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Phil Ashton Ph.D.

Phil Ashton Ph.D.,
Associate Professor

* ON SABBATICAL LEAVE, 2013-2014 *

Phil Ashton joined the Urban Planning and Policy Program at UIC in August 2005. Initially trained as a political scientist and an urban planner, he worked as a technical assistance provider for existing and startup consumer cooperatives in Canada and the United States. For six years, he was a research associate at the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University, investigating neighborhood change in Newark, NJ and large scale urban redevelopment in Camden, NJ. He has also been a research consultant for the Fannie Mae Foundation.

Currently, Phil’s research focuses on three inter-related areas. His primary scholarly focus is the restructuring of US retail finance and its relationship to US central cities. His approach combines the methods of economic geography and industrial organization with theoretical frameworks emphasizing power relations between debtors and creditors. He has used this to produce a series of analyses of the subprime mortgage market that critique conventional interpretations of how minority borrowers and neighborhoods will fare in the “new financial marketplace.” His dissertation, which focused on subprime lenders and large financial conglomerates in inner city Chicago, was honored as the 2006 Best Dissertation by the Association for Collegiate Schools in Planning. He has published work in this area in leading journals, including the Urban Affairs Review and Environment & Planning A (see below). With his UIC colleagues Rachel Weber and Marc Doussard, he has recently turned his attention to the role of investment banks and infrastructure funds in producing the growing market for urban infrastructure assets, including long-term leases for Chicago’s Skyway and parking meters.

A second line of research examines the neighborhood effects of broad changes in financial markets and urban policy, attempting to distinguish the different paths to neighborhood change that have accompanied the marketization of urban redevelopment. With his colleague Kathe Newman at Rutgers, he conducted a detailed study of real estate development in the West Side Park neighborhood in Newark, NJ. He was part of a team conducting a study of neighborhood changes produced by concentrated subprime lending in Chicago, and has recently turned to analyzing neighborhood recovery from concentrated foreclosures.

Third, Phil is interested in the modes of credit market regulation capable of shaping a progressive path within financial sector reform. He has written on the Community Reinvestment Act and on the tensions in various civil rights frameworks as they have been applied to questions of credit access. More recently, he has engaged in a series of analyses of ad hoc financial regulation, including emergency banking interventions and legal settlements with large subprime lenders over lending abuses. The latter topic will be his focus while a Visiting Scholar at the American Bar Foundation in 2013-2014.

Phil has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Winnipeg, a Masters in Urban Planning from McGill University, and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University.


    UPP 494 Senior Capstone in Urban & Public Affairs
    UPP 501 Urban Space, Place and Institutions
    UPP 530 Economic Development I: Analysis
    UPP 533 Development Finance Analysis
    UPP 535 Community Reinvestment: Building Access to Capital
    UPP 545 Community Development PhD Seminar
    UPP 541 Community Development II: Practice
    UPP 594 PhD Seminar: Property, Equality & Urban Theory



Curriculum Vita

Room 231 (MC 348)

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