How Brad Hoot Works

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Name: Brad Hoot
Location: At the moment? In my campus office.
Current Gig:  Assistant professor, Department of Modern Languages
One word that best describes how you work: Systematically. I try to plan out what I will be doing and approach it mindfully, although I don’t always succeed.
Current mobile device:  Droid Maxx
Current computer: Dell Laptop, not sure what model

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Google Drive, Google Calendar, Zotero

What’s your workspace setup like? Fairly bare. I have a computer and often a few books on my desk, plus a notepad in case I need scratch paper, but that’s about it.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack? Do you automate something that used to be a time sink? Do you relegate email to an hour a day? I often use rubrics for grading, which helps streamline the process while still giving students meaningful feedback. I try to control the amount of time spent on email by limiting email checking to certain times, but I don’t always succeed.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? I don’t really use one. I primarily try to map to-do items directly to spaces in my calendar, so my calendar often becomes my to-do list. When I do make a to-do list, I just use a Word document, which is synced via Google Drive across all my devices.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why? I don’t really have many gadgets beyond those two, and nothing I couldn’t live without.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret? I think I’m better than average at seeing both sides of an issue. It’s easy for me to see how a situation might look from someone else’s perspective. I always say to myself “On the other hand…”

What do you listen to while you work? Usually nothing, but if it’s a task that doesn’t require much concentration, I listen to Spotify.

What do you do to stay inspired? Who are some of your favorite artists? When it comes to work, I mainly stay inspired by attending talks and conferences; if I find the right presentation, it can help remind me why I decided to pursue this field in the first place. I also read about professional development in books and on blogs for professional inspiration.

What sort of work are you up to now? I’m trying to write up the results of an experiment about how word order and intonation affect sentence meaning in the Hungarian of Hungarian/English bilinguals, and I’m collecting and processing data for a similar experiment with Spanish/English bilinguals.

What are you currently reading? For work, at the moment, a bunch of papers about statistics. For pleasure, Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? Maybe both. Definitely an introvert.

What’s your sleep routine like? I keep fairly regular hours. I sleep roughly 11:30 to 7:30, plus or minus half an hour or so.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.  Why? Jessica Bishop-Royse. Because she seems like someone who has given serious thought to how to work.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? I think there are two pieces of advice that had the most direct impact on my career. The first was a friend in college who said I should major in Spanish, even though I wasn’t really considering it all that seriously, because my eyes lit up when I talked about the classes I would get to take if I did. The second was the advisor in graduate school who suggested changing the way I thought about my graduate school experience, shifting from thinking of myself as a student to thinking of myself as a novice professional in training. Though it may seem like a small distinction, that change in perception led to a change in how I approached the last few years of graduate school, which I think was very beneficial, and which has carried over into my career so far as a faculty member.


The How I Work series featured on the re/search blog is shamelessly stolen from Life Hacker’s How I Work series.   The SSRC’s version asks DePaul’s heroes, experts, and individuals of note to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email your suggestion to Jessi Bishop-Royse at jbishopr@depaul.edu

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How Euan Hague Works

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Name: Euan Hague
Location: 990 W. Fullerton, suite 4300
Current Gig:  Professor and Chair, Department of Geography
One word that best describes how you work:  conscientiously
Current mobile device:  It’s a Flip Phone!
Current computer: Whatever the university has given me. A Dell desktop Optiplex 7010 is what it says on the hard drive. Not sure what that even means or if it is any good.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Most definitely http://guardian.co.uk and http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/.  I check for UK soccer news at almost every available opportunity! As I have a flip phone, I don’t have apps…. As for software, ESRI’s ArcGIS is essential to teaching in the Department of Geography.

What’s your workspace setup like? Messy. Very messy. There are piles of papers everywhere that I neither have time, nor inclination, to tidy up. I see post-it notes stuck around with student requests for DPR updates. On the top of the piles there is a copy of South Side Weekly with an article about the demolition of Englewood and its replacement by railyards and a book copy of the edited collection “Notes for a Peoples Atlas” which I helped to put together (www.peoplesatlas.com). There are lots of pens, to do lists, notebooks and, basically, piles of papers.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? A notepad and pen.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret? Getting through all those ‘to do’ lists. My secret – doing the things written on the ‘to do’ list! Also, working out what I can cross off that list in the time I have available. I get almost obsessed with finishing things up so I can cross them off the list or throw that last page away!

