© 2017-2019 Mahbubur Meenar

PUBLICATIONS
Recent Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (since 2017)
Older Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Meenar, M. (2015). Nonprofit-driven community capacity building efforts in community food systems. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 6(1), 77-94.
Mandarano, L. & Meenar, M. (2015). E-participation: comparing trends in practice and the classroom. Planning Practice and Research, 30(4), 457-475.
Sorrentino, J., Meenar, M., Wargo, D., & Lambert, A. (2014). Housing location in a Philadelphia metro watershed: Can profitable be green? Landscape and Urban Planning, 125, 188–206.
Flamm, B., Sutula, K., & Meenar, M. (2014). Changes in access to public transportation for cycle-transit users in response to service reductions. Transport Policy, 35, 154–161.
Meenar, M. & Hoover, B. (2012). Community food security via urban agriculture: understanding people, place, economy, and accessibility from a food justice perspective. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(1), 143-160.
Mandarano, L., Meenar, M., & Steins, C. (2011). Building social capital in the digital age of civic engagement. Journal of Planning Literature (special issue on Communicative Cities), 25(2), 123-135.
Sorrentino, J., Meenar, M., & Flamm, B. (2008). Suitable housing placement: a GIS-based approach. Environmental Management, 42(5), 803-820.
Meenar, M. (2006). Using geoinformation technology to develop a vulnerability assessment model in natural disaster-prone areas. Daffodil International University Journal of Science and Technology, 1(1), 25-33

Recent Plans and Reports
Meenar, M. & Bucknum, M. (2018). Community Visioning: Glassboro Arts & Entertainment District, report shared with Glassboro community.  
Meenar, M. (2017). Planning for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Using Community-Based Geodesign Process, report submitted to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Meenar, M., Harris, S., & Gladfelter, R. (2017). The Montessori School Stormwater Management and Landscape Master Plan, report submitted to The Montessori School and the Partnership for Delaware Estuary.
Open Educational Resources
Meenar, Mahbubur and Howell, Ted, "Exploring Environmental Issues Using Eco Art" (2019). Open Educational Resources. 17. https://rdw.rowan.edu/oer/17
Meenar, Mahbubur R., "Brownfield Redevelopment: Communities in Transition" (2018). Open Educational Resources. 3. https://rdw.rowan.edu/oer/3
Abstracts - Recent Journal Articles 

 

Meenar, M. (2017). Assessing the spatial connection between urban agriculture and equity. Built Environment (special issue on Planning for Equitable Urban and Regional Food Systems), 43(3), 364–375. (FREE ACCESS)

 

Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between spatial planning and urban agriculture (UA) – primarily community gardens and market farms – through an equity lens. Significant research has been done on the benefits and challenges associated with UA, focusing on community food security, social justice, and community development; however, the spatial distribution of UA projects and the relationship between their form and the fabric of the urban built environment requires additional research. Using data from the City of Philadelphia, this paper explores two questions. First, what is the spatial relationship between UA-projects and food-insecure neighbourhoods? Second, how does UA form and landscape fit within the urban built environment? Answering the first question involved GIS-based spatial analysis and statistical tests to explore the relationship between UA access and areas with high food insecurity. Answering the second question led to the development of a spatial-typology of UA projects based upon GIS analysis and a qualitative visual inspection process, allowing for discussion on how various forms of UA fit within urban landscapes. Results show that siting UA projects may lead to spatial mismatch issues, and most unstable or temporary UA projects are located in high food-insecure neighbourhoods. By exploring the connections between urban food production, land use, spatial planning, and the built environment, the design of more equitable urban spaces may be achieved.

Mandarano, L. & Meenar, M. (2017). Equitable distribution of green stormwater infrastructure: a capacity-based framework for implementation in disadvantaged communitiesLocal Environment, 22(11), 1338-1357.

 

Abstract: This study seeks to understand the factors that influence the variability in distribution of public and private sector investments in green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) projects across the diversity of neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia, PA, USA using indicators of community context and capacity. For this study, context is defined as characteristics of disadvantaged communities and capacity as factors that facilitate individual and collective action. Community context and capacity are deemed integral to the success of the Philadelphia GSI program as the Philadelphia Water Department is relying upon collaborative approaches to facilitate public investments in neighborhoods and voluntary implementation of GSI practices on publically and privately owned lands. Private sector investments in GI mandated by stormwater regulations for new construction and major rehabilitation also are assessed in relation to these two sets of indicators. The GIS and statistical analyses reveals an inequitable distribution of GSI projects, which largely is driven by market forces. The paper concludes with a community capacity-based framework to prioritize public sector investment in disadvantaged communities to achieve more equitable distribution of GSI projects and associated benefits.

Meenar, M. (2017). Using participatory and mixed-methods approaches in GIS to develop a Place-Based Food Insecurity and Vulnerability IndexEnvironment and Planning A, 49(5), 1181–1205.

