Special Issue of Housing Policy Debate Edited by John Renne


The latest issue of the journal Housing Policy Debate is a special issue co-edited by SURP’s John Renne, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions in the School of Urban and Regional Planning. The issue includes 15 papers focused on how location choices and associated transportation costs affect housing affordability.

Bourassa and Hoesli Win Best Paper Prize


SURP Director Steven Bourassa and co-author Martin Hoesli of the University of Geneva have won the “Innovative Thinking Out of the Box” best paper prize for their paper, “High Frequency House Price Indexes with Scarce Data”, presented at the 2016 American Real Estate Society (ARES) Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. The paper presents a method for calculating house price indexes for small areas, such as city neighborhoods, on a monthly or quarterly basis. The paper is forthcoming in the Journal of Real Estate Literature, which is published by ARES. The prize is sponsored by the Homer Hoyt Institute.

Congratulations to Frank Schnidman on His Retirement

Frank Schnidman

Frank Schnidman, the FAU John M. DeGrove Eminent Scholar Chair in Growth Management and Development, is retiring. Frank began his involvement with FAU and Dr. DeGrove in the late 1970s when they organized seminars and conferences, and in the 1980s when they worked together on significant growth management and platted lands research and publications. In 1987 DeGrove recruited Schnidman to move to Florida and work at the Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems, now the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES). He has been involved with the Joint Center and CUES, the Institute of Government, and the School of Urban and Regional Planning for most of the past 30 years.

“At 67, it is time to step back and refocus goals and objectives. I hope to work with my co-authors to prepare a comprehensive updated 4th edition of our two-volume 1,600 plus page treatise, Handling the Land Use Case, first published in 1984. I will continue to do consulting regarding redevelopment, and I will spend more time with family.”

SURP thanks Frank for his years of care and nurturing of our planning students and, hopefully, we can have him periodically return to guest lecture!

Bryan McConnell Brings IT Expertise to SURP


The School of Urban and Regional Planning is pleased to welcome Bryan McConnell, MBA, who has been appointed Faculty Research Associate and Computer Systems Analyst.  He has an MBA in International Business from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and is finishing a second master’s degree in Information Technology and Operations Management.  Mr. McConnell joined FAU from the early childhood education industry where he worked in IT support and database management for hundreds of schools geographically dispersed across the US.  Prior to education, Mr. McConnell worked in the telecommunications industry with a focus on applications development and database creation.  He created and supported applications to enable the company’s primary task of laying fiber optic cables for corporate and residential customers.  Mr. McConnell is working to utilize technology to meet the educational needs of students while preparing for technological changes in Urban and Regional Planning.

SURP Welcomes Dr. Louis Merlin

Merlin photo

The School of Urban and Regional Planning is pleased to welcome Louis A. Merlin, who is a new Assistant Professor starting with the Fall 2016 semester.  Dr. Merlin draws upon a strong background in Mathematics and Operations Research as well as experience as a professional urban planner in his teaching and research. Dr. Merlin is particularly interested in developing mathematical models that shed insight into pressing urban policy questions.

Dr. Merlin’s educational background includes a BA in Mathematics with Honors from Yale, and National Science Foundation funded graduate work towards Master’s Degrees in Operations Research and in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  While at Georgia Tech, he was awarded both the Glatting Jackson Student Award and the American Institute of Certified Planners Outstanding Student Award.  After a haitus working in professional practice, Merlin earned a doctoral degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, with his research work funded by the prestigious Royster Society of Fellows.

Professionally, Dr. Merlin’s first full-time job was working in data-mining for the marketing department of a credit card company.  Later, after earning his Master’s of City and Regional Planning, he worked as an urban planning consultant for EDAW | AECOM, based out of their Atlanta office. His professional engagements focused on comprehensive planning, redevelopment planning, and corridor planning for local and regional governments throughout the southeastern US.  During this time he specialized in data analysis and modeling for EDAW | AECOM, including economic and fiscal impact assessments as well as land use forecasting.

Dr. Merlin’s current research concerns how to better integrate transportation and land use through the development of accessibility-based performance measures and tools, as well as the implications of self-driving cars for the transportation sustainability.

Dr. Merlin is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Bush Family on the Today Show


Several members of the Bush Family have successfully completed their degrees here at FAU, particularly in the College for Design and Social Inquiry. Their story recently appeared on the Today Show highlighting their journey and accomplishments. CDSI is proud that they have chosen the majors in our college and we wish them the best in their future endeavors. Click here to view their today show appearance.

SURP Research Supports Coastal Resilience Web Application

Coastal Resilience Map

Dr. Diana Mitsova, Associate Professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, and four graduate students from the School together studied coastal sites across southern Florida that have been fortified using environmentally friendly alternatives to physical structures.  This research, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, has been incorporated into that organization’s website focused on coastal erosion. For more details and to view Dr. Mitsova’s recent Estuarine Shoreline Suitability for Resilience Projects, click here.

SURP Director Visits King Saud University

Saudi Arabia IMG_2743

Dr. Steven Bourassa, Director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning, visited the Department of Urban Planning at King Saud University in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in early April 2016. King Saud University was the first university in Saudi Arabia, established in 1957. Dr. Bourassa was chair of a site visit team reviewing the Bachelor of Urban Planning and Design program for the Saudi Arabian national accreditation agency.

This picture shows the three-person accreditation team (Dr. Bourassa is standing in the middle with a dark tie) along with faculty, administrators, and students from the Department of Urban Planning and the College of Architecture and Planning.

Photo courtesy of Greg Maffet.

Webinar on NACTO Transit Street Design Guide

NACTO Guide Cover

This webinar, moderated by Dr. John Renne, Director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, features the NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) Transit Street Design Guide. The guide shows how transit design can help streets of every size support strong neighborhoods and downtowns. The webinar is available on YouTube.

New Podcast on Transportation Costs and the Affordability of HUD Housing

John Renne , Ph.D., AICP

In this podcast, Dr. John Renne, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, along with Shima Hamidi of the University of Texas at Arlington and Reid Ewing of the University of Utah, discuss their new article in the journal Housing Policy Debate, titled “How Affordable Is HUD Affordable Housing?” The article focuses on the relationship between transportation costs and affordable housing costs. The podcast is available on the Streetsblog USA web site.