The Center for Urban Policy Research has been at the forefront of housing research for thirty years. From its pioneering analysis of affordable housing need in New Jersey to national studies in housing and urban policy, CUPR has built a solid body of research. For its work in New Jersey, CUPR developed sophisticated techniques of housing market segmentation using the Census Bureau’s Public Use Microdata Sample and other household and housing data files. The Center’s analysis became the basis for the Mount Laurel fair share housing figures for each of New Jersey’s municipalities.
In other early work, in a nationwide study for HUD, the Center examined redevelopment and revitalization strategies for cities experiencing neighborhood deterioration and property abandonment. CUPR conducted classic analyses of rent control in New York City, Boston, and other communities, and was responsible for one of the first investigations of the interrelationships of housing and welfare. CUPR also examined regional mobility strategies, ranging from inclusionary housing requirements in California to the “antisnob” zoning law in Massachusetts.
More recently, the Center’s work in housing and urban development has focused on assessing urban conditions and on expanding housing opportunities for low-income families. Much of this work was funded by HUD under CUPR’s four-year Indefinite Quantity Contract (IQC)—the first university group to receive such an award. A major product of the IQC was State of the Nation’s Cities: America’s Changing Urban Life, a report and database of urban indicators compiled by CUPR for the United Nations Habitat II conference in Istanbul, Turkey, where it received international recognition with the UN Secretary-General for Habitat’s “Best Practices Award.” In other HUD-funded research, CUPR examined the impact of housing vouchers on regional mobility in San Francisco (CA), Baltimore (MD), Kansas City (MO), and Newport News (VA). With funding from the Fannie Mae Foundation, CUPR is completing a follow-up study for HUD examining the high incidence rate of urban-to-suburban migration apparently occurring through the normal administration of the Section 8 rental assistance program in Alameda County, California. In other research for HUD and for the Fannie Mae Foundation, CUPR has examined best practices for fostering first time homeownership and analyzed mortgage lending for underserved minority markets. Under the sponsorship of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the Center examined how the state building code could be changed to foster more affordable housing, work that is currently being expanded upon in Barriers to Rehabilitation, a large-scale study being undertaken for HUD in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Enterprise Foundation.
In New Jersey, CUPR has been responsible for the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) numbers for municipalities of the state. For three rounds of affordable housing compliance, CUPR has calculated principal affordable housing numbers including the most recent (2004) “Growth Share” ratios.
The Center has also developed expertise on the methods being used around the country to preserve historic housing. This includes research on the economics of preservation activities sponsored by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Century Fund, the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, and the New Jersey and Texas State Historic Preservation offices.