The Future of the Great Lakes Region

The Great Lakes region—home to 50 million people in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin—has become a fixture in our national political discourse. Many of the country’s social, economic, and political challenges are being played out here. The report highlights four major implications of this research and aims to inform efforts to improve the quality of life and economic mobility of Great Lakes residents. Also available are fact sheets for the six Great Lakes states, highlighting recent economic trends and projecting future change.

Promise Neighborhoods

Promise Neighborhoods is a federal place-based initiative striving to turn neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity. The program’s vision is to ensure that all children growing up in Promise Neighborhoods have access to great schools and strong family and community support systems.

Financial Coaching

Financial coaching is an increasingly popular intervention designed to help low- and moderate-income individuals achieve financial stability and meet their financial goals. Urban Institute researchers are evaluating financial coaching initiatives to better understand how they work, who they serve, and what effects and outcomes they have. 

Affordable Housing and Foreclosure Mitigation

The Urban Institute studies the impact of foreclosure and strategies to mitigate it both nationally and in cities around the country. Our research and resources in this area include an evaluation of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program; an online guide to foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization called; and the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area Housing Monitor.

Behavioral Finance

The choices individual consumers make daily have ripple effects that are felt in households, communities, and the country as a whole. As part of our economic and community development portfolio, Metro investigates factors that influence consumer decisions and some of the strategies organizations are using to support healthier financial habits.

Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration

The Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration is an innovative initiative designed to meet the challenges of serving the Chicago Housing Authority's  "hard to house" residents.

Exposing Housing Discrimination

The Urban Institute, often in conjunction with HUD, has conducted a variety of national studies revealing the extent of discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities and people with disabilities in the housing market. The studies span decades and reveal how much progress has been made and how much work is left to do. 

Homelessness and Stable Housing

Metro researchers evaluate the design, operation, and effectiveness of federal, state, and local programs to prevent homelessness in vulnerable populations.

Housing Assistance Matters Initiative

Decent and affordable housing has far-reaching consequences for people’s health, quality of life, and access to opportunities. But these consequences are not always well understood. To inform public debate and strengthen policy outcomes, Housing Assistance Matters uses a multimedia approach to highlight research and analysis about the need for and benefits of well-managed public and assisted housing.

Housing Opportunities and Services Together (HOST)

Launched by the Urban Institute with the support of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), HOST researchers go into low-income neighborhoods to assess and address parents’ barriers to self-sufficiency—poor physical and mental health, addiction, low literacy and educational attainment, and historically weak connections to the labor force—while integrating services for children and youth.


A pilot program from The World Bank Group and the Urban Institute to build performance measurement and evaluation capacity among local nonprofits in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) is a collaboration between the Urban Institute and local partners in 35 cities to further the development and use of neighborhood information systems for community building and local decisionmaking. Creation of this project, which did not exist in any US city two decades ago, has democratized information, allowing for direct, practical use of data by city and community leaders.

NeighborhoodInfo DC

A partnership of the Urban Institute and the Washington DC Local Initiatives Support Corporation, NeighborhoodInfo DC is the DC affiliate of NNIP. This project supports community organizations, neighborhood leadership, residents, and governments as they work to improve the quality of life for people throughout Washington, DC.

Neighborhoods and Youth Development

In this initiative, we are testing place-based, two-generation strategies to help vulnerable parents and children.

Open Cities

With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Urban Institute explored trends and differences in economic exclusion in cities across high-income countries, as well as strategies that cities have put in place to combat it.

Performance Measurement and Management

Metro researchers are helping governments and nonprofit organizations track and improve their effectiveness and efficiency.

Program on Innovation in Infrastructure

A multidimensional research initiative spanning America's various infrastructure systems, the Program on Innovation in Infrastructure sheds light on significant policy challenges facing all levels of government. Researchers bridge conventional specialties to understand four cross-center issues: privatization, performance measurement, economic efficiency, and intergenerational communities.

Transforming Neighborhoods with Government Partners

The Great Recession and the corresponding collapse of the housing market have had far-reaching effects on communities across the country. With nonprofits and local governments both trying to do more with less, Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) commissioned a study to crystallize the tools its affiliates need to nurture successful collaborations. Synthesizing information gleaned from a literature review, an extensive web survey of Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI) affiliates, and case studies of three communities, we suggest concrete strategies to plan, build, and sustain relationships with local government partners.

What Works Collaborative

The What Works Collaborative is a foundation-supported partnership that conducts timely research and analysis to help inform the implementation of an evidence-based housing and urban policy agenda. 

Past Projects

HOPE VI (2001–07)

The HOPE VI program, which began in 1993, targeted some of the most beleaguered housing in this country—dilapidated public housing developments that failed to deliver on the promise of decent housing for the poor. Researchers followed HOPE VI residents at five sites to evaluate where they moved and how the program has affected their overall well-being.