Civios Podcast

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In-depth discussions of the story behind the public affairs research by academics affiliated with the Humphrey School.

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    Episode 29: COVID-19's Impact on Occupational Licensing
    (2020-01-26) Kleiner, Morris; Welter, Emma;
    The coronavirus pandemic has undeniably upended nearly every aspect of day-to-day life and work. Few may be more aware of its wide-ranging effects than Professor Morris Kleiner, whose decades of expertise on economic and labor policy have allowed him a unique vantage point into the situation. As the pandemic has progressed, Prof. Kleiner's research focus has shifted accordingly to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on the labor market—he's even teaching a new course on the subject, incorporating insight from both economists and epidemiologists. Prof. Kleiner has been paying particular attention to changes in occupational licensing when it comes to health care: for instance, "COVID chaser" nurses, who've been criss-crossing the nation to provide extra support to the hardest-hit areas, have encountered new licensing regulations and provisions that often vary by state. In this follow-up to our 2017 Civios interview with Prof. Kleiner, we caught up with him to learn more about his recent work in this area, as well as his research with the Minnesota Population Center examining the effect of occupational licensing on individuals who are ex-offenders.
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    Episode 28: Community Solar Intermediaries: Bridging the Gap Between Policy and Practice
    (2020-12-10) Harrington, Elise; Welter, Emma
    In the fall of 2020, Elise Harrington joined the Humphrey School as an assistant professor in the science, technology, and environmental policy area. In her new role, Harrington hopes to continue the research she began with MIT's Tata Center for her PhD, which brought her to both India and Kenya to study innovation in small-scale solar technologies. In this podcast episode, she speaks with us in more depth about her work in Kenya, where she's been investigating ways to close gaps between policy and practice in distribution models and consumer education for off-grid solar technologies like lanterns. Harrington is especially interested in the role played by "frontline solar intermediaries": individuals who act as go-betweens on behalf of solar companies. Intermediaries travel to communities to inform people about solar technology, sell products based on a variety of pricing models, and act as a resource for ongoing help with solar. When it comes to building a more resilient electricity infrastructure, Harrington says,"social interactions really matter”—and these intermediaries play an important role.
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    Episode 27: The Immigration Court Observation Project
    (2020-03-30) Chan, Linus; Levesque, Chris; DeWaard, Jack; Foy, Melanie Sommer
    The Human Rights Defender Project is a collaborative initiative from The Advocates for Human Rights, the University of Minnesota Law School James H. Binger Center for New Americans, and Robins Kaplan LLP. As part of the project, members of the public can volunteer to sit in on detained immigrant court hearings—which are always open to the public—and record what they observe and feel about the process, giving them a chance to see what these hearings consist of beyond their depictions in the media. In this podcast, you'll hear from three Minnesota academics affiliated with the project: Linus Chan, associate professor of clinical law and director of the Detainee Rights Clinic at the James Binger Center; Jack DeWaard, UMN associate professor of sociology, graduate faculty at the Minnesota Population Center, and adjunct faculty member at the Humphrey School; and Chris Levesque, a PhD student in sociology at UMN and graduate research assistant at the MPC. They discuss why the project differs from other court observation projects due to its focus on perceived fairness, how they're working with the qualitative and quantitative data being collected, and some takeaways from the data itself—including examples of what observers view as fair or unfair.
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    Episode 26: The CREATE Initiative: Research at the Intersection of Environment and Equity
    (2020-02-17) Keeler, Bonnie; Foy, Melanie Sommer
    Bonnie Keeler, assistant professor in the science, technology, and environmental policy area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, discusses her work with the CREATE Initiative. In founding the initiative, Keeler and University of Minnesota geography professor Kate Derickson sought to combine their research areas in a program that addresses issues at the intersection of environment and equity using interdisciplinary, community-engaged, mission-driven scholarship. Groups of CREATE graduate researchers have partnered with members of the Policy Think Tank—a team of community leaders from Minnesota, Atlanta, and elsewhere—to consider the context of historic racial inequality in cities and understand community members' concerns as cities increasingly invest in policies to address climate change and improve urban sustainability. The CREATE Initiative has also developed an action-oriented policy toolkit to help community members advocate for the benefits of greening initiatives to reach their communities without engendering displacement.
