Margery Turner

Margery Austin Turner is is Senior Vice President for Program Planning and Management at the Urban Institute, where she leads efforts to frame and conduct a forward-looking agenda of policy research. A nationally recognized expert on urban policy and neighborhood issues, Ms. Turner has analyzed issues of residential location, racial and ethnic discrimination and its contribution to neighborhood segregation and inequality, and the role of housing policies in promoting residential mobility and location choice. Among her recent publications is Public Housing and the Legacy of Segregation (2009). Ms. Turner served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 through 1996, focusing HUD's research agenda on the problems of racial discrimination, concentrated poverty, and economic opportunity in America's metropolitan areas. During her tenure, HUD's research office launched three major social science demonstration projects to test different strategies for helping families from distressed inner-city neighborhoods gain access to opportunities through employment and education.


A glass half full? Discrimination against minority homeseekers

By Margery Turner  ::  June 11th, 2013

Yesterday, Secretary Donovan announced the findings from HUD’s latest paired-testing study of discrimination against minority homeseekers. An Urban Institute team conducted the study, the third national paired-testing study we’ve completed for HUD (see video). What did we find? When well-qualified minority homeseekers contact housing providers to inquire about recently advertised housing units, they generally are just as […]

Read More

In the conversation about poverty: don't forget about deep and persistent poverty

By Laudan Aron and Margery Turner  ::  June 6th, 2013

    About 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty and many more experience one or more spells of poverty over the course of a year. Thanks to Alan Berube and Elizabeth Kneebone’s new book, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, people are talking about this bleak reality and what to do about it. Over […]

Read More

Suburban poverty: let's keep talking about it

By Margery Turner  ::  May 30th, 2013

Kudos to Alan Berube and Elizabeth Kneebone for igniting a new national conversation about poverty and place. Their book, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, highlights the fact that more poor people now live in America’s suburbs than in central cities. This comes as a surprise to many and shatters old assumptions about who should care […]

Read More

Lessons Learned from the Making Connections Initiative

By Margery Turner  ::  May 14th, 2013

    The Annie E. Casey Foundation has just released a very frank and thoughtful summary of lessons learned from its Making Connections Initiative, which focused funding and technical assistance on poor neighborhoods in 10 cities with the goal of improving outcomes for both people and places. One of the things I like best about […]

Read More

Are housing vouchers good for my neighborhood?

By Margery Turner  ::  May 9th, 2013

    Last week, my blog post explored the role investor-buyers play—for good or ill—in recovering housing markets like my Prince George’s County neighborhood. What about housing vouchers, aka Section 8 housing? I’ve studied the performance of the federal Housing Choice Voucher program for years but was still a little surprised to see a sign […]

Read More

Investor Buyers in Prince George's County: The Next Challenge for County Government

By Margery Turner  ::  May 2nd, 2013

    Prince George’s County—a majority-black, middle-income suburb of Washington, DC—was hit hard by the housing market crash and recession. My neighborhood and many others just like it saw high rates of foreclosures and distress sales, with “for sale” signs popping up on every block. Neighbors have been taking turns mowing the lawns of vacant […]

Read More

Responsible Redevelopment: Protecting Renters in Changing Neighborhoods

By Margery Turner  ::  April 16th, 2013

    The Washington Post’s in-depth story about an Alexandria redevelopment project did a great job of highlighting the challenges facing working families in our region’s high-cost housing market. Efforts to protect residents of the Beauregard community from displacement and hardship build on five important lessons about responsible redevelopment—lessons learned through experimentation and research. Most […]

Read More

Diversity is Changing More Than Our Politics

By Margery Turner  ::  November 26th, 2012

The presidential election got everybody talking about our country’s growing diversity. But the changing makeup of America’s population has implications that go far beyond politics. Immigration, the aging of the baby-boom generation, growing tolerance of gays and lesbians, and evolving norms about marriage and childbearing are transforming American society. These changes fuel new sources of […]

Read More

Lessons from a drive through Detroit

By Margery Turner  ::  September 28th, 2012

When we hear about Detroit in the news these days, it epitomizes the failure of a once prosperous American city—homes and businesses vacated, neighborhoods emptied out, public schools failing, and elected officials under criminal investigation. Between 1960 and 1990, many big cities across the United States suffered from declining population, disinvestment, and distress. Detroit didn’t […]

Read More