45th Annual Meeting of the Urban Affairs Association
Miami, Florida
April 8-11, 2015

Abstract/Proposal Deadline: October 1, 2014
(Late proposals or abstracts are not accepted)

The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) is the international professional organization for urban scholars, researchers, and public service/nonprofit professionals. UAA is dedicated to: creating interdisciplinary spaces for engaging in intellectual and practical discussions about urban life.  Through theoretical, empirical, and action-oriented research, the UAA fosters diverse activities to understand and shape a more just and equitable urban world. This goal is sought through a number of activities including an annual spring conference. This year’s annual conference will consist of several dynamic elements.  Here are some of the key components:

Special Conference Theme: Transnationalism from Above and Below: The Dynamics of Place-making in the Global City

This year’s conference theme focuses on place-making in the “global city,” with particular attention given to the actors, processes, strategies, and contingencies that shape urban settings and urban life. Thus, the conference theme will explore actions and processes from above (e.g. transnational capital and political institutions), as well as below (e.g. the work of civil society organizations, and the everyday actions of ordinary people).  Miami provides an apt setting for this exploration. Long established as a link between the United States and Latin America and a stronghold of Cuban American culture and political power, Miami is a regional destination for immigration, yet remains home to substantial Anglo and African American populations. The city now plays a prominent role as a regional trading hub encompassing international banking, finance, information technology, and other high-end service industries. Moreover, as a coastal city in an era of climate change and increasingly high-profile natural disasters, Miami is poised for change through global environmental processes. Against this backdrop, the conference plenary and individual presentations will examine how cities are adapting to meet global economic and environmental imperatives, who is engaged in leading these changes, and what opportunities and challenges these leaders face in mediating local outcomes.

  • Special Track on Urban Health
    Proposals for papers, posters and pre-organized sessions are welcomed for a special conference track on urban health. As cities become the dominant context for human life, researchers have increased their focus on understanding the role of urban contexts in determining health outcomes. This track provides an opportunity to explore research on a broad array of health indicators and trends in cities, as well as the relationship between urban conditions such as housing, schools, jobs, and environmental factors, and disparities in health.
  • Special Track on Geopolitics in Latin America
  • Workshop on Urban Education Activism
  • Professional Development Workshops for Graduate Students
  • Local Study Tours (e.g., Housing Redevelopment; Environmental Sustainability Projects; Immigration Projects). Details available in January.
  • Special conference scholarships for presentations related to urban communication/media roles in urban contexts/urban design/architecture

We welcome proposals for presentations that address any of the topics listed below in any context across the globe:

UAA Approved Topic Categories

In keeping with the tradition of UAA Annual Meetings, we encourage proposals that focus on an array of research topics including:
•    Arts, Culture in Urban Contexts
•    Disaster Planning/Disaster Management for Urban Areas, Cities and National Security
•    Economic Development, Redevelopment, Tourism, Urban Economics, Urban Finance
•    Education Policy in Urban Contexts, Educational Institutions and Urban Inequalities
•    Environmental Issues, Sustainability
•    Globalization, Multi-national Urban Issues
•    Governance, Intergovernmental Relations, Regionalism, Urban Management
•    Historic Preservation, Space and Place
•    Historical Perspectives on Cities, Urban Areas
•    Housing, Neighborhoods, Community Development
•    Human Services and Urban Populations, Nonprofit/Voluntary Sector in Urban Contexts
•    Immigration, Population and Demographic Trends in Urban Areas
•    Infrastructure, Capital Projects, Networks, Transport, Urban Services
•    Labor, Employment, Wages, Training
•    Land Use, Growth Management, Urban Development, Urban Planning
•    Poverty, Welfare, Income Inequality
•    Professional Development, The Field of Urban Affairs
•    Public Safety in Urban Areas, Criminal Justice, Household Violence
•    Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Diversity
•    Social Capital, Democracy and Civil Society, Social Theory, Religion and the City
•    Urban Communication (Urban Media Roles, Urban Journalism, Social Media/Technology in Urban Life)
•    Urban Design, Urban Architecture
•    Urban Indicators, Data/Methods, Satisfaction/Quality of Life Surveys
•    Urban Politics, Elections, Citizen Participation
•    Urban Theory, Theoretical and Conceptual Issues in Urban Affairs
•    SPECIAL TRACK: Urban Health
•    SPECIAL TRACK: Cities in Contemporary Geopolitics: Latin America and Beyond

