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UNC Center for Community Capital research assistant and doctoral student Kevin A. Park has received a 2013 Impact Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Graduate School.

The school’s Graduate Student Recognition Celebration, begun in 1999, recognizes students who receive prestigious fellowships and awards. Honorees provide leadership that is making a significant contribution to the mission of the university and a wide variety of fields of study.

“Graduate students advance valuable knowledge in their fields of study, they lead community service efforts and they teach undergraduates,” said Graduate School Dean Steven W. Matson. “They make enormous contributions that benefit their university, North Carolina and the world. This annual event truly is a celebration, of graduate student accomplishments as well as the collaborative academic community that supports their success.”

Park is a doctoral student in UNC’s department of city and regional planning. His research interests include the mortgage finance industry and urban spatial structure. His work at the center includes analysis of mortgage servicing data and research related to government intervention in mortgage markets. Before joining the center, Park held research positions at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and at the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council.

The 2013 Impact Award recognized Park’s interactive website, “North Carolina Housing and Mortgage Lending Data,” www.unc.edu/~kapark/NC/home.html, that incorporates foreclosure data from the Administrative Office of the Courts for North Carolina’s 100 counties. Foreclosure records and other housing-related data are often publicly available, but scattered in unwieldy databases. Visitor’s to Park’s website can view the map to get a general sense of a county’s foreclosure activity scroll over specific counties to find out the precise number of foreclosure starts in a given year. The site also incorporates data on new home construction, lending patterns, housing vacancy, unemployment and housing prices.

“Facts are a prerequisite for sound policy efforts to increase the well-being of all North Carolinians,” Park’s advisor, Roberto G. Quercia, who directs the UNC Center for Community Capital. “Unfortunately, too often the information needed does not exist or is fragmented across many sources inaccessible to those who need them. Kevin’s site addresses the latter problem.”

Park also worked with UNC’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies to create a website that examines the economic health of 44 large N.C. municipalities (www.unc.edu/~kapark/CURS/intro.html).

Providing policymakers, researchers and N.C. citizens more streamlined access to housing and mortgage lending data can allow for a more accurate view of communities in distress and their specific economic needs, Park said.

Mortgage finance is a key area of study for the UNC Center for Community Capital, the leading center for research and policy analysis on the transformative power of capital on households and communities in the United States. The center is part of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its in-depth analyses help policymakers, advocates and the private sector find sustainable ways to expand economic opportunity to more people, more effectively. For more information, visit www.ccc.unc.edu or call (919) 843-2140.


Topics(s): Affordable Homeownership, Mortgage Finance
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