Urban Studies | Wilson Center

Urban Studies

10 steps to a more genuine D.C. experience

Every year, around Labor Day, recent college graduates descend on the District in hopes of finding a job. I am writing to offer them some advice about how to adapt to their new home.

Small is Beautiful: A Washington Tale of Little Red Rockers and Ducks

 Sometimes the smallest of interventions into the life of a city are the most appreciated.  This lesson is on display once more with the addition of a dozen or so bright red rocking chairs around the Southwest Duck Pond in Washington, D.C.

Busting the Ghosts Haunting Technologically Advanced Transit Systems

Smart technology holds the promise of mobility with ease, thereby resolving vexing issues of immobility and non-connectivity. Cars – often self-driven – will stand at the ready for anyone to use; parking will be ubiquitous; self-propelled buses, subways, and trains will carry busy passengers to all ends of town; boom-and-bust traffic cycles tied to rush hours will even out; electronic vehicles propelled by self-charging super-battery technologies will alleviate the need for fueling breaks; and the poor will be able to get to jobs on the rich side of town.

Summer of Washington’s Capital Discontent: Lessons from the Past

This has been a summer of discontent in Washington best symbolized by the region’s collapsing metro.

Washington's Rose Park and the Lessons of Welcoming Public Space


CARPETing the City with Transit: Essential Elements for Promoting Mobility and Equity with Sustainable Development

In September 2015, the United Nations approved 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) intended to shape the global effort to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change. Among the 17 goals, one is devoted to the urban condition that is shared by more than half of humanity. Goal 11 calls for action to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

The Next Urban Future: Smarter and More Resilient Cities

On January 20, the Wilson Center’s Urban Sustainability Laboratory and Meeting of the Minds co-hosted “The Next Urban Future: Smarter and More Resilient Cities,” a seminar to examine tools, policies, and strategies for building urban resilience in the digital age.

[Infographic] The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program: How does it work?

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) is an indirect subsidy mechanism created in 1986 to promote affordable housing construction. The Internal Revenue Service and state housing finance agencies work together to create incentives for nonprofits and for-profit developers to build affordable housing by attracting investors for tax credit benefits. With equity from sale of the tax credits, developers are able to build affordable housing. LIHTC properties provide units for low-income renters at affordable rents.

A Public Management Train Wreck: The Lessons of Unaccountability and the Washington Metro

I didn’t ride the Washington Metro the day it opened in March 1976. I waited for the crowds to abate before I shuttled back and forth in the Red Line between Farragut North and Union Station for the first time.

Urban Neighborhoods in a New Era: Revitalization Politics in the Postindustrial City

When urban neighborhoods are in the news, the stories seem to alternate between displacement and violence. Yet, beneath the headlines a more complicated narrative is taking shape. Authors of the recently published Urban Neighborhoods in a New Era tell us that despite plentiful remaining challenges, a past of unrelenting neglect and disregard shows signs of change.