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Elsa Falkenburger
Senior Fellow
Director, Community Engagement Resource Center
Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
Office of Race and Equity Research
I am interested in the intersection of research and social justice, where people and communities who experience things firsthand are treated as experts and decisionmakers, and research is used to effect the change that individuals seek for their communities.

Elsa Falkenburger is a senior research fellow in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and the Division on Race and Equity and is director of the Community Engagement Resource Center at the Urban Institute. She also codirects the Contextual Analysis and Methods of Participatory Engagement project at the US Department of Health and Human Services and a participatory evaluation for the Partnership for Equitable and Resilient Communities, an initiative of the Melville Charitable Trust. Formerly, she was co–principal investigator of the Promoting Adolescent Sexual Health and Safety project, a 12-year sustained partnership with the DC Housing Authority and community-based organizations and residents to design and evaluate programming for teens. She regularly provides technical assistance and trainings, develops practical guides to implementing community engaged methods focused on equity, and consults on the institutionalization of participatory methods.

Falkenburger was formerly the program manager for the Housing Opportunity and Services Together demonstration, has worked with several Promise Neighborhoods, and was part of a team that evaluated the ROSS program at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Before joining Urban, she worked at the Washington Office on Latin America, focused on best practices for addressing youth gangs in Central America and ending the US embargo on Cuba. During graduate school, she worked at the KDK-Harman Foundation, helping grantees develop logic models.

Falkenburger has a BA in economics from Boston College and an MPA from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Research Areas
Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Children and youth
Social safety net
Race and equity
Greater DC
Neighborhoods and youth development
Public and assisted housing
Public health
Structural racism