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GSU Takes Charge in Cities: Internal Grants Awarded in Four Key Research Areas

In the spring of 2012, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development announced a new internal grant program designed to provide seed funds  for collaborations that will support Goal 4 of the strategic plan to promote a better understanding of the complex challenges of cities and developing effective solutions.  The goal of this internal grant mechanism is to provide support for interdisciplinary collaborations between GSU and researchers at other universities/organizations in the U.S. or internationally.  With particular emphasis placed on new collaborations and research topics that extend current areas of strength and projects that will have a high probability of successfully competing for new federal funds, the Cities Grants 2012 was awarded to four Principal Investigators/Research Teams during summer of 2012 (FY13).  The awardees are as follows:


PIs:  Ben Miller and Tim Hawthorne

Department:  English, Communications, Geosciences

Project Title: ATLmaps

Award Amount:  $43,700

ATLmaps will be a web-­‐based geospatial platform to house layers of ongoing interdisciplinary projects about Atlanta.  This open, collaborative platform will encourage researchers to share data and analyses on the difficult challenges faced by cities, as well explore the stories and opportunities they offer.  The ATLmaps group is made up of investigators from the University Library, the Center for Instructional Innovation, the New & Emerging Media 2CI, Geosciences, English, Communication, and History.  This is a collaborative effort between researchers at Emory Library’s Digital Scholarship Commons, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Harvard University’s Center for Geographic Analysis.


PIs:  Spencer Banzhaf, Deirdre Oakley and David Sjoquist

Departments:  Economics and Sociology

Project Title: People and Places:  Understanding the Complex Challenges of Cities and Developing Effective Solutions

Award Amount:  $33,000

Seeks to better understand the factors that drive location decisions and the consequences of these decisions on the city or neighborhood.  Interested in how policies might affect the importance of these factors and how the policies might address the undesirable consequences of moves.  Will include interdisciplinary research team with interests in these issues, including economists, sociologists, and urban planners at GSU, Georgia Tech, the Atlanta Fed, and the University of Illinois.


PI:  Mary A. Finn

Department:  Criminal Justice

Project Title: Technology and the Facilitation of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minors: Improving Understanding and Developing Solutions Across Two Cities

Award Amount:  $52,459

Our proposed multi-method research design utilizes a content analysis of postings by johns and advertisements for escort or sexual services and qualitative interviews with johns and pimps in the cities of Atlanta and Chicago.  It aims to understand the shared language between johns and pimps that communicates the desire for, or availability of, sex with minors. It will provide valuable information about how technology has changed pimps’ and johns’ modus of operation in CSEM, a phenomenon not yet specifically studied.


PI: Richard Rothenberg

Department:  Institute of Public Health

Project Title:  Transnational Comparison of Urban Health Indicators and Indices

Award Amount:  $99,979

The need to describe the health of cities has generated a number of complex and interconnected health indicators. Making sense of such information is a formidable task while using such information to ameliorate urban problems is a pressing issue. To date, the collection of health data and the construction of health indices have proceeded along separate tracks.  With colleagues at the University of Manchester, England and at Fudan University, Shanghai, China, we will adopt a just-completed health survey in Europe to urban areas in China, and to test and refine our Urban Health Index using data from both sites. Joint interpretation of indicators and indices will test the concept that such an approach improves our understanding of health disparities.

For additional information regarding the Internal Cities Grants Program, please contact Dr. Monica Swahn, Associate Vice President for Research at