Research Associate, Wayne State University
Lasley is a research associate at the Center for Urban Studies where she is the data manager for Healthy Homes research. She also contributes to projects in urban safety, survey research, and urban mapping. Prior to joining the Center in 2013, she worked on natural and environmental policy issues at the University of New Orleans Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology. Her work primarily related to Hurricane Katrina and FEMA Map Modernization. She has also worked at the Center for Hazards Research and Policy Development and the Center for Sustainable Neighborhoods at the University of Louisville where she engaged in research related to natural hazards and new public housing models. Lasley has a PhD in Urban Studies from the University of New Orleans, a Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Louisville, and a BA in Geography from CUNY-Lehman. She also holds a bachelor’s of journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and was a sports copy editor and designer for five years.
With its abandoned factories and homes, Detroit may serve as the leading example of what happens as cities de-industrialize and lose population. High unemployment and lower wages have led to a massive disinvestment in housing. More than 62 percent of Detroit homes have serious health or safety issues.
Detroit would also serve as a leading example of housing rejuvenation. Detroit is a forerunner in implementing the Healthy Homes Rating System (HHRS) that HUD has adopted in 2011 to identify health and safety issues in homes for the purpose of directing services to households most at risk. With more than 700 HHRS assessments conducted in Detroit (maybe the most in the nation), the city now has the data needed to identify housing hazards prevalent in its housing stock, and direct services and policy in a manner that helps Detroit’s housing become part of a healthy solution, not an obstacle to a healthy lifestyle.
The Center of Urban Studies at Wayne State University has unique datasets that will permit me to descriptively detail the nature and geographic extent of housing hazards. The Detroit Healthy Homes Advocacy Project (DHHAP) allows for the analysis of these datasets to produce a white paper for use by policy elites while also producing PowerPoint presentations and visual one-page advocacy documents that can be used with community organizations and citizens to improve housing conditions in Detroit. Geographic analysis would also be conducted in the data collected in Greensboro, N.C. Stakeholders there can then use the data for similar purposes and share experiences with Detroit partners. Additionally, a HHRS Implementers Workshop will be held to bring together the relatively new assessors from around the nation to discuss their experiences in assessing with HUD’s new methodology and to brainstorm ways to move knowledge into action.
My New Connections Experience
I saw New Connections as a great opportunity to pursue new relationships and draw new attention to issues related to poverty, housing, and the health risks that sub-standard housing introduces to residents. It also provides me the opportunity to build on previous research by bringing research findings related to healthy housing into the policy arena to advocate for improved conditions for residents.
Being part of New Connections will give me the opportunity to grow a developing research agenda related to the environmental and health harms that the built environment can bring into the lives of everyday citizens. New Connections will help me to draw attention to these issues and to advocate for changes in policy that can improve the health and safety of residents in Detroit and across the country. New Connections will also help me to begin to convene others focused on the impact of housing on health to discuss ways to improve the data we collect and how to turn it into policy. This effort will allow me to be on the frontier of new research methods in housing and help me serve as thought leader in a growing community of housing health researchers.
Lasley is an environmental social scientist and geographer interested in the interaction between humans and the built and natural environments, and related health outcomes and community welfare. This includes the effect of the home environment on humans, and human exposure to natural and environmental hazards. Generally, she works across disciplines in policy-focused research projects that seek to mitigate future risks. Lasley is interested in how information about risk is understood, and acted upon. As well as the social impact of individual decisions about risk.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2015
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Healthy Communities
- Project Name: Detroit Healthy Homes Advocacy Project