ATLANTA — Georgia State University’s Georgia Policy Labs (GPL) has named urban geographer Rea Zaimi winner of its inaugural Engaged Research Competition.
Zaimi, an assistant professor in the Urban Studies Institute, will receive an award of nearly $35,000 to support a research-practice partnership with westside Atlanta’s Dixie Hills Community Civic Club (DHCCC), a nonprofit, member-run, membership-based neighbors’ association comprised of Dixie Hills residents, businesses and community leaders. Their work together will provide DHCCC with the necessary data and tools to advocate for policy and planning solutions to problems created by the large number of remote-investor-owned properties in Dixie Hills, which are estimated as high as one-third of the community’s total building stock.
Zaimi and the DHCCC will work together to provide a precise assessment of the extent of this type of ownership, its determinants and localized impacts. The assessment will guide DHCCC’s policy advocacy efforts and inform solutions targeted to local housing, tax and code enforcement authorities.
“By revealing the extent of absentee ownership and illuminating its causes and quality-of-life implications, the project’s overall findings will specify, first, the policy interventions that can effectively curb the conditions which foster absentee ownership and, second, the city planning solutions that can address its impacts,” Zaimi wrote in her project description. “More importantly, the project will advance Georgia State’s commitment to producing policy-relevant knowledge that is informed by and directly responds to the needs of our surrounding communities.”
The Engaged Research Competition, funded by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Office of the Provost and Dan E. Sweat Endowment, promotes partnership-based research by Georgia State’s faculty and researchers by removing the structural barriers that can prevent them from conducting partner-driven research. These barriers may include lengthier time to publication, data sharing complications and time needed to build trust with a partner.
Professor Janice Fournillier of the College of Education & Human Development, Jonathan Smith, an associate professor of economics, and Maggie Reeves, senior director of GPL, judged this year’s competition. It is the first of four engaged research competitions that will be administered by GPL, a research unit in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.