Webinar: What Do We Know About Location Affordability in U.S. Shrinking Cities?

Thursday, November 9, 2017, 10:00am to 11:00am PST
Joanna Ganning, Cleveland State University
PDH: 1 | AICP: 1 (#9135423)


Webinar: What Do We Know About Location Affordability in U.S. Shrinking Cities?



Traditionally the discussion about affordability has focused on housing, but HUD’s Location Affordability Index (LAI), released in 2012, helped to elevate the conversation by expanding the focus to include households’ transportation costs. In the first part of this webinar, Dr. Ganning will provide an overview of the LAI, discuss its technical limitations, and provide recommendations for future research. The second portion of the webinar will present the results of a household survey of housing and transportation costs, conducted in Cleveland, Ohio. The household survey supports and extends the conclusions of the first part of the webinar,  adding information regarding transportation cost estimates, and a perspective on the burden placed on households by unaffordable costs.


  • The LAI appears to overestimate housing cost and cost burden by 10-20%, depending on tenure and urban/rural location. The transportation costs estimated by the LAI cannot be reproduced, and partially depend on data that is either not publicly available or has unacceptably large margins of error. Survey results indicate the LAI over-estimates transportation costs by as much as 100%. 
  • Regardless, households struggle with unaffordable costs in shrinking cities, often giving up necessities or under-paying or not paying bills to pay for transportation and housing.
  • Transit agencies in shrinking cities face a difficult challenge in connecting workers to jobs in a region with a stable or declining population and persistently suburbanizing jobs, pushing the transit service area farther from the core. Some strategies are offered.

Joanna Ganning

Joanna Ganning is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Economic Development in the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. She holds a PhD in Regional Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She previously served as Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah. Dr. Ganning’s research focuses on urban and regional economic development. Her interests in transportation center on the role transportation plays in altering regional population settlement patterns, and in impacting household budgetary decisions.

This 60-minute webinar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development credit for AICP (see our provider summary). We can provide an electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification maintenance.

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