Proposal Submission Formats and Policies

A proposal can be submitted through the UAA website for a:
•Research paper presentation–(proposal requires an abstract) OR
•Pre-organized panel–(proposal requires a group of 4-5 paper abstracts with moderator) OR
•Pre-organized colloquy– (proposal requires theme statement & names of 4-5 formal discussants) OR
•Breakfast roundtable–(proposal requires theme statement & names of 1-2 conveners) OR
•Poster–(proposal requires an abstract)
UAA will not accept any proposals (of any kind) after October 1, 2014, 12 midnight Central Daylight Time (CDT) or 5:00am GMT.  The online submission site will close at 12:01 am CDT. Acceptance or rejection notices will be sent by November 17, 2014

Participation Policy —One Session Rule

Individuals are limited to participating (as a presenter, speaker or moderator) in one (1) conference session.  A conference session is defined as: a panel, a colloquy, a poster display, or a breakfast roundtable. There is no limit to the number of papers/posters for which you are a co-author. Policy exception: persons asked to play a service role for UAA can participate in one additional session.

Conference Hotel and Participant Registration Rates

All conference activities (except where noted) will take place at The Intercontinental Hotel located along Miami’s Biscayne Bay. The UAA website will have a direct link for hotel reservations.  WARNING: The conference occurs the week after Easter when many schools will be on holiday which will fill up most hotels. The UAA block of rooms is expected to fill up by January 1. Make your reservation early!  ALL PARTICIPANTS (faculty, students, practitioners) must pay the designated fees for their registration category. Registration rates and payment links will be posted on the UAA website.

Conference Planning

Local Host Committee Members: Chair-Nicole Ruggiano, Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor, Malik Benjamin (Florida International University), and Richard Grant and J. Miguel Kanai (University of Miami)

Program Committee: Chair, Robert Chaskin (University of Chicago), Yasminah Beebeejaun (University College London), Cecilia Giusti (Texas A&M University), Deirdre Oakley (Georgia State University), and Carlos Arturo Flores Villela (National Autonomous University of Mexico)

Visit the UAA website: www.urbanaffairsassociation.org (info on proposal submissions, registration, hotel reservations, etc.), contact us at conf@uaamail.org or 1-414-229-3025.

Clarence Stone (left) receives the Contribution to the Field of Urban Affairs Award from Michael Leo Owens (Emory Univ)

Clarence Stone (George Washington Univ) receives the Contribution to the Field of Urban Affairs Award from Michael Leo Owens (Emory Univ)

Award Recipient

Clarence Stone (George Washington University)

Award Committee Assessment

Clarence Stone’s work is truly foundational. Virtually everyone in urban political science and in urban studies is at least acquainted with his writing on urban regimes.

With regard to teaching, Clarence Stone has been a much loved mentor to several generations of scholars in the field and has been the major professor for many students who entered the field of urban politics beginning in the 1970s, continuing to this day. Thus, the cumulative impact of Clarence Stone’s work will last well into the future for the development of the field of Urban Affairs, particularly in urban politics.

Award Committee

Chair Louise Simmons (University of Connecticut); Carolyn Adams (Temple University); Greg Andranovich (California State University, Los Angeles); Alex Schwartz (The New School); Phil Nyden (Loyola University Chicago)

Read more about the Contribution to the Field of Urban Affairs Award.

