Alexander von Hoffman

Alexander von Hoffman

Senior Research Fellow

Alexander von Hoffman is a Senior Research Fellowat the Joint Center and Lecturer in the Urban Planning and Design department at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.   An historian by training, he is the author of House by House, Block by Block: The Rebirth of America’s Urban Neighborhoods (Oxford University Press, 2003); Fuel Lines for the Urban Revival Engine: Neighborhoods, Community Development Corporations, and Financial Intermediaries (Fannie Mae Foundation, 2001); and Local Attachments: The Making of an American Urban Neighborhood, 1850 to 1920 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).  He has published many scholarly articles, including most recently “The Past, Present, and Future of Community Development in the United States” in Nancy O. Andrews and David J. Erickson, eds., Investing in What Works for America’s Communities (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 2012) and “History Lessons for Today’s Housing Policy: The Political Processes of Making Low-Income Housing Policy” in Housing Policy Debate (Summer 2012).  Dr. von Hoffman has also written essays on housing and urban development for general-interest periodicals, including the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Boston Globe

While at the Joint Center, Dr. von Hoffman has written numerous working papers and case studies on urban development and housing policy and practice and directed a three-year project in collaboration with the U. S. Geological Survey entitled “Patterns and Process of Sprawl,” which explored metropolitan development since 1970.  His current major research projects are a history of low-income housing policy in the United States; the emergence of the issue of the preservation of affordable housing; and the rise of regulatory barriers to housing development in greater Boston.  

Prior to coming to the Joint Center, Dr. von Hoffman was an associate professor of urban planning and design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Fellow at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government of the Harvard Kennedy School.  He received a BA in English and an MA in History from the University of Massachusetts Boston, an MA in History from Harvard University, and a Ph. D. from the Department of History at Harvard.