Kathryn Howell

Director, National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education
Associate Professor, Urban Studies & Planning Program

Kathryn Howell is the Director of the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education and an Associate Professor, Urban Studies & Planning Program. Prior to coming to NCSG,  she was the co-founder and co-director of the RVA Eviction Lab and an associate professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. Howell’s research unpacks concepts of physical and cultural displacement and power in changing communities and investigates ways that policy and planning can be used to address these issues. Specifically, she interrogates the polices, governance structures and roles of tenants and advocacy in the preservation of affordable housing. Further, she investigates ways that redevelopment, implementation and maintenance of cultural landscapes can facilitate or abridge the right to the city for communities of color. Her book, Affordable Housing Preservation in Washington, DC: A Framework for Local Funding, Collaborative Governance and Community Organizing for Change focuses on the ways tenants can be centered in policies and practices that keep housing affordable as cities change. As the co-founder of the RVA Eviction Lab, a community-responsive data initiative at VCU, she engaged with a range of community partners to ensure data supported housing justice efforts of organizers, service providers and policy advocates.

Before pursuing a Ph.D., Dr. Howell worked for Maryland and Washington, DC housing and community development agencies focusing on affordable housing preservation, state program monitoring and inclusionary zoning.


Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning
University of Texas – Austin


Master of Arts in Public Policy
Johns Hopkins University


Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
University of Georgia


Kate (Kathryn) Howell headshot
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