Mel Langness is a research analyst in the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center. Langness’s interdisciplinary research focuses on understanding connections between the built environment, structural disparities, and experiences of violence. Their recent work includes an examination of how federal grant programs contribute to equity in housing and transportation access, a scan of best practices for collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data, technical assistance for Promise Neighborhood grantees, and ongoing capacity-building work with human-service organizations in Washington, DC.
Langness previously worked in the Justice Policy Center, where they focused on understanding alternatives to incarceration, intimate partner violence, and trauma-informed care. Langness is a mixed-methods researcher with extensive quantitative and qualitative experience, including in surveying and interviewing, and is a core member of the community-engaged research methods team at Urban.
Before coming to Urban, Langness researched structural violence and spatial manifestations of social injustices as they earned their bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They graduated from UNC with highest distinction and honors as a Morehead-Cain scholar with a bachelor of arts in political science and double minors in public policy and art history. As a first-generation college student from the South, Langness is committed to centering the experiences of marginalized groups in their research.