What do you listen to while you work? Nothing. Music distracts me when I am writing. I guess I mainly listen to the photocopier copying in the office opposite mine, conversations in the corridor and traffic humming through the window. The corner of Sheffield and Fullerton is never quiet, but I am very good at blocking out sound and staying focused.

What do you do to stay inspired? My family keeps me inspired. Also, learning about the efforts that people have gone through to effect political change. From the Chartists to the Black Panthers, the Suffragettes to community organizations today, the geographies of activism are always inspirational.  

Who are some of your favorite artists? Music-wise, Spiritualized, Spacemen 3, Six By Seven, Jesus and Mary Chain, Teenage Fanclub, Frightened Rabbit, The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, Sloan, Crooked Fingers, the Pixies. I grew up in the post-punk UK of the 1980s, so that means The Clash, Joy Division, and numerous other bands that are seen here in the US as one hit wonders, then had cash to spend in the 1990s Brit Pop era – Radiohead, Pulp, Suede, Blur, Oasis, the Bluetones, Massive Attack, Portishead, Carter USM, Echobelly, and so on. In terms of art, I veer towards modern art I guess. I’m not too keen on 18th Century landscape paintings or Renaissance masterpieces! One of my first assessments of art was to study the Geography of 19th Century Paris through the art of Eduard Manet. I now teach about that in my GEO 172 – Cultural Geography, so I always have liked Manet. To that I’ve added teaching about early-20th Century New York urban planning and development through the Ashcan School and the contrasting representations of the American West in the art of Georgia O’Keeffe and Frederick Remington. Back in Edinburgh, I like the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and especially the work of Eduardo Paolozzi. Here in Chicago, the National Museum of Mexican Art and the MCA are very good.

What sort of work are you up to now? Making sure that students graduate on time by updating DPRs! I am also teaching my class on gentrification in Pilsen (GEO133) and have a range of Chicago-area guests coming to speak to my SUD 502 – Sustainable Urban Development Capstone class, so I am preparing for those classes. Writing wise, I recently published an invited article on the current Confederate movement for Politico.  Additionally, I am working on a manuscript for the journal “Scottish Affairs” about the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. I am also helping to organize the Association of American Geographers conference, which will see 10,000 geography faculty and students in the city in late-April, so I have been writing for that event as well, most recently, “Pilsen – the gentrification frontier” (http://news.aag.org/2015/03/pilsen-the-gentrification-frontier/).

What are you currently reading? I’ve just finishing the Nelson Algren collection “Entrapment.” It’s OK, but not as good as “The Man With the Golden Arm.” I also just finished “The Three Degrees” by Paul Rees about the rise of Black footballers in England in the 1970s. I went to my first football game in 1978 when I was seven years old, Manchester United v. West Brom and the three players profiled in the book all played that day. In retrospect that game became one of the most important in the history of British sport and race relations. Cyrille Regis was always a great player. But really what I read most of the time are children’s books. “Even Monsters Need Haircuts” by Matthew McElligott and “The Gruffalo” are popular this week.

What’s your sleep routine like? I tend to work late and get up early. The former is an attempt to get all the work done that I don’t get done in the office each day; the latter is a necessity as I need to do school drop offs.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Take a year off after high school before college. That was great. I worked, wandered around London and most of Europe, and even made it up to Svalbard, north of the Arctic Circle. I guess a more day to day thing is to treat others as you would like to be treated.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans? I have fans?


The How I Work series featured on the re/search blog is shamelessly stolen from Life Hacker’s How I Work series.  The SSRC’s version asks DePaul’s heroes, experts, and individuals of note to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask?  Email Jessi at jbishopr[at]depaul.edu.

How Robin Burke Works

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Location: Wherever I happen to find myself with a little time. Train cars, waiting rooms, etc. I have three offices, if you count the one at home, but I never seem to have very much uninterrupted work time in any of them. I’m writing this in a cramped Red Line car. Very narrow seats in the new models: #fail.