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    Episode 25: Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Utility Fees
    (2020-01-27) Sarmiento, Camila Fonseca; Conners, Kate
    Deep below St. Paul, Minnesota, 450 miles of storm sewers and funnels snake throughout the city. Invisible to everyday life, underground pipeline systems such as these are called gray infrastructure. Camila Fonseca Sarmiento, a research associate at the Humphrey School's Institute for Urban and Regional Infrastructure Finance (IURIF), has been working with the City of St. Paul to identify ways to fund more green infrastructure—a more resilient, sustainable approach to managing stormwater that combines gray infrastructure with natural ecological systems. Governments in the US and abroad have begun to fund stormwater management via a new financial model as an alternative to taxes: stormwater utility fees. Stormwater credits, which reward properties implementing best practices, are also increasing in popularity. With her research, Fonseca Sarmiento aims to help local governments make informed decisions about the tools available to fund stormwater management.
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    Episode 24: Hungry to Get There: Food Access and Transportation in Immigrant Communities
    (2019-12-09) Burga, Fernando; Conners, Kate
    Fernando Burga's recent work seeks to "imagine food as a central aspect of our lives and cities," investigating the intersection of urban planning with immigration, equity, and food systems. Despite the immense disparities faced by immigrant groups and communities of color when it comes to accessing healthy and culturally relevant food, Burga found a relative dearth of qualitative data in how these communities actually experience getting to food access points. Burga, an assistant professor in the urban and regional planning area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, carried out research workshops with Latino immigrants in both rural Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro region, using a focus group, a graphic survey, and participatory mapping exercises to identify patterns of accessibility and actualize the "foodscapes" within participants' daily lives. Burga urges planners to consider a multidimensional approach to food systems and transportation policy work: "Qualitative research can lead planners to consider agency, empathy, and advocacy as mechanisms to reconsider how cities are made."
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    Episode 23: New Directions for Disaster Planning Research
    (2019-04-29) Jacobs, Fayola; Conners, Kate
    “Talking about some of the theoretical underpinnings that have devalued the lives of oppressed communities worldwide is a really important conversation to have,” says Fayola Jacobs, an assistant professor in the urban and regional planning area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Jacobs' recent work explores how disaster planning has engaged—or failed to engage—oppressed communities. Using the lenses of black feminism and radical planning theory, Jacobs breaks down the concept of "social vulnerability" and its implication for environmental planning and policy. “When we pretend that the field is even and we can just ignore race ... then we implement policies that continue to exacerbate inequities,” she says.
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    Episode 22: A Contested Home: Healing Through Art and Storytelling
    (2019-07-16) Manneberg, Avigail; Kuftinec, Sonja; Conners, Kate
    "How can art be used to acknowledge conflicting narratives of ""home""? In this podcast, Avigail Manneberg, a Minneapolis-based artist and adjunct faculty member in the University of Minnesota Department of Art, and Sonja Kuftinec, a professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Theater Arts and Dance, discuss their project ""A Contested Home,"" which uses art and storytelling to engage themes of forced migration and displacement in the Galilee. Their project focuses on a single geographical space called ""home"" by two different groups: the village of Ya'ad/Mi'ar in the Galilee region of northern Israel. The village of Ya’ad was built in the 1970s and settled by Israeli Jews next to the ruins of the village of Mi’ar, whose Palestinian descendants continue to live in the area. Working with local artists and partners, Manneberg and Kuftinec held workshops focused on personal Mi'ari family narratives and testimonials to confront taboo narratives of forced displacement."
