News article about the coronavirus pandemic

Cold War-style preparedness could help fight future pandemics

by Alex Bitterman and Daniel Baldwin Hess

A key group of allies is missing in the U.S. effort to face the coronavirus pandemic: the American people. 

Cold War-style preparedness could help fight future pandemics

In the wake of World War II and during the Cold War, the U.S. was the world’s best at planning and preparing for mobilizing the citizenry to take action in an emergency. In those days, the anticipated emergency was a nuclear attack on the U.S., likely resulting in a loss of national leadership that required local governments and members of the public to step up.

To read the full article in The Conversation click here.

New Publication in Urban Geography

Vertical segregation of apartment building dwellers during late state socialism in Bucharest, Romania

Szymon Marcinczak and Daniel Baldwin Hess

To access the article in Urban Geography click here.

This article examines patterns of within-building vertical segregation in Bucharest, Romania under late socialism using micro-data (individual/household level information) from the 1992 Romanian national census. The data allows examination of separation of households according to the floor on which a household is located and according to the residential sector/district of Bucharest. Findings suggest that common social and demographic factors are related to the location of households in both horizontal and vertical dimensions of urban space. We also find that a freely functioning real estate market is not necessary to produce vertical segregation. Consequently, since vertical segregation existed in early and modern capitalist cities – and bearing in mind that the phenomenon existed under socialism too – we conclude that, like horizontal socio-spatial separation, vertical segregation is an intrinsic characteristic of modern cities and a feature of urban space that did not diminish when pre-industrial cities disappeared.

New book: Housing Estates in Europe: Poverty, Ethnic Segregation, and Policy Challenges

Edited by Hess, Tammaru, and van Ham

This open access book explores the formation and socio-spatial trajectories of large housing estates.  Through case studies of housing estates in 14 European centers, this collection identifies policy measures that have been used to address challenges in housing estates in Europe’s metropolitan centers.

To access the book on the Springer Publishing website click here. 

Understanding Migration in Estonia: Daniel B. Hess published in The Baltic Times

Across Europe, a wave of migrants from war-stricken parts of the world has, since the beginning of the 2015 refugee crisis, washed over national borders. Resulting demographic change has inflamed vigorous debate about the extent to which borders should be controlled and open-migration allowed. In Estonia, a modest migration trend has reversed long-term population decline. In 2015, for the first time in 25 years, Estonia experienced greater immigration than emigration. While an increase in migration may benefit Estonia in the short term through population gains and greater economic productivity, new long- term challenges arise related to social cohesion and poverty.

Click here to read the full article in The Baltic Times.

Dr. Daniel B. Hess shares expert opinion on Fare-Free Public Transport in Tallinn

An article in U.S. News & World Report about plans by government officials in Estonia to roll out free public transportation nationwide, which, if successful, would make the Baltic state the first country to implement such a system, interviews Daniel B. Hess, professor of urban and regional planning in the UB School of Architecture and Planning. “As we continue to urbanize and have denser places that need many people reaching them, there will be an increasing need for public transit to serve these places with high-capacity transit vehicles, such as buses, streetcars or subways,” he said. “Any growing city where there’s a premium on land value and the traffic is choking, and where it’s very expensive to travel by car and park, seems a possibility for free public transport.”

Click here to read the full article in U.S. News & World Report.

New Publication in Energy Policy

Intersection of the global climate agenda with regional development: Unequal distribution of energy efficiency-based renovation subsidies for apartment buildings (2018)

Lauri Lihtmaa, Daniel Baldwin Hess, Kadri Leetmaa

Photo by Annika Väiko

To access the article in Energy Policy, click here.

The residential sector is an important target area for achieving Europe’s 2020 energy saving aims. There is virtually no evidence, however, of how incentives for attaining energy efficiency ciency interact with countries’ regional development aims. This paper presents recent experiences from Estonia, where an energy renovation subsidy programme financed with carbon emission trading funds was carried out between 2010 and 2014. We show that despite equal access to subsidies for residents living in various places, a regionally unequal distribution of subsidies occurred.

Continue reading New Publication in Energy Policy

Daniel Hess takes helm as chair of UB’s urban and regional planning program

Daniel B. Hess, a professor of urban planning who studies the socio-economic dynamics of housing, transportation and land use, has been appointed chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at UB, effective January 1, 2018.

A member of the faculty since 2002 and former associate chair of the department, Hess begins his tenure as chair just as he concludes a two-year research fellowship in Estonia at the University of Tartu.

The transition takes place amidst a period of tremendous growth for the program fueled by its city-as-laboratory engagement with Buffalo, and new transdisciplinary research initiatives that address challenges as diverse as climate change and social justice and engage disciplines including architecture, public health, law and engineering.

To read the full article, click here.

New publication in Journal of Architecture and Urban Planning

Network Connections and Neighbourhood Perception: Using Social Media Postings to Capture Attitudes among Twitter Users in Estonia (2017).

Photo by Camden Miller

The residential landscape of a city is key to its economic, social, and cultural functioning. Following the collapse of communist rule in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, urban residential dynamics and household mobility have been critical to urban change under new economies and political systems. This article explores neighbourhood perception, which is a link in the chain to better explanation of socio-spatial processes (and their interruption by the socialist system). We use a novel data set ‒ opinions expressed on one of social media (Twitter), and a novel empirical method ‒ neural network analysis, to explore people’s current attitudes and perceptions about the neighbourhoods and districts in Tartu, Estonia. Continue reading New publication in Journal of Architecture and Urban Planning

New publication in Case Studies on Transport Policy


Decrypting Fare-Free Public Transport in Tallinn, Estonia

Among many possible interventions in public transport finance and policy designed to enhance the attractiveness of riding public transport, one of the most extreme, which is seldom implemented, is the elimination of passenger fares, effectively making public transport “free” for riders (with operating costs paid from other funding sources). This article describes a fare-free public transport program in Tallinn, Estonia, launched in 2013, which has exhibited lower-than-expected increases in ridership. Evaluations of Tallinn’s fare-free public transport program are presented and synthesized, with a focus on program goals and how goals are met through program performance. Findings suggest certain flaws limit the program’s potential success since the program design is misaligned with its primary stated goals, and several program goals relating to external effects of fare reform cannot be evaluated. Although it would be valuable for transport managers in other cities to learn about this experience, the Tallinn fare-free public transport program provides scant transferable evidence about how such a program can operate outside of a politicized context, which was crucial to its implementation in Estonia.

To access the article in Case Studies in Transport Policy click here.