Neighborhoods of concentrated poverty often have limited educational, employment, and other opportunities that affect residents’ economic and social mobility. Dr. Lung-Amam’s research has shown how community engagement in mapping neighborhood opportunity, regional planning, and smart city technologies can help to bridge opportunity divides. In recent years, opportunity maps that index indicators of social and economic equity have become popular tools to assess the spatial distribution of metropolitan resources. In a journal article in City and Community and an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, Dr. Lung-Amam and NCSG colleagues showed how groups in the Baltimore region define opportunity across race, income, and geography. Their published research has also examined how opportunity maps were used to engage communities and advance equity plans and policies in six U.S. metropolitan regions, including an in-depth study of Baltimore’s Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) regional planning efforts. Dr. Lung-Amam’s has also helped to advance the practice of opportunity mapping. Three reports she co-authored on opportunity mapping and community engagement appear on Enterprise Community Partners’ Opportunity 360 site, which offers communities mapping tools and other resources to facilitate asset-based community development. Dr. Lung-Amam also worked with NCSG colleagues and Enterprise to develop the Prince George’s County’s Comprehensive Housing Strategy that applies an opportunity-based framework, in which I am currently engaged.
Another critical area of her research has been on “smart cities.” Smart city technologies such as public wifi and smart transit hubs, offer cities tools to more effectively serve residents. Technology investments, however, often leave disadvantaged communities farther behind, rather than close opportunity gaps. She has partnered with other researchers, technology providers, and community organizations to investigate how smart city technologies can improve conditions in low-income communities in Baltimore, Maryland.
Dr. Lung-Amam has contributed to knowledge about equitable cities and regions through work in other U.S. and non-U.S. contexts. Her published work has included articles on strategies to promote neighborhood integration in Washington, DC region, Montgomery County, Maryland’s inclusionary zoning program, and planners’ roles in supporting immigrant communities in times of political precarity.