The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded a $15,000 early doctoral research grant to Karen Danielsen, of Alexandria, a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech's Alexandria campus.

The competitive award will enable Danielsen to explore the reasons why, over time, more people, and particularly minorities, choose to live in rental gated communities rather than in apartments or their own homes, even when they can afford to buy one.

"Recent research by Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute indicates that a surprising number of people live in rental gated communities," said Danielsen. "Some suggest that these communities are being developed to increase community acceptance of multi family housing. I want to find out if there is any truth to this assumption and why people find this type of living environment so ideal."

Danielsen will conduct her research in locales across the country, including Fairfax County, Virginia. Prince Georges County, Maryland, and California's Sunbelt region. She will work with a committee that includes Ted Koebel, professor and director of Virginia Tech's Housing Research Center in Blacksburg; Thomas Sanchez, associate professor, School of Public and International Affairs, Alexandria campus, and Edward Blakely, professor of urban planning and chair of Urban and Regional Planning, Sydney, Australia.

Danielsen earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Rutgers University.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2004, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech is comprised of two schools, the School of Architecture + Design and the School of Public and International Affairs, and includes programs in architecture, art and art history, building construction, public administration and policy, interior design, industrial design, landscape architecture, government and international affairs, and urban affairs and planning. All programs strive to promote an understanding of the complexity of our environment and ways to improve that environment through thoughtful teaching and research in the design, planning, and construction fields. The college enrolls more than 2,200 students, offering 22 degrees programs taught by 130 faculty members.

Virginia Tech has fostered a growing partnership with the greater metropolitan Washington D.C. community since 1969. Today, the university's presence in the National Capital Region includes graduate programs and research centers in Alexandria, Falls Church, Leesburg, Manassas, and Middleburg. In addition to supporting the university's teaching and research mission, Virginia Tech's National Capital Region has established collaborations with local and federal agencies, businesses, and other institutions of higher education.