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C. Scott Dempwolf, PhD
Research Assistant Professor & Director
UMD - Morgan State Center for Economic Development

Research

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My research agenda seeks to integrate theory, methods and practice in planning in five substantive areas of study.  These five areas – networks, innovation, economic development, industrial land use, and public health in planning – may not appear to be connected at first glance.  In part they represent the evolution of my interests and experiences in planning.  In part they represent areas where I believe I can make substantive contributions.  In part the differences offer some much needed diversity for an insatiable curiosity. 

Yet beneath the surface there are many connections between these areas of study.  The influence of networks in the planning process and the uses of social network analysis in planning provide theoretical and methodological connections across all five areas.  Innovation and economic development are increasingly connected in both theory and practice under a variety of labels including technology-led economic development and innovation-based economic development.  As innovation and economic development policies and practices focus on collaboration and the role of universities the connection with networks becomes apparent.  Likewise, a focus on manufacturing highlights the connections with industrial land. 

Industrial land has been and continues to be an important and often defining feature of the urban landscape and of functioning regions.  Industrial uses have had, and in many cases continue to have significant impacts on public health and the environment.  The impacts on public health are often mediated by environmental factors – water, wind, solar radiation and so forth.  Because of this, the connection between industrial land uses and public health are often too complex for most planning and zoning practices to address with available tools.  Health impact assessments begin to address this issue; however network analysis may offer important new tools to ensure that planners are able to uphold the first purpose of planning – protecting public health.

Within this broad agenda I am focused on one or two substantive areas at a time out of necessity.  My current research is focused predominantly on modeling innovation networks and regional innovation clusters; measuring their impacts on local and regional economies; and developing new methods and data-driven applications to support economic development practice. 

In conjunction with an economic development studio I am teaching in the fall of 2012 my current research also includes the impacts of industrial land use on Baltimore’s capacity to expand manufacturing and exports, as well as the impacts of local industrial land use decisions on the regional economy.