Urban Wire The Best of Urban–Greater DC in 2019
Nicole Levins
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photo of Washington DC

Like nearly every year that preceded it, 2019 brought rapid growth and change for the Greater DC area. But while new opportunities and development could lead to greater security and stability for some, many area residents could be left behind. How can we work toward a better Greater DC for all?

Now in its second year, the Urban–Greater DC initiative provides the tools, resources, and analyses residents, researchers, practitioners, and reporters need to tell the story of their changing region and identify solutions to some of its biggest challenges. Here’s some of what we’ve uncovered over the past 12 months.

It’s Not Too Late to Fix the DC Area’s Housing Problems

“For too many DC-area families, rents and house prices are climbing out of reach.… But it’s not too late for Washington-area leaders to choose a different path.”

Margery Turner

Equitable Development and Urban Park Space

“The [11th Street] Bridge Park presents a valuable case study on the challenges posed when a highly anticipated new public amenity takes shape near distressed neighborhoods in a rapidly gentrifying city.”

Mary Bogle, Somala Diby, and Mychal Cohen

Nontraditional-Hour Child Care in the District of Columbia

“Finding high-quality child care that aligns with parents’ work schedules can be a significant barrier to successful employment and children’s healthy development.”

Heather Sandstrom, Erica Greenberg, Teresa Derrick-Mills, Cary Lou, Shirley Adelstein, Charmaine Runes, Ashley Hong, Devon Genua, Travis Reginal, and John Marotta

Harsher Penalties Won’t Stop Gun Violence in DC

“There is no one perfect solution for addressing gun violence, but listening to and investing in communities—rather than passing the buck to the federal court system—may yield policy insights crucial to a safer and stronger DC.”

Cameron Okeke and Leah Sakala

Historical Context of Racial Inequity in Washington, DC

“In 2014, White households in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area had a net worth 81 times greater than Black households.”

Kilolo Kijakazi

What Would Help DC Residents Have Greater Financial Security?

“Even in a city with strong supports for financial health, more can be done…. Many residents could be served well by a financial empowerment center,… [and] financial counseling and coaching, loan products, and programs that target debt management and housing expenses could offer benefits.”

Diana Elliott and Caleb Quakenbush

New Data Reveal Digital Divides across DC Neighborhoods

“Eighty-three percent of DC households have access to the internet, but only 70 percent report having a broadband subscription at home.… Ensuring residents can access broadband internet at home could help address DC’s inequities.”

Leah Hendey

Three Decades of Mary’s Center's Social Change Model

“Throughout Mary’s Center’s three decades of growth, its core mission has remained the same: to provide high-quality, culturally appropriate, multilingual care to underserved residents in the Washington, DC, region, regardless of their ability to pay.”

Martha M. Galvez, Josh Leopold, Cameron Okeke, Alyse D. Oneto, Laudan Y. Aron, Rafael López



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The Urban Institute podcast, Evidence in Action, inspires changemakers to lead with evidence and act with equity. Cohosted by Urban President Sarah Rosen Wartell and Executive Vice President Kimberlyn Leary, every episode features in-depth discussions with experts and leaders on topics ranging from how to advance equity, to designing innovative solutions that achieve community impact, to what it means to practice evidence-based leadership.


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