Rodney Harrell, PhD (@DrUrbanPolicy)

Rodney Harrell, PhD  (@DrUrbanPolicy) Expert on issues and solutions that impact people and the places where they live. Check back regularly for new thoughts and more. The views, opinions and judgments expressed are solely my own.

Message contents have not been reviewed or approved by AARP. Dr. Rodney Harrell is an internationally known expert on issues facing people in cities, suburbs and the regions around them. He has been a featured speaker for audiences in Washington, the DC metro region, across the U.S. and the world to discuss issues of housing, neighborhoods, livable communities, racial integration and other topics. He is also the voice behind @DrUrbanPolicy on Twitter and DrUrbanPolicy.com Currently, he is AARP's Director for Livable Communities and serves on several boards and committees. Dr. Harrell is an author of several publications including “Housing Older Adults: Impacts of the Recession," “Preserving Affordability and Access in Livable Communities” and “Understanding Modern Segregation: Suburbanization and the Black Middle Class.” His prior work experience comes from the government, academia, and nonprofit sectors, and has included consulting, policy development, program management, community development and teaching. Dr. Harrell was graduated summa cm laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the honors program at Howard University, earned dual master’s degrees in Public Affairs and in Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and received a PhD in Urban Planning from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was a Wylie Fellow and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

We must confront the full legacy of our past if we are to move forward, and we should be very careful about who we choos...
06/28/2020

We must confront the full legacy of our past if we are to move forward, and we should be very careful about who we choose to honor.

Read my statement on the renaming of the Wilson School at Princeton University to the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs - the lessons apply to all: http://www.drurbanpolicy.com/2020/06/removing-woodrow-wilsons-name-from.html

06/25/2020
REALTIST NAREB

I enjoyed being part of this conversation with REALTIST NAREB on Black Homeownership - an important and timely topic.

Check it out and let me know what you think about the issue below.

NAREB - Strategies to Increase Black Homeownership Town Hall

#RealtistNation - join #NAREB #Today at 1pm EST for a town hall on "Strategies to Increase Black Homeownership in the United States" Via Zoom & Facebook Live
#BlackHomeownership #BlackHomeownershipMatters #NAREBAdvocacy2020

Glad to see that my article is inspiring conversation!
09/18/2018
The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Glad to see that my article is inspiring conversation!

How can more people stay in their own homes as they age?

We'll discuss today!

From the elementary school where I voted to the US Capitol, my commute today reminded me how important it is to vote. It...
11/08/2016

From the elementary school where I voted to the US Capitol, my commute today reminded me how important it is to vote.

It's not just about the president: today is your day to make local decisions that impact your community and national ones that impact all of us.

I'm wearing bipartisan purple to make the point that we all need to do our part and work together.

In other words, if you haven't voted, get out there and do it!

04/02/2016

LinkedIn recently notified my connections that it was my 8th anniversary at AARP, and I was blown away by how many people sent nice messages.

Looking back, I have been able to work on and lead some great things during that time - the creation of a livable communities policy area, our Solutions Forum on affordable housing near transit, our Universal Design Roundtable, the design and creation of the first neighborhood-based Livability Index, the Future of Housing summit, several great publications and more speeches and presentations than I ever expected to give, including opportunities to visit and help communities improve their livability.

8 years ago, I didn't know how great social media was going to be for staying in touch. Stay tuned for more exciting things to come, including the ongoing design competition from our friends at Home Matters. I'll be judging winners soon. I'll also have some interesting travel adventures to share.

Thanks everyone for your continued support of me and my work - none of it would be possible without many great friends, colleagues, team members, mentors and organizational leaders, both inside and outside of AARP. I can't name you all here but thanks - I appreciate all of the opportunities and assistance that you have given.

Thanks to the folks at Next Avenue for adding me to their list of top influencers in the nation. It's an honor to join t...
10/29/2015
Rodney Harrell Honored as 2015 Influencer in Aging

Thanks to the folks at Next Avenue for adding me to their list of top influencers in the nation. It's an honor to join this illustrious group.

One of 50 thought leaders, innovators, doctors, authors, advocates, experts and everyday people who are changing how we age and think about aging.