(Based on articles from the Volume year of 2013)

2014 Best Journal of Urban Affairs Article Award Winner, Timothy Haney (Mount Royal Univ)

2014 Best Journal of Urban Affairs Article Award Winner, Timothy Haney (Mount Royal Univ)

Award Recipient

Timothy J. Haney (Mount Royal University)

Award Committee Assessment

There were many worthy contenders, but the research question, methodology, writing and execution of “Off to Market: Neighborhood and Individual Employment Barriers for Women in 21st Century American Cities” made it a winner across multiple categories. The implications of the research are important across disciplines, and the question of how the constructs of gender, place, and support networks come together to affect employment opportunities was elegantly examined. The article also offers some fundamental insights into how neighborhoods and individual characteristics interplay in ways that can have serious policy implications, and thus makes the work both timely and relevant.

Award Committee

Chair Bernadette Hanlon (Ohio State University); Jill L. Tao (Incheon National University); William Holt (Birmingham-Southern College); Margaret Cowell (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University); Renia Ehrenfeucht (University New Orleans)

Read more about the award for Best Published Paper in the Journal of Urban Affairs.

2014 UAA Alma H Young Emerging Scholar Award Recipient, Matthew Weber (Univ. of Michigan)

2014 UAA Alma H Young Emerging Scholar Award Recipient, Matthew Weber (Univ. of Michigan)

Award Recipient

Matthew D. Weber (University of Michigan)

Award Committee Assessment

Mr. Weber is a doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. Program in Urban and Regional Planning, and he is completing a dissertation entitled “Informal Property Ownership and Shrinking Cities: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Options” (under Margaret Dewar (chair), Richard Norton, Martin Murray, and Trina Shanks). Mr. Weber holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Michigan, and a Masters of Arts in Public Affairs and Policy Analysis and Juris Doctorate from the University of

Committee members note that Mr. Weber’s dissertation prospectus is sound, outstanding and quite innovative; that Mr. Weber organized scholarly activities around the Detroit School Theory, indicating a future major contribution to scholarship; and that Mr. Weber was the Co-Instructor of the Integrative Field Experience class and the Primary Instructor of the Neighborhood Planning class. His nominator, Dr. Margaret Dewar, notes that “Weber is an exceptionally strong Ph.D. student, the best I have advised or with whom I have interacted in classes from any discipline. He is a very clear, logical thinker. His analysis of literature is excellent. He is an excellent writer. He is articulate in speaking about his ideas so that he excites others about the work he is doing.”

Weber is studying “legacy cities”, those cities that came of age amidst the Fordist mode of production and which today struggle with a diminished tax base, population loss, vacant and abandoned properties, crime, poverty, and low educational attainment. His dissertation makes use of the unique research opportunities legacy cities afford: how their scope and scale of decline brings to light phenomena that may be more difficult to observe in growing cities, in turn building a deeper understanding of urban processes and exposing gaps in urban theory and mismatches between policies presuming growth and places dominated by population loss and weak real estate markets.

Weber argues that the emptied out neighborhoods, concentrated poverty and diminished property values in legacy cities work to break down the legal, economic, social and spatial mechanisms that ordinarily reproduce formal property ownership. The result, absent the right policy responses, is widespread informal ownership. Based on this insight, Weber makes innovative use of theory, integrating literature on informal settlements in the global South with the literature on shrinking cities to draw parallels between similar processes unfolding in very different contexts. This is a fascinating approach to the (longstanding and seemingly intractable) problems legacy cities face. Moreover, Dr. Dewar notes “[…] little careful scholarship exists on exactly what places become after prolonged, extreme population loss and property disinvestment or on what mechanisms make a difference in what such places become […].” She continues to note that Weber is “documenting the extent of informal ownership and its spatial distribution and has so far found, for instance, that in areas of the city with only 10 to 30 percent of the peak number of households, squatters have taken over almost 10 percent of properties. […] If informal property ownership is widespread in heavily disinvested areas of declining cities, this has profound implications for the futures of such cities and for the low-income residents of the most disinvested places.”

