Kurt Paulsen

Photograph of Kurt Paulsen standing in front of book shelves

Kurt Paulsen

Associate Professor
Urban and Regional Planning
Economics, Political Science and Urban Studies, Northwestern University; Master Degrees in Agricultural and Applied Economics and Development Policy and Public Administration, University of Wisconsin; PhD Urban Planning and Policy Development, Rutgers
Campus Affiliations
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
Research Interests
regional planning
real estate
social justice
smart growth
public policy
property rights
water resources
urban sprawl
urban planning
economic development
farmland protection
community development
comprehensive planning
land use
local government
intergovernmental relations
affordable housing
213 Music Hall

"My research and teaching focuses on urban land use change, comprehensive planning and housing. The majority of my research in land use seeks to understand the causes and consequences of land use change and to evaluate planning, governance, and institutional processes to manage and shape spatial patterns. More recently, I have focused research on understanding housing as a land use issue, asking questions of exclusion and affordability." 

Kurt Paulsen joined the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in 2006. He previously taught in the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Temple University. Professor Paulsen is an affiliate faculty with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. His research interests are in land use planning, land use change, housing, public finance, and intergovernmental relations.  His research has been published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Landscape and Urban Planning, Urban Studies, Journal of Planning Literature, Land Economics, Housing Policy Debate, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Urban Affairs Review, and Journal of the American Water Resources Association. His research has been funded by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, EPA, USDA, NASA, and 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania. He has served as a researcher/consultant for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), Dane County, and the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC).

Professor Paulsen completed his PhD in Urban Planning and Policy Development at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He holds masters degrees in Agricultural and Applied Economics and Development Policy and Public Administration, both from the University of Wisconsin. His undergraduate degree is from Northwestern University in Economics, Political Science and Urban Studies. He has also studied at Moscow State Linguistic University.

While in Pennsylvania, Professor Paulsen served as a member and treasurer of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, a regional planning commission, and on a township zoning board. He currently serves as a member of the City of Middleton's Workforce Housing Task Force. Professor Paulsen is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). 

Bats/Throws: right/right.

Academic Publications

Paulsen, K. (2017). “The Goldilocks Dilemma of Moderate Income Housing Subsidies: Finding the “Just Right” Amount for the Missing Middle.”  Forthcoming in Citiscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research

Jin, J. and Paulsen, K. (2017). “Does Accessibility Matter? Understanding the Effect of Job Accessibility on Labor Market Outcomes.” Forthcoming in Urban Studies

Paulsen, K. (2015). "Great Neighborhoods" for Whom? Comment on Talen et al., "What is a 'Great Neighborhood'?" Journal of the American Planning Association, forthcoming. DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2015.1077088.  View Publication.

Schneider, A., Chang, C., and Paulsen, K. (2015).  The Changing Spatial Form of Cities in Western China.  Landscape and Urban Planning135: 40-61. View Publication.

Paulsen, K. (2014).  Geography, Policy, or Market?  New Evidence on the Measurement and Causes of Sprawl (and Infill) in U.S. Metropolitan Regions. Urban Studies51(12), 2629-2645. View Publication. Data Appendix. 

Paulsen, K. (2014).  The Effects of Land Development on Municipal Finance.  Journal of Planning Literature29(1), 20-40. View Publication.

Paulsen, K. 2013. The Effects of Growth Management on the Spatial Extent of Urban Development, Revisited.  Land Economics, 89(2):193-210. View publication. 

Paulsen, K. (2012). The Evolution of Suburban Relative Housing-Unit Diversity.  Housing Policy Debate 22(3): 407-433. View publication

Paulsen, K. (2012). Yet Even More Evidence on the Spatial Size of Cities: Urban Spatial Expansion in the US, 1980-2000. Regional Science and Urban Economics. 42(4):561-568. View publication

Dyckman, C. and Paulsen, K (2012). Not in My Watershed! Will Increased Federal Supervision Really Bring Better Coordination Between Land Use and Water Planning? Journal of Planning Education and Research. 32:91-106.  View publication

