The New York University Furman Center is launching a new initiative—the Housing Solutions Lab—formed to help small and midsize cities plan, implement, and review potential local housing policies.

The Lab is composed of an interdisciplinary team from the NYU Furman Center, led by Dr. Martha Galvez. Its work builds on the inaugural Housing Solutions Lab Peer Cities Network, a group of small and midsized cities that meet monthly to discuss challenges and share best practices.

“Through our first Housing Solutions peer network, we’ve gained valuable insights into the ways that small and midsize cities are tackling housing instability and a variety of other concerns, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis,” Galvez says. “Working with the network cities has helped lay the foundation for our new Housing Solutions Lab, which will help identify successful policy solutions, provide additional technical assistance to cities, and document what works.”

Instruction is tailored for municipalities with 50,000 to 500,000 residents, and focuses on housing solutions that advance racial equity, increase opportunities for residents, improve health and well-being, and address displacement, disinvestment, and cost burdens on renters.

Specific Housing Solutions Lab services include:

  • Helping cities use data to design and manage local housing policy;
  • Developing research plans to evaluate the effectiveness of policies in place;
  • Real-time technical implementation assistance;
  • Peer support and shared learning between city leaders; and
  • Helping localities develop and disseminate products that highlight successful outcomes.

“Some of the most exciting and innovative housing policies in this moment are emerging from small and midsize cities. With the Lab, we will be able to work in partnership with local community leaders and public officials to help hone these policies and provide a national platform to disseminate successful solutions that will benefit communities of all sizes,” says Ingrid Gould Ellen, faculty director of the NYU Furman Center. "Through rigorous evaluation studies of city policies, the Lab will help to build this evidence base for policymakers, practitioners, and community advocates across the country.”

The Lab offers housing policy resources for free through the Local Housing Solutions platform.