As his advisor notes, “Matthew is already building a scholarly community around legacy city research through organizing the Detroit School series. This series asks how studying Detroit and cities like it changes the questions we ask and answers we find in urban scholarship, and brings together participants from departments as varied as history, anthropology, sociology, economics, public policy, urban planning and political science. He is also deeply engaged as an educator, speaking perceptively in his personal statement of the emotional aspects of teaching about legacy cities, arguing they encourage a deeper engagement with the material.” In conclusion, the Committee has no doubt that Alma Young would be proud of this emerging scholar. His work honors the legacy of Alma Young, and promises to chart an exciting path forward in urban affairs.

Award Committee

Chair Katrin B. Anacker (George Mason University); Kenya Covington (California State University, Northridge); Desiree Fields (City University of New York); Donald Rosdil (Towson University); Robert Silverman (University at Buffalo)

Read more about the Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award.


2014 Best Conference Paper Award Winners:
George Galster (Wayne State University) and Erica Raleigh (Data Driven Detroit)

Award Recipients

George Galster (Wayne State University) and Erica Raleigh (Data Driven Detroit).

Award Committee Assessment

“Neighborhood disinvestment, abandonment and crime dynamics” is an excellent contribution to knowledge on urban processes. Galster and Raleigh provide a comprehensive analysis of a unique dataset, which was recently produced for Detroit on neighborhood decline, vacancies, abandonment and crime. Their rigorous and comprehensive analytical framework, based on a solid theoretical foundation, provides a critical perspective on the readily assumed notions about the relationship between abandoned buildings, crime, drugs and liquor licenses and perceived and actual neighborhood safety in Detroit.

Galster and Raleigh’s study seeks to provide a broader base to understand neighborhood effect on crime by addressing social disorganization, place attachment, informal social control and collective action and collective efficacy, among other indicators. The non-linearity of how these different indicators relate, tells a strong empirical story of the different phases of neighborhood decline and crime, and provides insights on the impacts of Detroit’s social and physical infrastructure. While Detroit is an extreme case, the non-linearity of urban decline highlights the importance of their methodological approach to a broad audience, which can enrich the conceptual and analytical approaches of those interested in urban planning, political science, geography, as well as those interested in strengthening and creatively designing quantitative research methodologies. This study encourages urban managers to reconsider how abandoned housing is managed and demolished, and what would be the “right size” for an urban area, particularly in declining cities. The committee therefore agreed that the Best Paper Award should be given to: “Neighborhood disinvestment, abandonment and crime dynamics” at the 44th Urban Affairs Association Annual
Meeting in San Antonio.

Award Committee

Chair Julia Nevarez (Kean University); Yilan Xu (University of Illinois); Frederick Douzet (Universite de Paris 8); Cathy Yang Liu (Georgia State University); Kristen Crossney (West Chester University)

Read more about the Best Conference Paper Award.

The UAA Conference was the subject of a San Antonio op ed piece with specific mentions of presentations by Timothy Weaver and David Imbroscio.

Read the article


Conference Hotel Alert

Conference Hotel Update

As of Monday, January 13, the Westin Hotel room block is 95% filled.  The hotel has informed us that the following room spaces are available as of this morning.  These will likely be gone within the next 24 hours.

  • March 18 – 7
  • March 19 – 15
  • March 20 – 27
  • March 21 – 7
  • March 22 – 3
  • March 23 – 2

Once these rooms are gone, the Westin has no obligation to provide rooms at the negotiated discount rates.

New Hotel Option:
UAA has negotiated for a block of extra rooms at the Contessa Hotel across the street from the Westin.  The negotiated rates are:

  • City View Standard Suite (single bed with sofa-bed)–$179)
  • City View Double Suite (2 double beds and sofa-bed–$179/$204)

Please use the direct link below to make your reservation at the Contessa:

Hotel Contessa Luxury Suites on the Riverwalk
306 West Market Street
San Antonio, Texas 78205
Phone: 210.229-9222 ext.5054   (Do not use this phone number to make reservations – rates quoted may be different! Use the link above to reserve a room.)