Mandarano, L. and Paulsen, K. (2011). Governance Capacity in Collaborative Watershed Partnerships: Evidence from the Philadelphia Region. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 54:10, 1293-1313. View publication

Schmidt, S. and Paulsen, K. (2009). Is Open-Space Preservation a Form of Exclusionary Zoning? The Evolution of Municipal Open-Space Policies in New Jersey. Urban Affairs Review, 45:1, pp.92-118.  View publication

Jacobs, H.M. and Paulsen, K. (2009). Property Rights: The Neglected Theme of 20th-Century American Planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 75:2, pp. 134-143. View publication

Mandarano, L., Featherstone, J. and Paulsen, K. (2008). Institutions for Interstate Water Resources Management. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 44:1, pp. 136-147.  View publication

Paulsen, K., Featherstone, J. and Greene, S. (2007). Conservation Induced Wastewater Flow Reductions Improve Nitrogen Removal Efficiency: Evidence from New York City. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 43:6, pp. 1570-1582.  View publication

Paulsen, K. (2006). Sprawl, Residential Density, and Exclusionary Zoning. Probate and Property (ABA Real Property Section), 20:3 (May/June 2006), pp. 22-27.  

Krueckeberg, D. and Paulsen, K. (2002). Evaluating the Experience of Brazilian, South African and Indian Urban Tenure Programmes. Chapter 16 in Holding Their Ground: Secure Land Tenure for the Urban Poor, Durand-Lasserve, A. and Royston, L. eds. London: Earthscan Publication Ltd. pp. 233-244.  

Research for Public Agencies

Paulsen, K. 2015. Housing Needs Assessment: Dane County and Municipalities.  For Dane County Planning and Development Department and Dane County Department of Human Services.  Available here. Public Presentation here.

Paulsen, K. 2012.  Evaluation of CARPC’s Policies on Housing Prices in Dane County. [Commissioned and approved by Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, Madison, WI.]  Link 

Paulsen, K. 2011. Evaluation of CARPC’s Land Demand Forecasting Methodology to Determine Urban Service Area Boundaries.  [Commissioned and approved by Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, Madison, WI.]  

Paulsen, K. and Wilson, E. 2008. Plan Regionally, Implement Locally: An Evaluation of Multi-Municipal Planning and Implementation in Pennsylvania.  [Commissioned, approved and distributed by 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania.  Funded in part and submitted to Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.] Link

463 Evolution of American Planning  
The nature and cultural significance of contemporary methods for the systematic formulation of public policies for community, metropolitan, and state development through comprehensive planning. Historic roots, recent trends, and new directions in American planning concepts, institutions, planning effectiveness, professional specialization, including emerging environmental issues.

751 Introduction to Financial Planning 
An introduction to the theory and practice of state and local financial planning with emphasis on the functional importance of expenditures; special problems in financing city and metropolitan governments; intergovernmental fiscal relations and the use of various budgetary techniques as integral parts of the planning process.

781 Planning Thought and Practice 
An intensive examination of contemporary urban and regional planning thought, including major conceptual dilemmas in professional practice.  

844 Housing and Public Policy 
An overview of the major federal, state, and local policies affecting housing, including discussions of public, private, and non-profit housing delivery sectors. Includes discussions of residential land development trends, affordable housing production, housing demographics, mortgage markets, housing finance, and fair housing. Course also includes content on housing planning and housing elements in local government comprehensive plans, housing needs assessments, integration of housing and transportation accessibility, and a discussion of exclusionary zoning and restrictive land use controls. Course will include field trips to affordable housing developments and guest speakers from housing agencies.

969 Comprehensive Planning
A comprehensive overview of  the process, methods and techniques involved in preparation of local government plans for the physical and social development of cities and regions. Emphasis is on the tools, techniques, and methods involved in preparing land use plans, including land suitability analysis and public participation.  Includes discussion of economic development, transportation, infrastructure and housing plans, plan implementation, and intergovernmental coordination, as well as plans for protection of open-space, environmental, agricultural and historic resources.

912 Planning Workshop   
Study of selected problems in planning to emphasize the interdisciplinary character of planning practice and to give opportunity to apply socioeconomic analysis, physical planning, and implementation techniques.