A Roadmap for PD&R Research
Raphael Bostic, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Throughout its history PD&R has always sought to be engaged in the wider worlds of practice and research and also to be forward looking. However, a 2008 report from the National Research Council of the National Academies found that in an era of limited financial and human resources, PD&R’s research-agenda setting process had become “too insular” with “too much of a short term focus.” As a result, the report concluded, PD&R was not “achieving its potential to contribute in a significant way to the ongoing internal and external discourses over the evolution of HUD programs and broader urban development policy.”
Clearly this is unacceptable. And it is unacceptable now more than at any previous time in PD&R’s history. Today, with the U.S. housing system in an unprecedented state of flux and federal budgets tightening, we need to lead with relevant research. In the next five years, PD&R must conduct and fund projects that help us better understand the changing world around us and show a path to improved housing and development outcomes for all Americans. We need to not only monitor changes but also anticipate their implications.
In response, PD&R is developing a “Research Roadmap” for the next five years, which will identify critical policy questions and projects that PD&R can undertake to help answer them. At the heart of this Roadmap is an unprecedented effort to hear from our stakeholders: the offices within HUD and practitioners and researchers across the country. We are asking our audiences two questions. The first is, “What are the questions that will be important to housing and urban and community development over the next five to ten years?” The second question is, “Where does PD&R have a comparative advantage in responding to these questions?” We are particularly interested in those questions that HUD is particularly well positioned to address given its programs and resources.
Thus far the response has been tremendous. Through a request for research ideas through PD&R’s website huduser.gov we received over 140 comments from a range of organizations, including nonprofits and advocacy groups, municipal governments, state agencies, community development corporations, researchers, students, private firms, HUD staff and the general public.
In November, we held a Research Agenda Conference to begin identifying some of the priority research issues related to HUD’s Strategic Goals. Over 120 people from across the country got together to discuss key framing questions and vote on priorities. In the coming months, we will be taking the show on the road and online, listening to hundreds of individuals and organizations at conferences and in special Roadmap listening sessions and webinars to hear what you have to say about the research questions that HUD should be addressing.
Later in the process, PD&R researchers will develop research projects to address the most relevant questions that HUD has a comparative advantage in answering. At the end of this process in early 2013, we expect to publish a Research Roadmap that reflects the needs of the research and policy communities and informs our budgeting process in 2014 and for many years to come.
We have established a webpage where we will be updating you regularly throughout the process. You can reach the HUD Research Roadmap team or leave comments at PD&RResearchRoadmap@hud.gov.
The Research Roadmap will get better as more and more people participate and offer their ideas and perspectives. I encourage you to keep an eye out for opportunities to weigh in, and use them to share your views on the key questions and on how PD&R can best advance the state of knowledge in these areas. With your help, we can together pursue an agenda that makes clear how housing matters and that spotlights effective policies for developing and redeveloping our neighborhoods, cities, and regions.