UAA is not responsible for providing a discounted room rate to every conference participant. Once the room block at the Contessa is filled, you have no guarantee of a discounted room rate at either property. The month of the conference is a popular spring break period. Hotels in the city will be under high demand. You have been officially warned.


Award Nominations Request

The 2014 UAA-SAGE Marilyn Gittell Activist Scholar Award Presentation and Lecture will be held at the UAA Conference, on Friday, March 21.

Nominations Deadline: January 31, 2014


The UAA-SAGE Marilyn Gittell Activist Scholar Award and Lecture have been established to highlight the importance of field-based urban scholarship and promote the dissemination of work by activist urban scholars. The inspiration for this award and lecture is the career of Dr. Marilyn Gittell, former Director of the Howard Samuels Center and Professor of Political Science at The Graduate School at City University of New York. Over the course of her career, Dr. Gittell became well-known for research that dealt with difficult policy issues, that directly engaged the communities impacted by those issues, and that challenged both scholars and policymakers to consider the outcomes and implications of that research. Thus the award seeks to honor the contributions of a scholar whose research record shows a direct relationship between activism, scholarship and engagement with community(ies).

The UAA-SAGE Marilyn Gittell Activist Scholar Lecture is held at the annual meetings of the Urban Affairs Association.  The award recipient will present a formal lecture about her/his research, its findings and implications for practice and policy. The lecture will include two to three “discussants” who are members of the community(ies) studied.


The award is designed to focus on the research of an individual who is, or has been engaged in field-based research in the host city of the Association conference. This year that city is San Antonio. The research would ideally incorporate direct engagement with local community based organizations and/or local residents around a policy area of high importance.

Award Benefits

UAA provides a special award plaque and the award recipient will receive an honorarium of $1,000. The community discussants will receive honorariums of $250 each. A press release will be prepared announcing the winner and the lecture date and location.


To nominate an individual for this award, send the following information to Margaret Wilder, UAA Executive Director (wilder@uaamail.org) no later than Friday, January 31, 2014.

  • Your name, job title, institution or organization affiliation, and your email address
  • Name of nominee, title or position, institution or organization affiliation, email address (if known);
  • Brief statement of your reasons for nomination (maximum of 100 words)

Selection Process

The award winner/lecturer is selected by a seven person committee chaired by the UAA Executive Director.  The committee consists of two SAGE representatives, two UAA Board members, and two representatives from the Local Host Committee (i.e., The University of Texas at San Antonio) of the annual conference.  Once the award recipient has been identified, the UAA Executive Director contacts the winner and outlines the logistics of the lecture and award presentation.  The recipient will be notified no later than Monday, February 10, 2014.


Registration & Hotel Updates


  • February 1, 2014 — Late Registration Deadline–5pm (Central Standard Time)
    Registration deadline for all presenters on the conference program.
    Warning: Your paper WILL removed from the program if you fail to register by this date.
  • As of  Tuesday, January 7, the UAA Westin hotel room block is 75% filled.  We expect the entire set of discounted rooms to be completely taken by next week. If you want to stay in the Westin, reserve your room now!  The Westin has advised us that additional rooms may be available after our block is filled, BUT only at higher prices!If you encounter problems making your reservation, please send a brief message to Shelly Tillinghast (shellyt@uaamail.org) indicating the dates and type of room you are seeking.

To complete your conference registration and reserve a room at the Westin, visit the UAA conference web site. If your plans have changed and you need to withdraw, please fill out the UAA Withdrawal Form.


San Antonio Tours

Information about San Antonio tours has been posted on the conference site! Tour descriptions and registration instructions are provided on the 2014 Conference Tours page.