Evidence and Ideas for Change The Urban Institute has a new home
Sarah Rosen Wartell
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The Urban Institute begins an exciting new chapter this month in a new home at 500 L’Enfant Plaza in Southwest DC. After spending our first five decades in the city’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, we’ll now build on our legacy from L’Enfant Plaza, providing data and evidence to drive solutions to improve people’s lives, promote equity, and strengthen communities in the decades ahead.

After attempting to move several times in our history, Urban ultimately chose to remain in and recommit to our hometown. Here’s why:

  • The District is a dynamic, ever-changing city.
  • It anchors a large, diverse, and economically vibrant region that’s striving for inclusive growth from which all residents can benefit—an objective that aligns with Urban’s mission.
  • We’ve developed strong roots in this region over the past 50 years, partnering with local governments, nonprofits, and foundations to build knowledge about pressing local challenges.
  • The District is home to federal agencies we work with on issues affecting people and places across the country.

Urban also recently renewed our commitment to our hometown with Urban–Greater DC.  Through this initiative, we’re providing District and regional leaders with the data, technical assistance, and issue expertise they need to strengthen efforts that address persistent barriers to upward mobility in the region. We’re particularly dedicated to playing a positive role in our new neighborhood, which is a diverse mix of federal offices, longtime residents, and the new retail and residential district at the Wharf. And we’ve already begun exploring partnerships with the  Southwest Business Improvement District and other organizations to ensure that the growth of our new neighborhood benefits both its newest and more long-standing residents.

We’ll do all this and more from a beautiful, state-of-the-art, LEED-certified building designed to reflect many of Urban’s core values. Flooded with natural light, the eight floors we occupy offer numerous opportunities for staff—and our guests—to collaborate and convene around innovative ideas. With our conferences, sunset seminars, policy debates, changemaker interviews, and film screenings, we intend to be a hub that brings together new audiences and diverse voices committed to advancing upward mobility, equity, and inclusive communities, large and small.

I’m beyond thrilled to launch the next 50 years of Urban’s story in this new space, in a transforming neighborhood in our hometown. I look forward to welcoming you here.