Current Gig:  Professor of Computer Science, CDM Digital Humanities Liaison, Co-Director of the Web Intelligence Lab at CDM, Member of the Cross-College Collaboration Task Force.

One word that best describes how you work: Collaborative. All of my research work these days is done working with others – mostly, my colleague Bamshad Mobasher and the students in our research group. I can work reasonably well on my own, but it is easy for other priorities to interfere with research time. A live discussion brings everyone together thinking about the same problems and questions.

Current mobile device: Two-year old Nexus 5. Despite being a computer scientist, I am not an early adopter or gadget geek. I waited a long time to get a smartphone, and I would be still using my old Google G2 phone if the screen hadn’t died from taking a dive in my dog’s water dish.

Current computer: Home-built Windows 7 desktop at home, kind of wimpy actually (AMD Phenom 8450 3-core 2.1 GHz CPU, 4 GB, 1 TB disk, ASRock mobo, no fancy graphics card because who has time to play games, really), MacAir laptop, generic Dell at work (the dual monitor setup is nice, though), for research, my own Linux (Ubuntu) server for heavier computing and web site serving. Probably the MacAir gets the most keyboard time but I do a lot of work on my work computer via remote desktop.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

  • Outlook calendar. I am hopeless about remembering dates and times.
  • For other kinds of note keeping. I frequently lose paper notebooks, but not my phone.
  • Great for someone like me who loses things with regularity. If your phone is missing, the web site will tell you where it is and even make it scream so you can find it in a snowbank – true story. Best of all, when you start up the app it says “Everything is OK”. Sometimes we need all the reassurance we can get.
  • Password Safe Pro. I like a good secure password, but remembering them is another story. With this app, my memory isn’t a limitation and I don’t have to use the same password for everything. (You know that’s a bad idea, right?)
  • The ultimate text editing tool. Its control key combinations are wired into my spinal cord from 14 hour days of programming in graduate school.
  • A programming language and environment for statistical processing. Think of the Hanging Garden of Statistics, where thousands of data heads have labored for decades, cultivating their favorite algorithms. It also has some of the most inscrutable syntax known to man – you can tell it just evolved, rather than being designed by somebody.
  • iPython Notebook. Program code embedded in a web page, with documentation and execution results all in one place. This is a great environment for teaching computing and data science.
  • Remote Desktop. Lets me have my work desktop as my main machine wherever I am, saving the trouble of copying files around.

What’s your workspace setup like?  Both at home and at work – messy. I have to conduct a complete excavation about once a quarter to sort things out. Perhaps to compensate, my computer files and folders are fairly rigorously organized. I can find files going back many years from my previous institutions pretty easily.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack? Do you automate something that used to be a time sink? Being a programmer means that you think about automating things all the time. For example, I have an entire system of Perl scripts devoted to grading my C++ game programming courses. I have scripts for checking to see who has submitted the assignment, downloading each code base, compiling it and running it, filling in answers in a grading sheet. When I’m done with one, it marches on to the next student, forcing me to keep going until all the assignments are graded.

Do you relegate email to an hour a day? LOL.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? I use Evernote and that’s good for the long-term, but sometimes I find that it is too easy to ignore what’s there, so when I have a lot to do in a short time, I go back to paper and pen. There’s something satisfying about the physical act of crossing things off when they’re done.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?  The little swiss army knife that I have on my keychain. I doubt if a day goes by when I don’t use one of its tools. I have lost 3 or 4 of these to airport security checkpoints over the years, because I keep forgetting that I have them with my keys.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?  Not really an everyday thing, but I think I am pretty good at editing our scientific papers. Graduate students often have a hard time finding the right level of detail and the right mix of theory and example to match the venue and audience. They also tend to be verbose about things that can be brief and terse about things that need explanation. Two secrets: my father owned the local small-town newspaper and I got a lot of practice editing there — in the days when cut-and-paste was not a metaphor. I am the go-to man for cutting when a paper is too long. My other secret: reading out loud. Everything I write I read to myself at least once out loud all the way through in a single sitting. (I even did this for my dissertation, multiple times. Yes, this article, too.) Your eyes can deceive you into thinking your prose is readable, but your ears – not so much.

