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Joseph Schilling
Senior Research Associate
Research to Action Lab
  • Profile
  • Outside Affiliations
  • I love to uncover the backstory of how communities collaborate in developing innovative policies, who were the catalysts, and how did they come together and overcome problems to craft new approaches. As a policy translator, I weave the lessons learned from these stories into a narrative for policy change that other communities can follow, adapt, and leverage.

    Joseph Schilling is a senior research associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and Research to Action Lab at the Urban Institute. He is also a fellow with the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program, led by the University of Minnesota with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a strategic adviser and national expert on reclaiming vacant properties, urban sustainability, and municipal and civic capacity building, Schilling works with public officials and community leaders in designing and developing new models for urban regeneration and neighborhood revitalization. An accomplished public policy facilitator, he has led dozens of research, policy, and community forums. His field work is a living laboratory for applied research, policy storytelling, and technical assistance by extracting and disseminating innovative models through case studies, translation briefs, and roundtables.

    In 2010, Schilling founded the Vacant Properties Research Network, a dynamic hub for policy and research translation involved with regenerating legacy cities. More recently, Schilling helped Memphis, Tennessee, develop the nation’s first neighborhood blight-elimination charter. In 2015, he led a comprehensive literature synthesis on blight for the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful and finished an evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities urban fellowship program for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    Before joining Urban, Schilling was associate director and senior fellow for Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute. He holds an LLM in environmental law from the George Washington University and a JD from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California.

    Research Areas
    Economic mobility and inequality
    Health and health care
    Nonprofits and philanthropy
    Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
    Land use
    Climate change, disasters, and community resilience
    Community and economic development
    Parks and green space

    Outside Affiliations
    George Washington University School of Law and Sustainable Urban Planning Masters Program
    Adjunct Faculty

    Urban experts are permitted and empowered to work and affiliate with outside organizations, whether serving on boards, volunteering their time, or providing advice and counsel. And Urban welcomes visiting scholars, nonresident or affiliated fellows who work for other organizations. These outside affiliations enrich our perspectives and our learning environment. We also require all paid and unpaid experts to disclose their affiliations to Urban leadership and follow rules governing their engagement to ensure transparency for audiences and independence of experts.