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Our research on cities and communities cuts across several Urban Institute specialties—housing trends, crime prevention, economic development, arts and culture, and more.

Our urban studies define much of our history, from evaluations of community development corporations in poor neighborhoods to road-tested ideas for rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to more recent projects helping policymakers monitor communities' progress. We also work closely with local groups to grasp and address the Washington, D.C., area's challenges. Read more.

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Case Study: NNIP and Open Data in Detroit (Research Brief)
Eric Burnstein

Adopting open data principles is difficult in cities undergoing economic hardship, but the benefits of doing so are great. In Detroit, Data Driven Detroit (D3), a local National Neighborhood Indicators partner, has worked to provide local data to the community free of charge. Though they have encountered institutional and cultural barriers, D3 has advanced their cause through partnership with local organizations and government. With new funding opportunities and new movement on open data by the city, D3 is making data meaningful and accessible, as well as advocating for open data and data-driven decisionmaking by community organizations and government.

Posted to Web: July 22, 2014Publication Date: July 22, 2014

Understanding Older Drivers: An Examination of Medical Conditions, Medication Use, and Travel Behavior (Research Report)
Sandra Rosenbloom, Robert Santos

Almost 90% of people 65 and older are drivers. While older people are among the safest on the road they are more likely to use multiple medications which could interfere with driving safely. This report provides baseline information on the relationship between medical conditions, medication use, and the travel behavior of older drivers from two large national data bases: the 2009 National Household Travel Survey and the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study. We found that most older drivers take multiple medications and drive frequently but also self-regulate their behavior in important ways that reduce crash risk.

Posted to Web: July 15, 2014Publication Date: April 01, 2014

Tackling Persistent Poverty in Distressed Urban Neighborhoods (Occasional Paper)
Margery Austin Turner, Peter Edelman, Erika C. Poethig, Laudan Y. Aron, Matthew Rogers, Christopher Lowenstein

Despite significant civil rights advancements and enormous improvements in the US standard of living over the past half-century, public policies and private initiatives have largely failed to solve the problem of persistent, intergenerational poverty among families living in distressed communities. Persistent intergenerational poverty is a complex and daunting problem that requires action at multiple levels. No single strategy offers a “silver bullet,” but strategies that focus on the places poor families live have an important role to play. This paper summarizes lessons learned and evolving practice in the field of place-based interventions, and it offers a set of guiding principles for child-focused, place-conscious initiatives focused on persistent, intergenerational poverty.

Posted to Web: July 11, 2014Publication Date: July 11, 2014

From Cradle to Career: The Multiple Challenges Facing Immigrant Families in Langley Park Promise Neighborhood (Research Report)
Molly M. Scott, Graham MacDonald, Juan Collazos, Ben Levinger, Eliza Leighton, Jamila Ball

With estimates predicting that immigrants and their children will account for most of U.S. population growth over the next 4 decades, it is critical to understand how to build ladders of opportunity for these families. This report is a complete assessment of the needs of Langley Park, an immigrant neighborhood outside Washington, DC. Langley Park families are resilient but experience substantial hardships that may stall the progress of subsequent generations. At six crucial life transitions, children lag behind on indicators of future success. Fortunately, the data pinpoint not only the gaps, but also opportunities for change.

Posted to Web: June 23, 2014Publication Date: June 23, 2014

Putting Open Data to Work for Communities (Research Report)
Kathryn L.S. Pettit, Leah Hendey, Brianna Losoya, G. Thomas Kingsley

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) is a network of local organizations that collect, organize, and use neighborhood data to tackle issues in their communities. As the movement for government transparency has spread at the local level, more NNIP partners are participating in the call for governments to release data and are using open data to provide information for decisionmaking and community engagement. Local NNIP partners and open data advocates have complementary strengths and should work together to more effectively advance open government data that benefits all residents.

Posted to Web: June 12, 2014Publication Date: June 12, 2014

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