Mary Donegan

Assistant Professor In-Residence, Urban and Community Studies

Primary Research Theme

Economic and Community Development

Secondary Research Themes

People and the City, Governance and Urban Services

Research Interests

Mary Donegan joined the Urban and Community Studies faculty in fall 2017. Mary’s work is driven by questions of how local governments and institutions can leverage scarce resources to foster just economic and community development. Current research focuses on: the transparency and efficacy of economic development incentives; state and city roles in Opportunity Zone projects; the complexity of entrepreneurial ecosystems; workforce development and employment precarity, particularly amongst women and marginalized groups, and; evolving relationships between research universities and regional development. Prior to Uconn Mary worked in the financial services industry, as a research associate evaluating housing policy at UNC’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies, and as a research assistant and visiting scholar at UNC’s Center for Community Capital. She holds BAs from Wellesley College in Economics and Russian Area Studies, and earned her MRP and PhD from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Department of City and Regional Planning.

Selected Urban-Related Publications

Donegan and N. Lowe. (2020). Going local: Placing entrepreneurial microgeographies in a larger regional context. Industry and Innovation. Online Only.

Donegan, Lester, T.W. and N. Lowe. (2019). Incentives in moderation: A national study of changing state and local practice. Urban Affairs Review. Online Only.

Donegan, M. (2019). Invited review of: Meeks, Stephanie and Kevin C. Murphy’s The Past and Future City: How Historic Preservation is Reviving America’s Communities. Journal of Planning Education and Research. Available online.

Donegan, M., A. Forbes, P. Clayton, A. Polly, M. Feldman and N. Lowe. (2019). The tortoise, the hare, and the hybrid: effects of prior employment on the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Industrial and Corporate Change, 28(4): 899-920.

Donegan, M. (May 21, 2019). Post HQ2 incentive reform: We can have good deals—but not without transparency and meaningful public participation. Metropolitics.

Clayton, P., Donegan, M., Feldman, M., Forbes, A., Lowe, N. & A. Polly. (2019). Founders prior work experiences and the outcomes of their entrepreneurial firms. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 72(5): 1182-1199.

Donegan, M. (2019). Bridging commercialization and redevelopment: Jurisdictions and university policy development. Urban Studies, 56(9): 1768-1785.

Lowe, N., Lester, T.W., and Donegan, M. (Dec. 26, 2018). “Does doling out economic incentives create jobs? A UNC study says no.” The News & Observer, Raleigh NC.

Webb, M., Rohe, W., Nguyen, M., Frescoln, K., Donegan, M. and Han, H. (2017). Finding HOPE: Changes in depressive symptomology following relocation from distressed public housing. Social Science and Medicine, 190: 165-173.

Nguyen, M., Rohe, B., Frescoln, K., Webb, M., Donegan, M. and Han, H. (2016). Mobilizing social capital: Which informal and formal supports affect employment outcomes for HOPE VI residents? Housing Studies, 31(7): 785-808.