Abstract: This paper discusses the development of a Place-Based Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Index (PFIVI), which incorporates six indicators and 30 variables. It also presents an application of this Index within the context of Philadelphia, a postindustrial U.S. city. The paper argues that in order to thoroughly measure a multidimensional socioeconomic problem that is tied to the built environment (e.g., food insecurity and vulnerability), the use of participatory and mixed-methods approaches in GIS (e.g., participatory GIS or PGIS) may produce more comprehensive results compared to other commonly used methods. This paper makes an intervention in the food environment literature, which tends to analyze food access in a narrow way, by applying a methodology conceptually grounded in community food security and operationalized through a PGIS project. It also contributes to still-evolving PGIS methodologies by directly engaging stakeholders in a complicated GIS-based analytical process.

Meenar, M., Morales, A., & Bonarek, L. (2017). Regulatory Practices of Organized Urban Agriculture: Connection to Planning and Policy. Journal of American Planning Association, 83(4), 389-403.

Abstract: 

Problem, research strategy, and findings: Municipalities across the United States are gradually recognizing urban agriculture as an integral part of planning, land use, and zoning ordinances. We review the literature on the regulation of urban agriculture at a moment when policy and regulatory vacuums exist and the acceptance and integration of urban agriculture is uneven. We review the current regulatory practices of 40 metropolitan and 40 micropolitan municipalities in the 4 U.S. Census regions. We find that municipalities are filling policy vacuums by adopting enabling ordinances (zoning ordinances, land use designations, resolutions), regulations on urban agriculture production (backyard animals, built structures, practitioner responsibility), and fiscal policy instruments (restrictions on sales of agricultural products, tax abatement, urban agriculture fees). Our findings support local planning practitioners in filling regulatory gaps, practitioners of urban agriculture in seeking how it’s done elsewhere, and researchers in discerning new applied and basic research projects. We identify 3 principal knowledge gaps: Planners need a complete typology of regulatory possibilities; a better understanding of how local, state, and federal legislations constrain or enable urban agriculture; and empirical evidence of the economic, social, and environmental impacts of urban agriculture.

Takeaway for practice: Planners should assess existing urban agricultural practices and consider which regulatory frameworks best support multiple local goals, incorporating a concern with urban agriculture into ongoing activities, deploying existing or innovative land use tools, facilitating institutional cooperation, and promoting inclusive decision making and community engagement.

Meenar, M., Fromuth, R., & Soro, M. (2018). Planning for watershed-wide flood-mitigation and stormwater management using an environmental justice framework. Environmental Practice, 20(2-3), 55-67. 

Abstract: 

This article describes how a sustainable watershed-level planning approach is used to develop a flood-mitigation and stormwater management plan for an 11 km2 watershed in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA. West Ambler is an Environmental Justice (EJ) community located in the downstream portion of the watershed with socioeconomically vulnerable residents facing unequal distribution of environmental risks. This study uses a methodological framework based on the three dimensions of EJ (i.e., Distribution, Procedure/Participation, and Recognition) to address watershed concerns while managing risks within the EJ community. Although the project is scientifically grounded by a GIS-based watershed assessment and hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, all project components are influenced by one or more EJ dimensions, with an emphasis on community engagement and multi-municipal collaboration. Flood-mitigation suggestions are based on the evaluation of hundreds of stormwater management facilities throughout the watershed. This article explains the process of using an EJ framework in watershed-wide planning and management.​

Ahmed, S. & Meenar, M. (2018). Just sustainability in the global south: A case study of the megacity of Dhaka. Journal of Developing Societies, 34(4), 401-424.

Abstract: 

Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, accommodates 18 million people and is one of the largest megacities in the world. A large share of its population is poor and lives in informal settlements which can be called slums. In addition to precarious and unhealthy living conditions, these slum dwellers lack formal land tenure rights and therefore are subject to government-supported evictions. Slum evictions due to various urban development pressures may bring short-term benefits to the urban real estate market but have adverse long-term effects on sustainability and livelihoods of the city’s poor residents. Using the conceptual lens of just sustainability (JS)—which facilitates an investigation of the normative and practical challenges of sustainability and environmental justice—the authors argue that urban development in Dhaka needs to ensure social justice and sustainability. While the geographic focus of this article is Dhaka, this study has direct relevance—in terms of policy and planning implications—for other cities in the Global South.

Christman, Z., Meenar, M., Mandarano, L., & Hearing, K. (2018). Prioritizing suitable locations for green stormwater infrastructure based on social factors in Philadelphia. Land (FREE ACCESS, special issue on Landscape Urbanism and Green Infrastructure), 7(4), 145.

Abstract: 

Municipalities across the United States are prioritizing green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) projects due to their potential to concurrently optimize the social, economic, and environmental benefits of the “triple bottom line”. While placement of these features is often based on biophysical variables regarding the natural and built environments, highly urbanized areas often exhibit either limited data or minimal variability in these characteristics. Using a case study of Philadelphia and building on previous work to prioritize GSI features in disadvantaged communities, this study addresses the dual concerns of the inequitable benefits of distribution and suitable site placement of GSI using a model to evaluate and integrate social variables to support decision making regarding GSI implementation. Results of this study indicate locations both suitable and optimal for the implementation of four types of GSI features: tree trenches, pervious pavement, rain gardens, and green roofs. Considerations of block-level site placement assets and liabilities are discussed, with recommendations for use of this analysis for future GSI programs.