What do you listen to while you work?  Usually I listen to jazz: from Louis Armstrong to Robert Glasper and most everything in between. I have a number of favorite Songza playlists or when I’m home, my iTunes collection. I have soft spots for Sun Ra, Miles Davis’s fusion albums, Thelonius Monk, Teddy Wilson and Sonny Rollins, all for different reasons. For massive grading sessions, nothing beats the Lord of Rings movie soundtracks and / or Mahler’s symphonies.

What do you do to stay inspired? Who are some of your favorite artists?  Collaboration is essential to staying inspired. People from different disciplines ask different questions and look for different kinds of answers. I think shifting gears is also important. I have been studying jazz piano for about 5 years now, and playing and practicing are good for recharging. Other favorite breaks are spending time outdoors (preferably with the family and/or the dog) and cooking.

My favorite artists are those that create their own worlds, and manage to make them totally compelling, where each work is like a glimpse into an alternate universe. Thelonius Monk, Salvador Dali, Jorge Luis Borges, Thomas Pynchon and Chris Ware are all examples.

What sort of work are you up to now?  My overall research area is recommender systems and my biggest project right now is studying how to use the data found in online social networks to enhance recommendation. I just started on three years of NSF funding for this work, supporting two PhD students and an undergraduate at the moment. I am also working on recommendation for out-of-school time activities for middle and high school students in collaboration with Nichole Pinkard and the Chicago City of Learning project. I am also working with John Shanahan on a project in association with the Chicago Public Library to do data mining on data associated with the One Book, One Chicago initiative. I also have various course ideas in the works: in robotics, in computational advertising, and in social network analysis.

What are you currently reading?  I am usually reading several books at the same time and generally make only slow progress on them because of time constraints. Right now I’m in the middle of Phantasmal Media by D. Fox Harrell. It’s an interesting way of thinking about computer systems, especially interactive ones. Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, by Chuck Klosterman. Don’t read this on the quiet car on the Metra, because people give you dirty looks when you burst out laughing. I’m also reading A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski. It’s not the kind of thing I usually read (a business strategy book) but he has some good examples I plan to steal and use in my courses.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? Maybe both?  Introvert. Do you really need to ask this?

What’s your sleep routine like?  My circadian rhythm is very resistant to change, so I wake up at the same time every morning (around 6:30 – 7 am), whether I want to or not. That kind of determines when I need to go to bed: 10:30 – 11:00, but depending on what needs doing, it is sometimes later. If I’ve had a late night, I’ll sometimes take a nap at the office.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.  Why?  Bamshad Mobasher. Because he seems to have twice as many balls in the air as I do, and I don’t know how he gets everything done.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?  My father was fond of saying “Beware of what you want, you might get it.” It seemed very paradoxical when I was a kid: of course, obtaining the things we want is the goal, right? But, as an adult, I know that often the things we want (or think we want) come with unexpected costs, particularly opportunity costs. This advice is a reminder to focus oneself on those goals that are worth having and whose consequences you can live with. In a world that bombards us with things that we are supposed to want, this injunction is a useful counterweight.


The How I Work series featured on the re/search blog is shamelessly stolen from Life Hacker’s How I Work series.   The SSRC’s version asks DePaul’s heroes, experts, and individuals of note to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Jessi Bishop-Royse at jbishopr [at] depaul.edu

How Robyn Brown Works

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Location: Right now, I’m in my office on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus.
Current Gig: Assistant professor of sociology and director of our graduate program.
One word that best describes how you work: Intentionally.
Current mobile device: iPhone 5
Current computer: I have two –  a Dell Inspiron desktop computer and a Dell Inspiron laptop. Not very sexy, I know, but they’re the best for data crunchers like me.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Technology has kind of surpassed me and I’m not a big app person. I do love the Dark Sky weather app. I don’t know that I need weather forecasts down to the minute, which is what it provides, but I like that it’s more specific to your current location. I also think it’s more accurate than most weather sites and it’s so much nicer to look at. The weather maps they provide are beautiful. In terms of software, I use the statistical programs MPlus and Stata 13 all the time and can’t imagine life without them.

What’s your work space setup like? Here at the office, I have a classic u-shaped desk with loads of bookshelves and as many plants as I can keep alive, which is an ever-reducing number. I’ve really personalized the space, too, with family photos and paintings by my grandma and great-aunt. It’s very comfy. My computer screen is decorated with notes I make to myself which are kind of like “to-don’t” lists. Rather than reminding myself of all the things I think I should be doing, I like to remind myself to breathe, to slow down and think, or that new projects are just works in progress and don’t have to be perfect. It may sound kind of new agey, and it probably is. But, I think a lot of newer faculty like me get to thinking they have to be busy, busy, busy all the time, and that is very anxiety-producing. I try to stay away from that mindset and I think it makes me more efficient, actually.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack? I’ll offer one work-related hack and one work-life balance hack that work for me. The work hack is to do an unsubscribe purge every few months. It only takes a minute or two and I think it saves me so much time from sorting through junk e-mail every morning. It’s also just aesthetically nice to not be inundated with spam every morning. To do this, search for ‘unsubscribe’ in your e-mail inbox. This pulls up all of the e-mail that you probably want to unsubscribe from, and you can quickly go down the list and click to unsubscribe in each e-mail. The work-life-balance hack I suggest is to prioritize personal relationships the same way you prioritize work relationships, even if this means you sometimes have to schedule time with close family members. Time is a feminist issue because the work/life balance is a feminist issue, and I think we have to move away from feeling guilty that we’re unavailable for a work function when we’ve already prioritized that time to spend with a partner, child or friend.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? I still find that nothing beats a hardcover date book. I get a new Moleskine date book every year and think I will forever.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?  My Kindle! I’ve only had it a month but I already know this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I commute by train from Evanston and it makes it so easy to read, work, whatever. Truthfully, I’ve only entirely used it to read, but I read all the time and love its versatility. I’ve also installed Evernote and have big plans to use it to take notes on journal articles and student work. We shall see about that.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? Secretly judging people. This is probably true, but perhaps a better answer is that I am the queen bee of sniffing out grammatical mistakes and typos in others’ work. Earlier in my career, I worked in magazine publishing and an appreciation of precision in the written word is something I’ve carried with me. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not sure those two answers are mutually exclusive.

What do you listen to while you work? The sweet sound of silence. We hosted the sociologist Eric Klinenberg in the fall and one of the things he talked about is how, for members of the Gen X age cohort, the norm was to have your own bedroom and personal space as a child; he suggests this has had numerous consequences for us in adulthood, such as having trouble sharing living space, savoring quiet and, more generally, expecting quiet or noise as you prefer it. I really related to this, because I like to have conditions just as I prefer them (quiet) when I work, when I sleep, etc.

What do you do to stay inspired? Coffee talk. Whenever I’m feeling rudderless, I load up my calendar with coffee dates with friends, colleagues and students.

What sort of work are you up to now? I’m fascinated by how stigmas associated with various social statuses shape our psychological experience, and how the stigmas associated with certain statuses are similar to or different from those associated with other statuses. This has been a major focus of my work for the past 7-8 years and I don’t see that changing soon. For the past five years, I’ve also been working closely with two incredible senior scholars at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Judy Richman and Kathy Rospenda, to explore the psychological and behavioral consequences of the recent recession. What I’d like to do next is bring these two threads together and consider how macro-level economic conditions affect us in ways that are fundamentally different because of the psychological advantages and disadvantages associated with the various statuses we occupy.

What are you currently reading? I’m nearly finished with Americanah by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s so wonderful and worth all of the accolades it’s received. I love reading fiction and try to theoretically group the fiction I read. So, this month I first read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which follows an American family who decide to move to Africa, and partnered that with Americanah, which details the experiences of a Nigerian woman who moves to the U.S.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? I think of myself as an introvert who can play the part of an extrovert pretty well. I savor time to myself, though, which I imagine you’ll find to be pretty typical among academic types like me.

