This report summarizes the views of the meeting participants; it does not present any consensus agreements or recommendations. The planning meeting itself was informal, and by design exploratory and suggestive, guided by the understanding that HUD would use the discussion to make decisions about a postdoctoral program.
In recent years, the economic and social challenges of urban development have become increasingly significant (Gale and Pack, 2000). Although U.S. metropolitan areas are powerful engines of national economic growth and well-being, many cities, as well as older suburbs, are experiencing well-documented problems of population decline, slow job growth, income inequality, and poverty. Meanwhile, many newer suburbs are showing the strains of development patterns that create commuting problems, traffic congestion, overcrowded schools, and the disappearance of open space (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1998). In coming decades, understanding the dynamics of American cities and regions will be more important than ever because of the likelihood that problems that are now widespread will become even more severe with time (Gale and Pack, 2000).
Thus, the country will be challenged for the foreseeable future with understanding complicated social and economic processes affecting metropolitan areas, and using this information to guide planning and policies (National Research Council, 1999). The importance of urban research to science and practice was, not surprisingly, an underlying theme of the meeting. This research, using a variety of methodologies and perspectives,