Trachtenberg School Professor Co-Hosts Research Events on D.C.'s History of Racial Segregation and Tax Incentives to Lure Business Investment

Panelists Donny James, Ryan Touhill and Lori Metcalf at Pew Charitable Trusts.
Panelists Donny James, Ryan Touhill and Lori Metcalf discuss tax incentives as a way to lure business to a region.
December 05, 2018

Trachtenberg School Professor and urban policy scholar Leah Brooks is the director of GW’s Center for Washington Area Studies. The Center studies the Washington area – the city, suburbs and everywhere in between – to produce research that makes better policy.

In October and November, the Center co-sponsored and wrote policy briefs for two research events.

Just after the announcement of Arlington, VA as one of Amazon’s HQ2 sites, the Center for Washington Area Studies co-hosted “Tax Incentives: Strategies for Successful Economic Development” with the Pew Charitable Trusts. The event featured a policy brief by Professor Brooks and Caitlyn Valadez, MPA ’20, and a including Ryan Touhill, MPA ’08, who currently serves as Chief of Staff for the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership; Lori Metcalf, PhD ’12, a fiscal analyst in the D.C. Office of Revenue Analysis; and Donny James from Prince George’s County Chief Real Estate Office, Revenue Authority. WAMU, the local NPR station in the region, wrote about the Center’s work in “D.C. Gives Tech Companies Millions of Dollars in Tax Breaks. Are They Worth It?

Earlier in the fall, the Center for Washington Area Studies worked with Prologue DC and the Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Area Studies hosted the launch of Prologue DC’s Mapping Segregation website.  The website has narrative histories of racial covenants and deed restrictions in the capital.  To put this work in context, Brooks and Valadez wrote a policy brief detailing the location of African-Americans in the DC area from 1910 to the present. The Center also hosted a panel discussion including Trachtenberg School Professor Gregory Squires and moderated by WAMU’s Sasha Ann Simons.  Local media including DC Line and Greater Greater Washington covered the event.

“We convene events and produce research to provide policy insight for all the neighborhoods and communities of the greater DC area,” said Professor Brooks. “By using data analytics and compelling data visualizations, combined with good policy analysis, we aim to expand the frontier of urban research. We create and interpret policy-relevant research focusing on real estate, the built environment, local government and transportation.”

Learn more about the Center for Washington Area Studies.