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Derek Hyra, Ph.D.

Professor and Founding Director of the Metropolitan Policy Center at American University.

Derek Hyra is a professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy within the School of Public Affairs at American University. His research focuses on processes of neighborhood change, with an emphasis on housing, urban politics, and race. Dr. Hyra is the co-editor of Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, DC(Routledge 2016) and author of The New Urban Renewal: The Economic Transformation of Harlem and Bronzeville(University of Chicago Press 2008) and Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City (University of Chicago Press 2017). His fourth book, Roots of the Revolts: Ferguson, Baltimore, and Beyond (University of California Press 2024) will be released next year. 


Dr. Hyra’s research has been showcased in both academic journals, such as City & Community, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Urban Affairs, Urban Affairs Review, and Urban Studies, and popular media outlets, including the British Broadcasting Corporation, Chicago Public Radio, C-SPAN, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. He has also received several important grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He had been an Aspen Institute Ideas Festival Scholar, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Academic Fellow, and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow. In 2023, he received the Publicly Engaged Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association’s Community and Urban Sociology Section. 

Dr. Hyra strongly believes in professional and public service. He has served in several positions including board chair of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Alexandria (Virginia) Planning Commissioner, Obama appointee on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Council on Underserved Communities, and chair of the American Sociological Association’s Community and Urban Sociology Section. He currently serves as the President-Elect of the Eastern Sociological Society, member of the City of Falls Church (Virginia) Planning Commission, Editorial Advisory Board Member of Housing Policy Debate, and External Advisory Board Member of Boston University’s Initiative on Cities. He received his B.A. from Colgate University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. 

Additional Information 

Prof. Derek Hyra is a national expert on gentrification, housing, race, and urban politics, and he regularly contributes to national urban policy conversations. He has several noteworthy books on these important topics including Roots of the Revolts: Ferguson, Baltimore, and Beyond; Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City; Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, DC; and The New Urban Renewal: The Economic Transformation of Harlem and Bronzeville. Prof. Hyra’s research has been featured in print, online, and broadcast media outlets, including The Atlanta Black Star, Bloomberg News, BBC, CBS, Chicago Public Radio, C-SPAN, Fox5DC News, HuffPost, RFI, Slate Magazine, USA Today, Citylab, Nextcity, Governing Magazine, Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, Crain’s New York, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Tribune, Voice of America, The Washington Post, The Washington Business Journal, The Washington City Paper, The Washingtonian, WAMU, WHUR, and WPFW. You can listen to Prof. Hyra discuss some of his research here:

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