and the social, cultural, and visual tendencies of society. I am particularly interested in how interactions and desires ground themselves on the landscape. My recent work has included an examination of invisibility on the urban landscape (with Loreley Garcia Gomez); the work of Italo Calvino; the public space of urban communities; and the complexities of connecting critical geography to the classroom. I am presently working on a book length monograph in collaboration with Bogdan Jankowski which explores how cities and urban landscapes are imagined and re-presented.

Slide09Transport Methods of Resistance Movements (Jacob Shell)

This project looks at the social geographies of transportation during resistance movements.  What modes of transportation, and what transport-oriented labor niches, have been understood as especially useful for clandestine, politically subversive mobility, in different times and places over the past 150 years?  My main case-studies look at the U.S. and Canada, the British Isles, and South and Southeast Asia. In undertaking this research, I became especially interested in the cultural politics and contested geographic manifestations of animal-based and water-based forms of transportation.  This research has culminated in a book which is forthcoming from MIT Press.