Urban and Regional Planning
What research questions currently preoccupy you?
How can governments fund urban development (roads, parks, public transportation, water supply, etc.) in an efficient, equitable, and financially sustainable manner, especially in the developing world?
What processes cities should develop to ensure that their plans get implemented?
How can lower-income households enjoy a good quality of life in a region with high cost of living such as the San Francisco Bay Area?
What personal factors contributed to your study of house price impacts of school quality?
During my family’s search to buy a house in a neighborhood with good schools, I became acutely aware that school quality significantly impacts house prices in the San Francisco Bay Area. This realization led me to develop a research project that estimated the house price impacts of school quality. I found that, controlling for everything else, a single-family house is approximately $450,000 more expensive in a neighborhood with very high-quality schools compared to a similar house located in a neighborhood with average-quality schools.
What has been most challenging in your research?
To work on research projects because of their potential to significantly impact society; not simply because they could result in quick publications. Also: whether to go after funding opportunities for research that is less exciting for me, or do un-funded, but exciting research.
How has your position in SJSU contributed to your research?
My in-class discussions with students help me generate new research ideas. Further, students are excited when I bring my new research to the classroom. Their excitement encourages me to continue to develop a strong research program.
A hidden (research) talent:
Not so much hidden, but perhaps rare: I am equally comfortable conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews as I am crunching data.
A website/journal/newspaper (in your field?) you follow without fail:
Advice you’d give to newer faculty or students:
Be kind to students. In turn, they would respect you. Use time judiciously; especially always have work to fill unexpected small breaks, for example, 5-10 minutes in between two student meetings during office hours.
Mathur, S. 2016. The Myth of "Free" Public Education: Impact of School Quality on House Prices in the Fremont Unified School District, California. Journal of Planning Education and Research. DOI: 10.1177/0739456X16654546
Mathur, S. 2016. Designing an Impact Fee Program to Meet Rational Nexus Principle and Reduce Vertical Inequity. Public Works Management & Policy 21(4):324–345.