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Housing Environments Research Group

The Housing Environments Research Group (HERG) at the Center for Human Environments brings together scholars and experts from a wide variety of disciplines to engage with communities, organizations, and governmental agencies to understand and improve housing and neighborhoods. HERG's expertise includes environmental, social and developmental psychology, anthropology, sociology, architecture, urban planning, statistical and qualitative methods, as well as urban policy.

HERG’s research program seeks to:

  • define and study the outcomes of community initiatives, housing programs and public policy
  • understand and articulate residents' efforts to organize for improvements in their housing and communities
  • evaluate different housing programs and community development activities
  • analyze and participate in community capacity building activities
  • engage in basic inquiry on the meaning of homes and the effects of housing on human development and well-being
  • translate knowledge about housing and community into design and policy

Working with residents and relevant organizations and institutions, HERG provides a theoretical framework for research and policy analysis that relates housing to individual and social development and political and economic forces. HERG is particularly interested in articulating the needs of traditionally under-represented groups by making their experiences, interests and their own efforts to improve their housing and communities more salient to policy-makers and housing providers. HERG emphasizes the importance of involving people and communities as participants with planners, designers, and researchers for issues that affect them. Much of the research is undertaken in partnership with residents and community organizations, often involving residents in the design, implementation, analysis, and interpretation of the research.