Oregon Population Forecast Program
As part of Oregon's land use program, Portland State University's Population Research Center (PRC) conducts population forecasts for all cities and counties in the state.
During my time there I developed and managed databases of Oregon's taxlot/parcel data, analyzing the data for information about residential development to support the forecasts. Of particular interest were development type (single vs. multi-family), the year a structure was built, and unit counts per parcel (the latter was often incomplete or missing from data we received!).
If you think the task is as easy as examining a land use field or code, think again! At one point, I came across data claiming a single-family house was sitting in the middle of a strip mall's parking lot - and that was in a county with relatively good data. Standardizing and cleaning the data was always challenging, especially in rural areas and counties with fewer municipal resources.
As part of the program, I also helped with reports and presentations, which we gave in person throughout the state, meeting with local planners and members of the community.
Department of Land Conservation and Development
Population Research Center
Portland State University
Identifying Regional Centers in Washington County, Oregon (2011)
In my Master's thesis, I examined Metro's (the Portland, Oregon area's regional government) Region 2040 long-term plan. Metro has designated locations as regional centers where increased density and development are to occur. I focused on Washington County, Oregon, comprising the western portion of the metro area and home to larger suburbs such as Beaverton and Hillsboro.
To determine whether these areas are developing as intended, I analyzed land value, building volume, road intersection density, and public transportation availability using ArcGIS to locate potential regional centers using those metrics, followed up with subjective criteria used during field visits to identified locations. Ultimately, locations I identified as potential centers lined up well with Metro's Region 2040 plan, with commercial land value usually the strongest indicator of regional centeredness.
Read my thesis here: http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/7099