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Oklahoma State University

OSU geographer explores shrinking U.S. cities

Fri, September 09, 2016
Amy Frazier

Oklahoma State University geographer Amy Frazier is offering insights to help better evaluate the shrinkage and decline of cities throughout the country. She is one of four authors of new a book titled “Shrinking Cities: Understanding Shrinkage and Decline in the United States.”

“Our book has a heavy focus on not just explaining what shrinkage is and what it means but how to measure it quantitatively,” Frazier said.

In her third year at OSU, Frazier uses GIS technology, such as remote sensing, to analyze environmental and urban sustainability problems. Her research shows that shrinkage and decline is more of a neighborhood-to-neighborhood problem, not just city-to-city.

“We tend to look at shrinkage and decline as ‘that city has problems’ but as you dig deeper you see how varied it is,” Frazier said.  “A lot of people think it’s an all-or-nothing problem but you can have these pockets of prosperity right next to pockets of decline within the same city.”

Her new book represents a small portion of Frazier’s actual work.  In June, she started a two-year project, funded by a $121,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, to determine if data collected with new technology about a landscape’s structure can be “downscaled” to fit existing data sets. She is also involved in an interdisciplinary project with three other universities to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to improve weather forecasting.

Though a native of Pennsylvania, Frazier has found a home at OSU, where she was recently presented the Junior Faculty Award for Scholarly Excellence by the College of Arts & Sciences.

“I think it’s a really great research culture here,” she said.  “I have had the opportunity to work on a lot of different projects I never would have imagined before I came here.”

Frazier, an assistant professor of geography at OSU, began her research at the University of Buffalo, where she earned a Ph.D.

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