In Today's USA Today, I discuss Aging in Place.
04/02/2015
Retirees embrace ways to stay put, age in place

In Today's USA Today, I discuss Aging in Place.

Although some people want to move to a warmer climate or exotic locale in retirement, for most folks their current home is where their heart is....

02/17/2015

Snowed in on Tuesday? Watch Fox News Channel at 10am Eastern for the discussion on older adults and housing choices - you may see someone that you know.

This Week, Politico did a great piece on New York's Age Friendly  efforts. "Seniors Take Manhattan"It features an interv...
01/15/2015

This Week, Politico did a great piece on New York's Age Friendly efforts. "Seniors Take Manhattan"

It features an interview with me and a good description of the Livability Index that I, Jana Lynott, Shannon Guzman and others have been working on for years - it will launch this spring.

Read more here: Seniors Take Manhattan
How NYC became a global leader for senior living—one Zumba class at a time.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/senior-living-initiatives-ill-take-manhattan-114227.html#ixzz3OvxqC6nu

Older adults share many desires with younger generations: safe, affordable communities, transportation, parks, etc. I'm ...
01/05/2015
Slowing Down in Stages, on Gradual Path to Full Retirement

Older adults share many desires with younger generations: safe, affordable communities, transportation, parks, etc.

I'm glad to share my thoughts and AARP Public Policy Institute research in this article.

A growing number of Americans are downsizing and retiring in multiple steps, continuing to work at least part time and moving more than once.

Thanks to the Prince George's County Social Innovation Fund for this recognition!
01/05/2015
Forty UNDER 40: Rodney Harrell

Thanks to the Prince George's County Social Innovation Fund for this recognition!

Rodney Harrell is director of Livable Communities at AARP and works to help communities serve all residents, regardless of age, income, ability, or background. He is a national leader on many issue...

When I read a piece like Michael E Dyson's essay on #Ferguson, I'm more interested in the comments to see the wide range...
11/30/2014
Where Do We Go After Ferguson?

When I read a piece like Michael E Dyson's essay on #Ferguson, I'm more interested in the comments to see the wide range of perspectives and reactions. It proves that people can see the same things very differently.

http://t.co/r9NvwhHI1s

Ferguson illuminates our country’s racial divide.

We previewed the  AARP Public Policy Institute's Livability Index and our potential health metrics at the American Publi...
11/19/2014

We previewed the AARP Public Policy Institute's Livability Index and our potential health metrics at the American Public Health Association's Annual Meeting. Note that "health" will be represented in several areas across the index.

I heard "Healthography" and "Health in Everything" several times at #APHA14 - I'm glad to see that APHA is getting out of silos, and recognizing that place matters.

That interaction between health and other factors of livability is a crucial part of the #LivIndex project - we plan to measure the livability of every community across the US. One thing that we have taken into account is that communities where people are healthy are more livable.

Take a look at our potential health-related measures - would they be useful or interesting to have for your neighborhood/community?

11/11/2014

Happy Veterans Day to all who served and to their families as well.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is a perfect time to reflect on military service and what it means for all of us.

#VeteransDay

The Battle of Bladensburg was 200 years ago today. It didn't work out that well for the US, but the lesson is that defea...
08/24/2014

The Battle of Bladensburg was 200 years ago today. It didn't work out that well for the US, but the lesson is that defeat can make you stronger in the end.

It also draws attention to one of my favorite local parks in the DC region - here are some shots of the site.

“The vast majority of older adults want to stay in their homes and communities as long as they can... Nobody wants to be...
08/06/2014
Part Broker, Part Therapist, Real Estate Agents for Older Adults on the Move

“The vast majority of older adults want to stay in their homes and communities as long as they can... Nobody wants to be forced to go into a nursing home. They've built up their social connections. They like their friends, their favorite grocery store or park; they’re comfortable in those spaces.”

People don't necessarily realize how complicated housing decisions are. No matter one's age, we build connections to our neighborhood and communities and any decision to move must take that into account. I'm glad that the reporter captured that nuance in my interview and put it into the article.

About 850 senior move managers in the United States are helping older adults manage the psychological toll of finding a new home.

Retirement moves may be "making a comeback," but as I said in the article, many of the top destinations for older Americ...
06/17/2014
Retirement moves make a comeback

Retirement moves may be "making a comeback," but as I said in the article, many of the top destinations for older Americans are the same as those for younger people. AARP Public Policy Institute's What Is Livable survey (at http://bit.ly/WhatsLivable) shows that many older adults want the same things in a community that younger people appreciate.

Steven Ramos, a retired letter carrier, estimated his cost of living would drop 80 percent when he moved from New York to a rental community in central Florida. In 12 years, Ramos saw the taxes on his modest

Homewnership is not always the best option, especially if you are planning to move in the near future.  Everyone should ...
05/22/2014
Is It Better to Buy or Rent?

Homewnership is not always the best option, especially if you are planning to move in the near future. Everyone should do this type of calculation.

The choice between buying a home and renting one is among the biggest financial decisions that many adults make.

Understanding modern poverty in the US - read “Hardship Makes a New Home in the Suburbs” http://t.co/RYe759vaxt ht @beru...
05/10/2014
Hardship Makes a New Home in the Suburbs

Understanding modern poverty in the US - read “Hardship Makes a New Home in the Suburbs” http://t.co/RYe759vaxt ht @berubea1

The suburbs east of Los Angeles were once a magnet for restless newcomers with big aspirations, but jobs never really followed. Today, poverty is growing faster in suburban areas than in cities or rural areas.

A few recent media clips to share:
05/05/2014

A few recent media clips to share:

Shared housing is one of the options that helps older adults to stay in their homes. Rodney Harrell discusses the benefits and growth potential of shared housing with ABC World News http://t.co/ZfhChPv4D0 and the LA Times http://t.co/gj11jZrwkM.

For more on housing options for older adults, see our livable communities page: www.aarp.org/ppi/liv-com

05/05/2014
Aging in Place - An Interview with Rodney Harrell, PhD

New video from the American Planning Association featuring my discussion with Anna Ricklin about Aging in Place and our new research.

APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center's Anna Ricklin talks with Rodney Harrell, PhD about "aging in place". Rodney Harrell is the Senior Strate...

Visit our new #LivIndex homepage and see our two new reports on measuring livability. http://bit.ly/LivIndex
04/25/2014

Visit our new #LivIndex homepage and see our two new reports on measuring livability. http://bit.ly/LivIndex

Our AARP Public Policy Institute Measuring Livability project will soon be live. Check back on April 25 for our project ...
04/22/2014

Our AARP Public Policy Institute Measuring Livability project will soon be live.

Check back on April 25 for our project launch and see how we plan to answer the question: "Is this a Good Place to Live?"

Mark your calendars now for May 2nd at 12ET and see http://bit.ly/LivIndexChat to join our discussion about this work

Happy #EmancipationDay, DC! The Compensated Emancipation Act freed slaves in DC on this day in 1862.There is no bigger p...
04/16/2014
emancipation | Emancipation

Happy #EmancipationDay, DC! The Compensated Emancipation Act freed slaves in DC on this day in 1862.

There is no bigger policy change in US history than the abolition of slavery - it changed the course of human events forever.

For more about the history of Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia, see http://emancipation.dc.gov

CONTACT: Andrew Chang (EOM) 202.727.5560, [email protected]; Gwendolyn Crump (MPD) 202.727.9346; [email protected]

Cabrini Green is an example of both old and new strategies for affordable housing. Housing strategies that just focus on...
04/08/2014
The Future of Chicago's Most Infamous Public Housing Project

Cabrini Green is an example of both old and new strategies for affordable housing. Housing strategies that just focus on one piece (efficiently providing cheap shelter) miss the complicated interactions between housing and other important issues - transportation, health, safety, education, access to community amenities, etc.

The promise of the new direction in affordable housing is that people who are housed won't be in concentrated poverty. At the same time, we cannot give up on making enough housing available for those that need it. The redevelopment of Cabrini Green is long needed, and mixed income strategies hold a great deal of promise - I just hope that Chicago makes sure that enough people are served (and served well) by their housing strategy.

The Chicago Housing Authority has unveiled its redevelopment plan for Cabrini-Green.

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