Meenar, M. (2019). Integrating placemaking concepts into green stormwater infrastructure design in the City of Philadelphia. Environmental Practice, 21(1), 4-19.

Abstract: 

Municipalities across the United States are prioritizing green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) projects due to their potential to concurrently optimize the social, economic, and environmental benefits of the “triple bottom line”. While placement of these features is often based on biophysical variables regarding the natural and built environments, highly urbanized areas often exhibit either limited data or minimal variability in these characteristics. Using a case study of Philadelphia and building on previous work to prioritize GSI features in disadvantaged communities, this study addresses the dual concerns of the inequitable benefits of distribution and suitable site placement of GSI using a model to evaluate and integrate social variables to support decision making regarding GSI implementation. Results of this study indicate locations both suitable and optimal for the implementation of four types of GSI features: tree trenches, pervious pavement, rain gardens, and green roofs. Considerations of block-level site placement assets and liabilities are discussed, with recommendations for use of this analysis for future GSI programs.

Meenar, M., Afzalan, N., & Hajrasouliha, A. (2019). Analyzing Lynch's city imageability in the digital age. Journal of Planning Education and Research.

Abstract: 

This paper explores the role of virtual mapping environments in analyzing people’s perception of spaces and their implications in planning. We examine how people interpret Kevin Lynch’s “city imageability” in the digital age by asking two questions: (1) how can we create mental images of city elements by using virtual versus physical environments? (2) What are the strengths and weaknesses of each method? We studied sixty-eight mental maps—created by thirty-four participants—identifying five factors for disagreements on city elements: scale, eye level, details, accuracy/timeliness, and sensory/movement. We conclude by suggesting how practitioners can take a balanced approach for city imageability analysis.

Meenar, M., Howell, J. P., & Hachadorian, J. (2019). Economic, ecological, and equity dimensions of brownfield redevelopment plans for environmental justice communities in the USA. Local Environment, 24(9), 901-915.

Abstract: 

This paper employs qualitative content analysis to assess 28 brownfield redevelopment plans produced as part of a US Environmental Protection Agency programme. The analysis framework followed the economic, ecological, and social equity dimensions of sustainable development. The findings illustrate that, in terms of economic dimensions, most plans discussed financing the overall project, but few mentioned site values or the pivotal cost of remediating brownfield sites or addressed questions related to liability, the transfer of ownership of sites, or the end use of remediated sites. In terms of ecological dimensions, while many plans suggested “green” uses of existing brownfields, few discussed the impacts of the plans on urban ecological issues or offered technical feasibility of remediating the sites. In terms of social equity dimensions, half of the plans described potential local jobs stemming from the proposed redevelopment, but many did not discuss the human impacts of remediating contaminated sites or the costs of doing nothing. Most plans mentioned community engagement methods but not their outcomes, making the degree to which the lessons gleaned from such engagement influenced the plans totally unclear. Despite the programme’s explicit focus on the nexus of environmental justice and local environments, many plans struggled to address the topic in favour of tackling broader economic, environmental, and equity issues. Overall, this paper contributes to the understanding of brownfield redevelopment planning by not only summarising and synthesising the tendencies of existing plans but also suggesting strategies to address areas in which current planning efforts fall short.

Meenar, M., Flamm, B, & Keenan, K. (2019). Mapping the emotional experience of travel to understand cycle-transit user behavior. Sustainability (FREE ACCESS, special issue on Sustainable Mobility: Social, Technological and Environmental Issues), 11(17), 4743. (free download here)

Abstract: 

People experience emotions during travel. Driving, riding a bicycle, taking transit, and walking all involve multiple mental processes, potentially leading to various ranges of emotions such as fear, anger, sorrow, joy, and anticipation. Understanding the link between emotions and transportation environments is critical to planning efforts aiming to bring about a more environmentally sustainable society. In this paper, we identified, geo-coded, analyzed, and visualized emotions experienced by cycle–transit users, or CTUs, who combine bicycling and public transit in a single trip. We addressed two research questions: (1) What types of emotions do CTUs experience, why, and where? (2) How can mapping and understanding these emotions help urban planners comprehend CTU travel behavior and build a more sustainable transportation system? Based on 74 surveys completed by CTUs in Philadelphia, USA, we performed a content analysis of textual data and sketch maps, coded for emotional content, attached emotions with geo-referenced locations using GIS, and finally created four types of emotional maps. Overall, CTUs expressed 50 negative and 31 positive sentiments. Anger was the most frequently identified emotion, followed by disgust, fear, sadness, and joy. Twenty-five transportation planners reviewed the maps; the majority found that the maps could effectively convey an emotional account of a journey, opinions on routes and locations, or emotions attached to them. This paper advances theory and practice in two ways. First, the method privileges a heretofore little examined form of knowledge—the emotional experience of CTUs—and transportation planners confirm the value of this knowledge for practice. Second, it extends the study of emotional geographies to the transportation environment, pointing out venues for additional planning interventions. We conclude that mapping emotions reveals a more comprehensive understanding of travel experience that aids in better transportation planning and happier neighborhoods.