Alexander von Hoffman
Alexander von Hoffman is a Senior Research Fellow and a 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 written many scholarly articles, including “The Return of the Slums in Postwar America,” in Alan Mayne, ed., Oxford Handbook on the Modern History of Slums, forthcoming; “The Origins of the Fair Housing Act of 1968,” in Justin Steil, Nicholas Kelly, and Lawrence Vale, eds., Furthering Fair Housing: Promises, Protests, and Prospects for Racial Justice in America’s Neighborhoods (Temple University Press, 2021); and “Calling Upon the Genius of Private Enterprise: The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 and the Liberal Turn to Public-Private Partnerships,” Studies in American Political Development (October 2013). Dr. von Hoffman has also published essays on housing and urban development in general-interest periodicals, including the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Boston Globe. At the Center, Dr. von Hoffman has written numerous papers and case studies on urban development and housing policy and practice and, in collaboration with the US Geological Survey, directed, “Patterns and Process of Sprawl,” a project that tracked metropolitan-area development from 1970 to 2000. His current research topics include the history of low-income housing policy in the United States, equitable development planning, and urban place making and governance. Prior to coming to the 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 PhD from the Department of History at Harvard.