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Prof. Orfield Speaks at White House Summit on First-Tier Suburbs

JULY 21, 2011—Professor Myron Orfield, Executive Director of the Institute on Race & Poverty (IRP), spoke at a White House summit entitled "Forum on First Suburbs, Inclusion, Sustainability, and Economic Growth" on July 18.

Orfield presented some of the findings included in an upcoming paper, "Federal Law Reform and America's Fully Developed Suburbs," co-authored by IRP Research Director Thomas Luce. In their paper, the authors examine the rapid social, racial, and economic changes surrounding the nation’s fully developed suburbs.

The summit was organized by Building ONE America, a network of statewide and metropolitan organizations, including IRP, launched in 2009 to work to stabilize and revitalize communities and local economies and to promote regional opportunity. About 150 local officials from fully developed U.S. suburbs nationwide and domestic agency policy staff and officials attended the summit, co-chaired by Georgine Welo of the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium and mayor of South Euclid, Ohio; and Nathanial Goodson of the Southeast Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project and councilman of Upper Darby, Penn.

Among the speakers were John Powell, Executive Director of the Kirwin Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University; Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation; and David Rusk, author of Cities Without Suburbs and Inside Game/Outside Game. One panel discussion focused on the effects of various trends on communities and another on regional activities to advance sustainability and growth.

Recently, Orfield was among experts providing commentary and perspectives in "The New Metropolis," a two-part documentary released nationally by PBS in May. The films are the first public examination of communities built after World War II. Then considered the American dream, these aging first-ring suburbs now face growing poverty and abandonment. Orfield’s work will be the subject of a second nationally released PBS documentary in the fall.

He was a member of a recent bipartisan U.S. commission on fair housing chaired by Henry Cisneros and Jack Kemp, served on President Barack Obama’s transition team on urban and regional policy, and was appointed by Minnesota Chief Justice Lorie Gildea to the state court’s Committee on Equality and Justice. Orfield teaches and writes in the fields of civil rights, state and local government and finance, land use, regional governance, and the legislative process. He has written three books, nearly 25 scholarly articles, and more than 60 policy reports on American metropolitan areas. In 2005-06, he held the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs, established to support research on Minnesota urban and regional affairs. He is an affiliate faculty member at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.


Myron Orfield

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