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.
Homelessness, violent crime, unequal access to quality schools, and a shortage of affordable housing plague the District of Columbia and cities nationwide. Urban Institute researchers give policymakers, advocates, and service providers perspective and details on these problems and lend technical assistance to local community-based organizations.
Our annual "Housing in the Nation's Capital" report studies housing trends in depth. A recent edition detailed the lack of suitable and affordable housing for the city’s growing population of elderly, disabled, homeless, and other special-needs residents—and explored housing and service solutions. Our quarterly analyses of the Washington, D.C., housing market track affordable housing developments.
Our research on U.S. cities and communities spans the gamut from neighborhood development to employment opportunities. We offer policy options for revitalizing poor neighborhoods without pricing low-income residents out of their homes. We have also evaluated the use of computerized mapping to track crime trends and prisoner reentry by neighborhood. And we offered policymakers practical and timely ideas to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
The role culture and the arts play in cities and communities is another topic our researchers study. Our Arts and Culture Indicators Project defines and measures cultural vitality, deepening policymakers' understanding of how arts and cultural activities help shape neighborhoods and local economies just as surely as education, housing, and employment do.