Evidence and Ideas for Change Introducing the Urban–Greater DC initiative
Sarah Rosen Wartell
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More than ever, we are witnessing a period of unprecedented growth in jobs and population that is reshaping neighborhoods, demographics, and the very identity of the region the Urban Institute has called home for five decades. But not all residents have access to opportunities that flow from the prosperity the Washington, DC, region enjoys. And that’s where area leaders must lean in more. Philanthropic, business, government, and nonprofit influencers need to strengthen their existing collaborations to address persistent barriers to upward mobility in greater DC. If not, we risk the long-term sustainability of our area’s economic progress.

Given our rapidly transforming region, Urban is deepening our partnerships with leaders and advocates in the place we call home, to help them build knowledge, generate solutions, and find out what can make the DC area rich with opportunity for all. Through our new Urban­–Greater DC initiative, regional influencers can leverage the expertise of Urban’s nearly 500 social scientists, economists, data scientists, demographers, and others to enhance their current and future efforts. The initiative includes a one-of-a-kind, interactive Greater DC Data Explorer, through which we are providing the most robust and accessible data related to education, jobs, basic needs, affordable housing, and more across the region. Urban–Greater DC encapsulates the independent evidence, technical assistance, and depth of knowledge about the DC area that only Urban can deliver—insights that are essential to accelerating promising practices and developing solutions that address local and regional issues.

We are committed to using data and insights to help ensure that greater DC is defined by inclusive neighborhoods, strong public schools, a resilient labor force, racial equity, healthy and safe communities, and a place where all residents can meet their basic needs. And the Urban–Greater DC team is already thinking about the factors that could accelerate or impede these objectives. For instance, we will be analyzing how mobility to and within the region transforms our population, employment, and income patterns in the years to come—and how such patterns affect economic growth and access to opportunity.

I hope you’ll take moment to learn more about the initiative, tell us what you think, and sign up for updates about Urban–Greater DC efforts. I look forward to hearing your ideas, too, and partnering with you so that, together, we can shape a compelling agenda for advancing shared prosperity in greater DC.

At Urban: Author and MacArthur Fellow Matthew Desmond
Join us on April 12 for a discussion on how communities can use data on evictions to improve residential stability for all households. Our featured guest, sociologist Matthew Desmond—author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship—will speak about his latest research on evictions nationwide. Learn more and register.

Research Areas Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
Cities Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV