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Elsa Falkenburger
Principal Research Associate
Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
I am an advocate at heart and passionate about informing more responsible and effective public policy. We do that best when we have data that provide a clear understanding of the problem and proof of the kinds of programs and policies that have a real impact on people’s lives.

Elsa Falkenburger is a principal research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute and chair of the Community Engaged Methods group. Her portfolio includes codirecting the Promoting Adolescent Sexual Health and Safety (PASS) project, a sustained partnership with the Benning Terrace public housing community and a quasi-experimental evaluation working with six other DC Housing Authority communities.

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 Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency program at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. She regularly provides technical assistance and trainings and develops practical guides to implementing community engaged methods and applied research that prioritizes racial equity and inclusion.

Before joining Urban, Falkenburger advocated for best practices in youth gang prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation in the United States and Latin America. During graduate school, she worked at the KDK-Harman Foundation helping grantees develop logic models and performance indicators for evaluating and improving educational programs for marginalized communities. 

Falkenburger has an MPA from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin.

Research Areas
Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Children and youth
Social safety net
Race and equity
Neighborhoods and youth development
Washington, DC, research initiative
Racial barriers to accessing the safety net
Racial inequities in neighborhoods and community development
Structural racism in research, data, and technology
Community data use