Derek Hyra is an associate professor in the School of Public Affairs and Founding Director of the Metropolitan Policy Center at American University. His research focuses on processes of neighborhood change, with an emphasis on housing, urban politics, and race. He is a leading expert on gentrification and equitable neighborhood development policy.

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IN THE MEDIA

Derek often provides provocative commentary in mainstream media outlets on housing and economic development challenges in urban American.

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WAMU

"Derek Hyra, an American University professor who studies neighborhood change, wrote about the complex issues around dog parks. He notes the Chevy Chase fight wasn’t about the usual debates — resources or new people moving in — it was about who had more political power. But that’s not usually the case, he said. Hyra says when communities debate amenities, such as dog parks, it can get contentious. 'It’s not so much about the pet, or the park, it’s about who controls space in a community. And I think that dog parks and different public amenities really symbolize and represent who does and who does not have the power in particular communities.'"

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Washington City Paper

"As crime rates began to decrease in the ’90s and early 2000s, groups such as Cultural Tourism DC began what Hyra calls “black branding” with offerings such as the African American Heritage Trail. WMATA began selling properties near Metro stations that were redeveloped into high-end residential properties such as the Ellington apartments, named after African American jazz composer Duke Ellington, at 1301 U Street NW. The proliferation of jobs throughout the D.C. region after the recession prompted white millennials, who had already begun entering the city in years prior, to come in droves, according to Hyra’s research."

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Bisnow Dallas-Forth Worth

"Housing unaffordability used to be limited to places like New York and Washington, D.C., but is now hitting other U.S. markets, said Derek Hyra, an associate professor with the School of Public Affairs at American University who has been studying gentrification nationwide."

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Science News

"However, sociologist Derek Hyra suggests immigration trends may not be a main driver of gentrification. Instead, he wonders if all people, including blacks, whites and recent immigrants from Asia and Latin America, are simply following new jobs that happen to be located near historically black neighborhoods."

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CityLab

"In his book, Race, Class, Politics in the Cappuccino City, American University sociologist Derek Hyra focuses on the cultural and political transformation of Shaw. While the current iteration of the neighborhood advertises its cultural diversity—there’s an apartment complex named after Langston Hughes and a cocktail bar named after Marvin Gaye—that diversity is largely superficial, he writes. Newcomers, often more affluent than existing residents, often don’t understand the culture, rituals, needs, and background of the community they are joining, stoking resentment."

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The Washington Post

"Like the Ellington, named for Duke Ellington, on U Street, they’re examples of what urban-policy expert Derek Hyra has called “black branding” — a controversial trend within a trend in Washington that taps black culture to sell to white newcomers."

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The Virginia Mercury

"Hyra, who made the aforementioned presentation to the Housing Commission, says that Republicans are right that localities should dedicate money to affordable housing. But he said the state needs to chip in, too, because the need is great and the problem is growing around the state, not just in Northern Virginia. He pointed to a study released earlier this year by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition that placed three Virginia metro areas — Washington, D.C. (which includes Northern Virginia), Virginia Beach and Richmond – among the 10 “most intensely” gentrified."

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Bloomberg Businessweek

"Many young people aren’t interested in living in a community of high-rise condo towers like Crystal City, says Hyra, who studies gentrification. Many will end up in Arlandria and other nearby communities. “My feeling is that many of Amazon’s workers won’t choose to be directly in Crystal City, because of its sterile, corporate feel,” he says. Regan-Levine says Crystal City will be more attractive after the redevelopment, with trendy restaurants and coffee shops, as well as new parks."

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The Eagle

"Although some see Amazon’s planned arrival in Arlington as a potential opportunity for universities in Washington, Derek Hyra, an AU associate professor in the School of Public Affairs, has concerns about how Amazon employees who move to the area might contribute to displacement and increased housing costs in low-income neighborhoods. "

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The Huffington Post

“With this economic boom, the tax base in Washington, D.C., has grown, but so has racial inequality,” Hyra told HuffPost. “There’s a study by the Urban Institute that shows that white household wealth is 81 times that of black family wealth. There’s immense inequality in the city.”

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The Washington Post

Today, Ben’s Chili Bowl is one of just a few places in Shaw where people from all walks of life come together, said Derek Hyra, a professor at American University and author of a 2017 book about gentrification in that neighborhood. “Ben’s Chili Bowl symbolizes the best of mixed-race, mixed-income D.C.,” Hyra writes in “Race, Class and Politics in the Cappuccino City.”

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Equal Times

"... “The Shaw/U Street area was the political powerhouse of DC’s Black community. Losing the Black majority there is symbolic of losing political power. Black churches are also leaving for other areas. It’s almost like losing your homeland,” explains Derek Hyra, author of the book Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City..."

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The Village Voice

"The outcry against Summerhill was also swift and fierce, with neighborhood residents gathering outside in protest of what they saw as a gentrifying white business owner profiting from the pain of the community and commodifying blackness, a trend that American University public affairs professor Derek S. Hyra, in his book Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City, calls 'black branding.'"

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The Washington Post

"In a June 9 talk at the museum, author and American University professor Derek Hyra added to the conversation, presenting research and analysis from his 2017 book Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City. Hyra discussed the need for proactive and inclusive housing policies in neighborhoods with skyrocketing property values — against a complex backdrop of race and political factors."

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Governing Magazine

“Developers are looking at areas in the city where they can buy low and sell high,” Derek Hyra, an American University professor who has written about gentrification in Washington, told the newspaper. “Developers want to maximize their return. This is not a conspiracy. This is capitalism.”

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The Washington Post

"Derek Hyra, who directs the Metropolitan Policy Center at American University’s School of Public Affairs and has written extensively on gentrification in the District, says that despite the free jitney rides and the fire pit, the Wharf is not really accessible to everyone. “It’s a dynamic space,” he says, but the prices at some of the new restaurants make it “a space of affluence ... a playground for lobbyists and lawyers — highly paid professionals.” He says that, during a recent visit to the Wharf, he inquired about renting a 100-seat conference space for a lecture and was quoted $8,500 as the starting rate. “That’s really for corporations, not the average D.C. citizen,” he says."

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The Washington Post

"As the District gentrified over the past two decades, income and wealth disparities between whites and blacks deepened. But Derek Hyra, an American University professor who has written about gentrification in Washington, said Theresa would have to produce evidence that D.C. officials were targeting a certain race to prove discrimination."

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Atlanta Black Star

"It’s an odd occurrence documented by author and American University professor Derek S. Hyra in his 2017 book “Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City” when recounting a Washington fundraiser in which new residents described crime in the area as an amusing joke of sorts, writing, “They described neighborhood carjackings, shootings, and purse snatchings with laughter and jokes.” Hyra added, “It seemed that the neighborhood violence gave some newcomers … something interesting to talk about at parties.”"

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CityLab

"The logical end of critiquing “cool” in this fashion looks much like Derek Hyra’s Race, Class, and Politics In the Cappuccino City. Hyra’s book, as I wrote for City Observatory earlier this year, “operates firmly within the boundaries of the consumptive premise of gentrification, confirming to the popular notion that cocktail bars, restaurants of a particular caliber, boutique shops, and the people who frequent them are drivers of gentrification.”"

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New York Times

"Other solutions are available, said Derek Hyra, a professor of public administration and policy at American University and the author of “Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City.” He pointed to a program proposed by a District Council member in Washington that would provide grants to help longtime businesses remain and stay competitive."