Michael Lens is Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy, and Associate Faculty Director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies. Professor Lens’s research and teaching explore the potential of public policy to address housing market inequities that lead to negative outcomes for low-income families and communities of color. This research involves housing interventions such as subsidies, tenant protections, and production. Professor Lens regularly publishes this work in leading academic journals and his research has won awards from the Journal of the American Planning Association and Housing Policy Debate.
In ongoing research, Professor Lens is studying the neighborhood context of eviction, the role of charter schools in neighborhood change, and is engaged in multiple projects (with Mike Manville and Paavo Monkkonen) concerning housing supply in California. Lens is also working on a book project that examines fifty years of neighborhood change in Black neighborhoods following the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
Professor Lens’s research has received funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the Arnold Foundation, and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, among other sources.
Professor Lens teaches courses on quantitative analysis, poverty and inequality, community development, housing policy, and research methods.
For an appointment, please send an email.
SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS
It’s Time to End Single-Family Zoning
Journal of the American Planning Association (Forthcoming)
With Michael Manville and Paavo Monkkonen
Extremely Low-Income Households, Housing Affordability and the Great Recession
Urban Studies 55(8): 1615-1635
Spatial Job Search, Residential Job Accessibility, and Employment Outcomes for Returning Parolees
Demography 54: 755-800
With Naomi Sugie
Employment Proximity and Outcomes for Moving to Opportunity Families
Journal of Urban Affairs 39(3): 547-562
With C.J. Gabbe
Job Accessibility Among Housing Subsidy Recipients
Housing Policy Debate 24(4): 671-691
Best Paper of 2013-14, Housing Policy Debate
The Impact of Housing Vouchers on Crime in U.S. Cities and Suburbs
Urban Studies 51(6): 1274-1289
The Limits of Housing Investment as a Revitalization Tool: Crime in New York City
Journal of the American Planning Association 79(3): 211-221
Best Article of 2014, Journal of the American Planning Association
Safe, but Could be Safer: Why do Voucher Households Live in Higher Crime Neighborhoods?
Cityscape 15(3): 131-152
Subsidized Housing and Crime: Theory, Mechanisms, and Evidence
Journal of Planning Literature 28(4): 352-363
American Murder Mystery Revisited: Do Housing Voucher Households Cause Crime?
Housing Policy Debate, 22(4): 551-574
Do Vouchers Help Low-Income Households Live in Safer Neighborhoods? Evidence on the Housing Choice Voucher Program (with Ingrid Gould Ellen and Katherine O’Regan)
2011, Cityscape, 13(3): 135-159