What’s your sleep routine like? Right now, I like to sleep as much as I can, when I can. I have a toddler, so sleep is never a guarantee.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see Doug Bruno or Oliver Purnell answer these same questions.  Why? There’s such a silo effect in academia as it is and even more of a divide between the academic and non-academic sides of university life. I realize I have actually no idea how those on the entirely non-academic side spend their days.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Avoid cliches entirely. This is a writing tip I received from an old editor years ago and it’s solid advice for a young writer. You can also take the meaning on a deeper level if you feel like being deep.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans? You can immediately file this under unsolicited advice: Allow yourself at least one vice. Maybe this is a piece of advice I wish I had received. My vices have changed over the years, but I always have at least one and I think I’m happier (if not healthier) for it.


The How I Work series featured on the re/search blog is shamelessly stolen from Life Hacker’s How I Work series.   The SSRC’s version asks DePaul’s heroes, experts, and individuals of note to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? 

GSC Fellow Joseph Cunanan on Bike Culture and Gentrification in Chicago

Having been a resident of Humboldt Park for 9 months now, I occasionally commute to work and class by bike and despite the 35-40 minute ride to downtown and getting used to the hustle and bustle of biking the streets (I am a transplant from a suburban city where biking to commute is seen as a last desperate option), I absolutely adore riding through my neighborhood. I find it thrilling to riding through the business district on Division Street under the giant Puerto Rican flag arches that border of that area and thanks to the widely marked bike lane, it feels safe to me. It always hasn’t been this bike friendly here, in fact, these bike lanes were newly built two years ago.

The Girls Bike Club (a bike club within West Town Bikes) in Humboldt Park is changing the perceptions of biking in their communities. Bike co-ops and collectives like West Town Bikes, a non-profit, are helping to grow the rate and diversity of people who ride bikes.

Even with the growth of these lanes, there have been perceptions, or I should say, misperceptions about bike use in the South and West sides. Why is it spawning so much controversy? To discover why, we need to recognize that there are cultural dynamics about cycling that is different in these neighborhoods, biking is often perceived over there as something poor people do when they don’t have access to a car.  Jamal Julien, one of the co-founder of the Slow Roll Chicago bike movement, also points out that in these neighborhoods, biking is often “perceived as an activity for children or something affluent Northsiders do”.

Even though African-Americans are the fastest growing demographic of bicyclists, a rate that doubled in size from 2001 to 2009 according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, despite those statistics, there has been a lack of education about biking and equitable bike infrastructure in these neighborhoods because the people in those neighborhood simply don’t want it. Bill Lindeke, a bike advocate blogger from the Twin Cities, calls it the “gentrification paradox”, when citizens oppose improving infrastructure such as bike lanes, out of fear that they will be priced out of the neighborhood. Debates about gentrification often focus on the surface while not addressing more concealed issues of economic inequality, which is the hidden root of the controversy.

In the midst of the growing bike culture in the city, community engagement is essential when planning new bike-friendly infrastructure in these neighborhoods. During the 2013 Summit on Bike Lanes & Equity at Austin, TX, transportation leaders and participants from six cities identified six common themes to create better bike lanes in low-income and minority communities. Most of these themes revolved around considering the wants and needs of the existing community and addressing the inequitable issues associated with biking.  Despite, the growing bike users among minorities, the interest and demand seems to be stifled by a lack of equitable distribution of bike infrastructure and culturally sensitive outreach.

The Girls Bike Club (a bike club within West Town Bikes) in Humboldt Park is changing the perceptions of biking in their communities. Bike co-ops and collectives like West Town Bikes, a non-profit, are helping to grow the rate and diversity of people who ride bikes.

Where do researchers and planners fall into this? They can start by breaking down the barriers of these misperceptions and research on groups that have historically unrepresented in bike infrastructure planning and seek for more innovations in the decision-making processes that will lead to more equitable neighborhoods.


JosephCunanan_bJoseph Cunanan has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Florida. He is currently a 2nd year graduate student from the School of Public Service, pursuing an M.S. in Public Service Management with a concentration in Metropolitan Planning and Urban Affairs. His most recent study abroad trip was to Curitiba, Brazil on behalf of DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute to evaluate the city’s civic policies and innovative transit system that has made it a highly livable urban area into the 21st century. He is currently an intern for the Congress for the New Urbanism, a non-profit that works with multi-disciplinary professionals to promote walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl. His current research interests are urban greenways and their effects on community and economic development.