December 18, 2014

Christopher E. Herbert to Lead Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and David T. Ellwood, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, announced today that Dr. Christopher E. Herbert has been appointed Managing Director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, effective January 1, 2015.  In making this announcement, the Deans noted that Herbert is a nationally recognized scholar and researcher with great depth of experience in housing analysis and public policy. 

“We are pleased that Chris has agreed to take on the leadership of the Center,” noted Mostafavi. “His depth and breadth of experience in housing research and public policy will be invaluable to the Center and the University as we continue to inform and facilitate public dialogue on the importance of housing in the context of 21st century challenges.”

Since 2010, Herbert has served as the Joint Center’s Director of Research, leading the team responsible for producing the Center’s annual State of the Nation’s Housing report, an essential resource for both public and private decision makers in the housing industry.  He has also overseen the Center’s diverse sponsored research programs as well as its ongoing analysis of important trends in housing, residential settlement patterns, and affordability challenges, both in the United States and elsewhere in the rapidly urbanizing world.

Dr. Herbert’s own research focuses on the economic and demographic dimensions of homeownership, access to credit, and the persistent challenges to affordability and access in the wake of the recession, housing bust, and foreclosure crisis.  His paper on the continued importance of homeownership in building assets for low- and moderate-income Americans was the basis for a recent New York Times editorial. Demonstrating a unique ability to link the brick and mortar concerns of businesses and communities with insights into how housing policy is shaped by economic and demographic trends, Herbert will provide sound leadership for the Center as it maps new directions in its unique partnership between academy, advocacy, and industry. 

“Chris Herbert has extensive knowledge and research expertise at the critical intersection of housing markets, housing affordability, and public policy,” said David T. Ellwood, Dean of Harvard Kennedy School. “His leadership on these issues will continue to keep the Joint Center at the forefront of housing policy research and discussion in this country so that it can maximize its positive impact in the world.”

The appointment includes an academic role at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where Herbert will teach a course in the Department of Urban Planning and Design in the Spring of 2015.  He will also oversee the Center’s fellowship programs, as well as its rich array of public programs, symposia, and events.

Having previously worked at the Joint Center in the 1990s, Herbert rejoined the center in 2010 from Abt Associates, where he was Senior Associate in the Housing and Community Development practice.  He is co-editor of Homeownership Built to Last: Balancing Access, Affordability, and Risk After the Housing Crisis (Brookings Institution Press, 2014), and a member of the Board of Directors of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Community Development Research Advisory Council, and the Center for Responsible Lending Research Advisory Council.  He holds a PhD and Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University, and received his undergraduate degree in History from Dartmouth College.

Contact: Kerry Donahue, (617) 495-7640, kerry_donahue@harvard.edu