Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bringing Research Out of the Cocoon

What happens when the Federal Reserve brings researchers together from across the nation for a Community Affairs Research Conference?  As attendees learned recently, you get solid research presentations plus a call to make the research relevant.  Papers, presentations, and discussions on topics such as the impacts and use of foreclosure prevention counseling, shared equity homeownership, LIHTC, credit scores, loan modification, and fringe financial services can only inform policy discussions if researchers learn how to communicate them outside of academic circles.  Talking to other people living inside the ivory tower (or the research cocoon if your home base lacks a tower) about methodologies and regressions is not going to turn current research consensus into new policies being implemented or existing policies adapted or maintained.

The Community Development staff at the Federal Reserve is emerging from the research cocoon with a series of videos highlighting neighborhood stabilization approaches in Cleveland, Phoenix, and Detroit.  The Cleveland video highlights the area’s use of data to inform their stabilization efforts.  The Phoenix video talks about the use of public-private partnerships to bring Realtors in as part of the neighborhood stabilization solution.  The video about Detroit shows how the city is bringing community leaders together to think about strategic use of resources when blight is so widespread.

The big challenge for the housing research community is to communicate the findings of rigorous studies as clearly as the Fed can now showcase strong practices from the field.



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