The HCED faculty leads cutting-edge research projects, including action research that directly engages us with agents of change in the public, private, and nongovernmental sectors. Our research aims to understand and call attention to the dynamic forces shaping metropolitan economies, politics, and community life and to inform policymaking and planning practice. Our dual commitment to building theory and encouraging reflective practice creates a rich and flexible environment for our students. We incorporate our research into courses, lecture series and other special events, client-driven practicum projects, influential scholarly publications, media outreach, and more.
Our multi-disciplinary research agenda is focused on a number of the forces that have transformed American society—and the prospects for creating just and livable communities—in recent decades, such as: the increase in economic inequality and the changing demands of work associated with technology, globalization, and policy shifts; the increase in racial and ethnic diversity in cities, suburbs, and small towns, led by immigration; the growth and diversification of the nonprofit sector and the rise of complex cross-sector partnerships for advancing the public interest; the sharp decline in housing affordability, particularly in the nation’s highest cost markets, where much economic growth and innovation is centered; the loss of political and fiscal support for local governments and anti-poverty programs; changing expectations about performance and accountability; and the need to connect economic competitiveness and equity to environmental sustainability (‘greening’).