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    Episode 21: Sustaining the Benefits of Early Childhood Education
    (2019-02-26) Temple, Judy; Conners, Kate
    "Data show that only half of all children in the United States are ready for school when they enter kindergarten, and that learning gains from early childhood programs are often lost as children get older. A new book co-edited by Judy Temple, professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and co-director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative, explores the features of successful early education programs and the ways to sustain their benefits long-term. The book, ""Sustaining Early Childhood Learning Gains: Program, School, and Family Influences"", highlights education interventions and practices that promote healthy development in the first decade of a child's life and ways that schools, families, communities, and public institutions can lend support. In this podcast, Temple discusses the features of high-quality education programs and the factors that improve long-term gains including program intensity, teacher experience, class size, curriculum, and parent involvement. Ultimately, she says, the goal is to increase access and implement policies that help sustain and scale these efforts to benefit all children."
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    Episode 20: Access to Paid Family and Medical Leave in Rural Minnesota
    (2019-01-27) Fitzpatrick, Debra; Conners, Kate
    "Providing access to paid family and medical leave is especially important in rural areas of Minnesota according to a new research report by Debra Fitzpatrick, co-director of the Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy (CWGPP) at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Current federal law allows eligible employees to take unpaid time off to care for themselves, a sick family member, or new child. But many workers, especially in rural communities, can’t afford to forego their paycheck. In this podcast, Fitzpatrick discusses different policy designs that would ensure access to paid family leave for Minnesota families, employers, and communities. ""I like to think this research is going to help make Minnesota's legislation the very best in the country in terms of ensuring rural access for both employers and for workers,"" she says. Fitzpatrick's research builds on a larger study of paid family and medical leave insurance completed by the CWGPP and partners for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in 2016. "
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    Episode 19: Advancing Roadway Safety in American Indian Reservations
    (2019-01-14) Quick, Kathy; Conners, Kate
    "Nationally, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury for American Indians aged 1 to 44 and their motor vehicle death rate is higher than for any other ethnic or racial group in the United States. To better understand these high fatality rates, Humphrey School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Kathy Quick and University of Minnesota researcher Guillermo Narváez conducted an in-depth study of roadway safety on American Indian reservations. Four case studies were carried out in partnership with tribal governments in Minnesota: the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Researchers collected extensive data from the reservations through fieldwork observations, interviews with key stakeholders, focus groups with expert drivers, and in-person surveys of residents. They also collaborated with the Federal Highway Administration to design and analyze results of the 2016 Tribal Transportation Safety Data Survey, a national online survey with responses from 151 representatives of tribal governments and 45 representatives of state governments. Of the five high-priority concerns the researchers identified, one in particular stood out: the safety of pedestrians on tribal lands. "
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    Episode 18: Abortion Reform Under Latin America's Leftist Governments
    (2018-07-19) Ewig, Christina; Conners, Kate
    Research in the United States and Europe has found that when leftist governments come to power there tends to be a liberalization of policies around reproductive rights. But is this true in other parts of the world? Work by Christina Ewig, professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and faculty director of the Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy, investigates how the rise of leftist governments during Latin America's "pink tide"(1999-2018) influenced abortion policies in the region. Unlike in the US and Europe, Ewig's findings suggest that the success of progressive reform under leftist governments in Latin America also depends on the type of political party in office.
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    Episode 17: Violence and Restraint: Making Strategic Decisions During Civil War
    (2018-05-31) Stanton, Jessica; Conners, Kate
    "Does civil war always lead to violence against civilians? The short answer is no, according to Jessica Stanton, an associate professor in the global policy area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Stanton's research has found that more than 40 percent of the civil wars between 1989 and 2010 did not involve large-scale attacks on civilians. ""We haven't paid enough attention to the fact that not all civil wars involve violence against civilians,"" she says. So why do some governments and rebel groups engage in violence against civilians while others exhibit restraint? ""Both violence and restraint can be strategic,"" Stanton says. Understanding why some groups avoid targeting civilians may help policymakers incentivize groups to exercise restraint. Stanton is the author of Violence and Restraint in Civil War: Civilian Targeting in the Shadow of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2016)."
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    Episode 16: Financing Urban and Rural Infrastructure
    (2018-04-26) Zhao, Jerry; Conners, Kate
    Infrastructure is not often at the forefront of policy discussions until something goes wrong, says Jerry Zhao, associate professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and director of the Institute for Urban and Regional Infrastructure Finance. Zhao's research explores how federal, state, and local entities pull together the resources to fund critical infrastructure investments in areas such as transportation, water, and education. These investments are complex. They typically involve big money, multiple decision makers, and have uncertain long-run benefits. To help address this, Zhao stresses the importance of using infrastructure finance research to inform policy makers of possible problems and solutions before issues arise.
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    Episode 15: Economic Impacts of US Immigration Policies
    (2018-01-30) Allen, Ryan; Conners, Kate
    "Impeding the path of immigrants—throwing up roadblocks that allow immigrants to come to the United States—is going to create some real economic problems in the future," warns Humphrey School of Public Affairs Associate Professor Ryan Allen. In this podcast Allen discusses the potential economic impacts of immigration policies in the United States and Minnesota, focusing on the role of immigrants in the workforce and the resulting net fiscal effects. "We're actually losing more of our native born residents than we're gaining," says Allen. "More people tend to leave the state of Minnesota than move here from other states. And so, we're going to have to rely on international immigrants. If instead of increasing the flow of international immigrants we're reducing it, that's going to have an enormous impact on our labor force, and potentially, a large impact on the kinds of economic growth we expect in the state."
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    Episode 14: Sex Trafficking and Community Wellbeing
    (2018-01-26) Martin, Lauren; Conners, Kate
    In this podcast, Lauren Martin, director of research at the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) and affiliate faculty member of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, addresses sex trafficking and commercial sex, defining their differences and dispelling myths. When it comes to the relationship between sex trafficking and mega sporting events, an issue that drew increased attention as Minnesota prepared to host the big game, Martin notes​ that​ "it's not that there's no impact, it's that the impact is akin to any large event."
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    Episode 13: All-city Carbon Emissions: Understanding City Types and Impact
    (2017-12-21) Ramaswami, Anu; Conners, Kate
    It is common practice to consider the carbon emissions of single cities. But what happens when you analyze carbon emissions for all cities in a country using nationally aligned data? In this podcast, Anu Ramaswami, professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, discusses how all-city analysis can reveal “city types” that help inform carbon policy and action.
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    Episode 12: Circular Economies and Low-Carbon Urban Infrastructure Planning
    (2017-12-21) Ramaswami, Anu; Conners, Kate
    What is the unique role that urban infrastructure planning can play in national carbon mitigation? In this podcast, Anu Ramaswami, professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, discusses how cities are positioned to plan infrastructure systems using circular economy principles that reduce material and energy reuse across sectors to deliver a low-carbon future.
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    Episode 11: Local Health Co-Beenfits of Urban Climate Action
    (2017-12-21) Ramaswami, Anu; Conners, Kate
    Reducing carbon emissions across multiple urban infrastructure sectors can yield significant local air pollution related health co-benefits. But cities will see and experience these co-benefits in different ways and to different degrees. In this podcast, Anu Ramaswami, professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, discusses the emerging science around how to connect global carbon reduction actions to city-specific health outcomes.
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    Episode 10: Examining Racially Concentrated Areas of Affluence in the US
    (2017-12-13) Goetz, Ed; Conners, Kate
    "Contemporary federal housing policy in the United States has largely focused on racially segregated areas with high levels of poverty, known as racially concentrated areas of poverty (RCAPs). In this podcast, Ed Goetz, professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, examines the other side of this dynamic—concentrated areas of white affluence. Goetz, director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, discusses his work to identify and understand racially concentrated areas of affluence (RCAAs). ""When we started our study, we were actually responding to advocates for low income communities who maintained that this single-minded focus on their communities problematized their communities, stigmatized their communities, and ignored the other half of the segregation formula—which is of course the ability and tendency of white people to seclude themselves into neighborhoods,"" says Goetz. ""So we tried to look at the other side of the coin."""