PROJECTWhat Works Collaborative

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  • What Works Collaborative: Field-building Research Agendas

  • The What Works Collaborative is a foundation-supported partnership that conducts timely research and analysis to inform the implementation of an evidence-based housing and urban policy agenda. 

    Our goal is to build knowledge and share solutions with policymakers at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other federal agencies. The collaborative has undertaken more than two dozen independent research projects that focus on HUD's strategic goals.

    The collaborative is raising critical questions for policy research, engaging stakeholders in housing policy, and helping funders identify and conceptualize a research agenda that will move policy and practice forward. This process has led to a series of field-building research agendas:


    A Proposed Demonstration of a Flat Rental Subsidy for Very Low Income Households
    Mary K. Cunningham, Josh Leopold, and Pamela Lee

    Income Mixing across Scales: Rationale, Trends, Policies, Practice, and Research for More Inclusive Neighborhoods and Metropolitan Areas
    Laura Tach, Rolf Pendall, and Alexandra Derian

    Neighborhood Investment Flows
    Brett Theodos, G. Thomas Kingsley, and Simone Zhang

    What Works Collaborative Assessment Report
    Kathryn W. Hexter, Edward W. Hill, Brian A. Mikelbank, Benjamin Y. Clark, and Charles Post

    The Role of Investors in Acquiring Foreclosed Properties in Boston
    Christopher E. Herbert, Lauren Lambie-Hanson, Irene Lew, and Rocio Sanchez-Moyano

    Investors and Housing Markets in Las Vegas: A Case Study
    Alan Mallach

    The Role of Investors in The One-To-Three Family REO Market: The Case of Cleveland
    Frank Ford, April Hirsh, Kathryn Clover, Jeffrey A. Marks, Robin Dubin, Michael Schramm, Nina Lalich, Andrew Loucky, and Natalia Cabrera

    The Role of Investors in Acquiring Foreclosed Properties in Low- and Moderate-Income Neighborhoods: A Review of Findings from Four Case Studies
    Christopher E. Herbert, Irene Lew, and Rocio Sanchez-Moyano

    Moving to Educational Opportunity: A Housing Demonstration to Improve School Outcomes
    Megan Gallagher, Simone Zhang, and Jennifer Comey

    Examining Housing as a Pathway to Successful Reentry: A Demonstration Design Process
    Jocelyn Fontaine

    Maintenance and Investment in Small Rental Properties Findings from New York City and Baltimore
    Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy

    Revitalizing Distressed Older Suburbs
    Kathryn W. Hexter, Edward W. Hill, Brian A. Mikelbank, Benjamin Y. Clark, and Charles Post

    Towards Evidence-Based Sustainable Communities: Report on Survey of Urban Sustainability Centers in U.S. Universities
    Hilda Blanco and Genevieve Giuliano

    Rental Market Stresses: Impacts of the Great Recession on Affordability and Multifamily Lending
    Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

    Cutting Carbon Costs: Learning from Germany's Energy Saving Program
    Anne Power and Monika Zulauf

    Opportunity-Rich Schools and Sustainable Communities: Seven Steps to Align High-Quality Education with Innovations in City and Metropolitan Planning and Development
    Deborah L. McKoy, Jeffrey M. Vincent, and Ariel H. Bierbaum

    The Potential for Public-Private Partnerships: Philanthropic Leaders Housing as a Platform
    M. Katherine Kraft and Rebecca R. Riley

    The Federal Role in Supporting Urban Manufacturing
    Nisha Mistry andJoan Byron

    Vibrant Neighborhoods, Successful Schools: What the Federal Government Can Do to Foster Both
    Margery Austin Turner and Alan Berube

    Long-Term Low Income Housing Tax Credit Policy Questions
    Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

    Scaling the Nationwide Energy Retrofit of Affordable Multifamily Housing: Innovations and Policy Recommendations
    Lori Bamberger

    Building Environmentally Sustainable Communities: A Framework for Inclusivity
    Vicki Been, Mary Cunningham, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Adam Gordon, Joe Parilla, Margery Austin Turner, Sheryl Verlaine Whitney, Aaron Yowell, and Ken Zimmerman

    Seeking Sustainable and Inclusive Communities: A King County Case Study
    Sheryl Verlaine Whitney

    Urban Policy in the Carter Administration
    G. Thomas Kingsley and Karina Fortuny

    Improving U.S. Housing Finance through Reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Assessing the Options
    Ingrid Gould Ellen, John Napier Tye, and Mark A. Willis

    The Disruption of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program: Causes, Consequences, Responses, and Proposed Correctives
    Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

    Monitoring Success in Choice Neighborhoods: A Proposed Approach to Performance Measurement
    Robin E. Smith, G. Thomas Kingsley, Mary K. Cunningham, Susan J. Popkin, Kassie Dumlao, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Mark Joseph, and Deborah McKoy

    Reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction
    Eric Toder, Margery Austin Turner, Katherine Lim, and Liza Getsinger

    Facing the Urban Challenge: The Federal Government and America's Older Distressed Cities
    Alan Mallach

    Federal Post-Disaster Recovery: A Review of Federal Programs
    Amy Liu

    The Resident Choice Option: Reasons Why Residents Change from Project-Based Vouchers to Portable Housing Vouchers
    Mary K. Cunningham and Molly M. Scott

    Improving Neighborhood Location Outcomes in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: A Scan of Mobility Assistance Programs
    Mary K. Cunningham, Molly M. Scott, Chris Narducci, Sam Hall, and Alexandra Stanczyk

    What Do We Know About Housing Choice Voucher Program Location Outcomes?
    Martha Galvez

    Challenges and Policy Options for Creating and Preserving Affordable Housing near Transit and in Other Location-Efficient Areas
    Rick Haughey and Ryan Sherriff

    Connecting Residents of Subsidized Housing with Mainstream Supportive Services: Challenges and Recommendations
    Rebecca Cohen

    Key Researchers

    The collaborative is made up of independent researchers from academia and policy research institutions. Key researchers include the following:

    Vicki Been, New York University
    Eric Belsky, Harvard University
    Alan Berube, Brookings Institution
    Mary Cunningham, Urban Institute
    Ingrid Gould Ellen, New York University
    Bruce Katz, Brookings Institution
    Margery Austin Turner, Urban Institute

    Core Research Partners

    The collaborative is a unique partnership that brings together research organizations. The core research partners include the following:

    Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program
    Harvard University, Joint Center for Housing Studies
    New York University, Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy
    Urban Institute, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center

    In addition to the core research partners, the collaborative draws on researchers from academia, policy, and practice.

    Foundation Partners

    Annie E. Casey Foundation
    Ford Foundation
    Kresge Foundation
    John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
    Open Society Institute
    Rockefeller Foundation
    Surdna Foundation

    Research Areas Neighborhoods, cities, and metros
    Policy Centers Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center