Derek Hyra, Ph.D.

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

Derek Hyra is an associate 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). He is currently working on his fourth manuscript, Roots of the Riots: Race, Policy, and Neighborhood Inequality (under contract with the University of California Press).


Dr. Hyra’s research has been showcased in both academic journals, such as 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 PostThe 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. In 2018, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Academic Fellow and an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow. In 2017, he was an Aspen Institute Ideas Festival Scholar.


Dr. Hyra strongly believes in public service. He has served as board chair of the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, as an Alexandria Planning Commissioner, and as an Obama appointee on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Council on Underserved Communities. He was also a U.S. Congressional candidate in Northern Virginia in 2014. He currently serves as the chair-elect of the American Sociological Association’s Community and Urban Sociology Section and on the Advocacy Advisory Council of the United Planning Organization in Washington, DC. He received his B.A. from Colgate University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

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