Accelerating Innovation for Inclusion

Supported with a grant from the Mastercard Impact Fund, in collaboration with Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, the Urban Institute will fill critical knowledge gaps on what the digital transition means to cities and states in the US. Urban’s experts will develop tools that policymakers can use to target investments aimed at reducing inequities and increasing pathways to upward mobility.

Access to Opportunity through Equitable Transportation

Transportation is key to accessing opportunities including employment, education, and health care. But in many places, a history of racist planning and policy have created a transportation system rife with inequities, which disproportionately harms people of color, low-income people, elderly people, and people with disabilities.

Boosting Upward Mobility from Poverty

The Boosting Upward Mobility from Poverty project builds on the work of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty by developing a draft set of actionable metrics that communities can use to set priorities and catalyze action for improving economic and social mobility. Upcoming work will beta test the metrics in a set of communities and support broader community learning to create and bolster conditions that substantially boost upward mobility and narrow inequities for children, youth, and adults.

Evidence-Based Policymaking Collaborative

With support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, researchers from the Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute, and Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative have formed the Evidence-Based Policymaking Collaborative. The Collaborative leverages the expertise of its members to inform evidence-based policymaking efforts through publications, convenings, and an Innovation Prize competition. As the Collaborative’s primary grantee, the Urban Institute provides project management and editorial support to the partnership.

Getting the Most Out of Your Community’s Administrative Data

States, municipalities, and local organizations need help identifying, linking, and analyzing the administrative data sources in their communities to better track outcomes of the social services they deliver. This series of five products offers recommendations on how communities can best navigate these vital processes. The project was funded by the Corporation for National Community Service and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Housing Matters

A large and growing body of research has shown how housing and neighborhood conditions are connected with health, education, and economic outcomes for individuals and communities. The Urban Institute provides a clearinghouse for that research and related stories through the Housing Matters portal. The portal and other Housing Matters activities, such as roundtables and reports, strive to inform and engage practitioners, policymakers, and researchers across a range of fields to better and more cost-effectively help all families lead healthy, successful lives. This initiative was launched with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Inclusive Recovery

Our inclusive recovery project examines how cities can overcome economic distress in a way that provides the opportunity for all residents—especially historically excluded populations—to benefit from and contribute to economic prosperity.

Michigan Housing Futures

Urban Institute researchers are examining Southeast Michigan’s housing market through data analysis and discussions with local stakeholders as part of its ongoing engagement in the Detroit metropolitan area.  They framed this discussion in the July 2017 report Southeast Michigan Housing Futures: A Converging Story for the Detroit Metropolitan Area, which uses regional population and household projections to identify regional patterns of household formation and tenure. The projections indicate overall growth and a shift in regional patterns from one driven by suburban growth and population loss in Detroit to one of more shared growth and shared challenges.

National Resource Network

Across the United States, many cities face growing poverty, high unemployment, poor-performing schools, aging infrastructure, and vacant and blighted properties. These symptoms of economic distress are often accompanied by symptoms of fiscal distress, leaving cities without the tax base or resources to address economic challenges or provide basic services that enhance quality of life.

The Strong Cities, Strong Communities Network uses the expertise, partnerships, and resources of the public and private sectors to help cities tackle their most pressing challenges. 

Opportunity Zone Community Impact Assessment Tool

With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers from the Urban Institute have created the Opportunity Zone Community Impact Assessment Tool to prospectively assesses the potential social impact of a local development project using evidence-based indicators. The tool is available for use by any stakeholder interested in the social impact of an eligible investment in an Opportunity Zone, whether an operating business; a residential, commercial, or industrial development; or some combination of these types. Urban drew from evidence and expertise across a range of sectors—including community development, environment, health, housing, and justice—to develop the Assessment Tool.

Pay for Success Administrative Data Pilot 

High-quality pay for success (PFS) projects rely on data to inform project development. From feasibility analysis to implementation, local entities often face significant challenges in accessing and using administrative data from different service systems, and addressing these challenges may require considerable resources. With support from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Urban Institute’s Pay for Success Administrative Data Pilot will help selected PFS sites address some of these challenges in order to further their PFS projects. Urban will work with awardees to assess site needs; develop flexible, individualized training and technical assistance plans for selected sites; and to provide training and technical assistance and capacity-building services to help communities incorporate administrative data into their PFS projects.

Pay for Success Initiative

Pay for success (PFS) has emerged as a catalyst for driving investment at the federal, state, and local level to improve outcomes for vulnerable populations. The Urban Institute launched the Pay for Success Initiative in 2015 with funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to bring the breadth and depth of Urban’s evidence-based social policy research directly to states and localities interested in PFS projects. The Initiative offers training and technical assistance to project stakeholders, leads communities of practice to explore the intersection of PFS and specific issue areas, and produces high-quality research and tools to support the development of strong PFS projects.

Place-Based Impact Investing Knowledge Foundation

The Urban Institute, in collaboration with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is developing an evidence-based toolkit to advance the concept and practice of place-based impact investing. Like many emerging fields of practice, there are different definitions and assessments about which approaches and models are most effective. This project aims to classify place-based impact investing as efforts to deploy capital locally, in ways that have the potential to both yield a financial return as well as improve quality of life in measurable ways.

Renters and Rental Market Crisis Working Group

Initiated in March 2020, the Renters and Rental Market Crisis Working Group (RCWG) convenes public- and private-sector capital providers, rental housing owners, philanthropic organizations, tenant and civil rights advocates, and research and data analysts to regularly share what they are learning about evolving market dynamics and conditions for renters, owners, and rental markets nationwide. The RCWG will inform the design and implementation of federal legislative or regulatory efforts as well as state and local policies to address the impending rental crisis by sharpening analysis of solutions with evidence and analysis.

Sizing Federal Rental Assistance

As part of our work with the Renters and Rental Market Crisis Working Group we have provided regular estimates of the number of renter households impacted by job loss and the cost of assistance needed to keep renters stably housed through the pandemic and resulting economic downturn. As the unemployment situation has changed, so too have our estimates. This page compiles the blog posts, slides, and briefs on previous and current estimates, allowing users to see the evolving and most current data on one page.

Shared Prosperity Partnership

The Shared Prosperity Partnership—a collaboration of The Urban Institute, The Kresge Foundation, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and Living Cities—convenes local leaders in select communities across the United States to discuss challenges to inclusive growth and provide data, research, and access to national experts, networks, and financial resources. Nationally, the Partnership elevates promising models through publications, public forums, and a national summit to spark dialogue among practitioners and support evidence-based policy at the state and national levels.

The State of Low- and Middle-Income Housing in Austin, Denver, and Miami: Strategies to Preserve Affordability and Opportunities for the Future

This project assesses housing affordability for low- to middle-income (LMI) households to better understand LMI housing needs in rapidly changing cities (Miami, Denver, and Austin). The studies focus on those households that do not typically qualify for federal housing subsidies, or those with income ranging from 50 to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI).