UTA urban studies experts creating ‘vision for growth’ for Fort Worth’s medical district

Medical innovation district


Credit: UT Arlington

Urban studies researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington are constructing a strategic development plan for Fort Worth’s Medical Innovation District.

Shima Hamidi, director of UTA’s Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars, or CTEDD, is leading the project for the city of Fort Worth, which is looking to strengthen its medical district.

Hamidi and her research team, led by Research Associate Ahoura Zandiatashbar, are working with hospitals, health care facilities, the community and other businesses to determine strengths and weaknesses of the district, along with its physical assets, networking capacities, business ties, social makeup and challenges.

“Fort Worth already benefits from many assets essential to making it attractive for medical and health-related firms,” Hamidi said. “We want to offer recommendations on how to boost the current medical district into what is more than a grouping of facilities and build a matrix from which decision-makers can come to rational decisions. We will deliver a list of best policies, strategies and drivers for an equitable medical innovation district. We hope to provide a vision for growth.”

UTA Vice President for Research Duane Dimos said Hamidi’s work builds a stronger region.

“Sharing this data to help our officials make sound decisions is the way UTA should be helping the region,” Dimos said. “The information gathered not only advances Fort Worth, but also serves as evidence of what kind of change-agent UTA research is.”

Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, assistant director of economic development for the city of Fort Worth, said the city is trying to create the nation’s most livable medical district, one that not only sees to citizens’ medical needs, but also serves as a center of innovation, discovery and creativity.

“If we can attract the right kinds of firms to the medical innovation sector, we believe the district will become self-perpetuating,” she said.

CTEDD is one of 32 University Transportation Centers in the United States. Funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation, these centers advance state-of-the-art transportation research and technology. CTEDD speaks to the University’s growing expertise across several academic and research disciplines that address the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

Hamidi specializes in urban and transportation planning, urban sprawl and smart growth, transportation, urban design, walkability, housing affordability, public health, upward mobility, and urban form and its quality of life impacts.

Her grant funding has come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation Research Board, National Institute of Transportation and Communities, American Association of Retired Persons, National Institutes of Health and Smart Growth America.

Her work has appeared in the Journal of American Planning Association, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Journal of Planning Literature, Landscape and Urban Planning, Health & Place, Journal of Urban Design, Environment and Planning B, Housing Policy Debate, Transportation Research Record and Urban Studies.


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