Ph.D. Student Wins Horowitz Foundation’s Most Outstanding Project Award

Jul 17 2023
By David Pavlak
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

A School of Public and International Affairs doctoral student’s dissertation on residential integration earned him the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy’s Irving Louis Horowitz Award for most outstanding project. Matthew Mleczko’s work was one of just 25 proposals recognized with a grant out of the more than 550 applications submitted.

“I’m proud, honored, and grateful to be a Horowitz Foundation award winner, especially considering all of the worthy candidates,” said Mleczko, a Ph.D. candidate in Population Studies and Social Policy. “I am sincerely grateful for the validation that others believe in the importance of my dissertation and my ability to successfully carry it forward.”

Matthew MleczkoMleczko’s research traces the evolution of residential integration in the metropolitan U.S. in the 21st century and highlights how zoning and land use policies have shaped the ethno-racial and socioeconomic segregation that characterizes many U.S. communities.

“I grew up questioning why I witnessed so much segregation in nearby Milwaukee or why my neighbors would protest an affordable housing development near our neighborhood,” Mleczko said. “Decades of research make clear how residential segregation resulting from misguided or blatantly discriminatory policies and collective decisions is a critical factor in driving poverty, racial inequality, and even political polarization and dysfunction in the U.S.”

In addition, Mleczko explores the possibility that zoning and land use reform can lead to sustained and successful integration by assessing the role that historical fair housing litigation played in shaping future zoning and land use policies. “We need a sense of urgency about promoting integration, not just to bring an end to systemic injustices, but also to promote a multiracial democracy and a society that grows more cohesive as it diversifies,” he said.

The Horowitz Foundation supports the advancement of social sciences research by providing grants to Ph.D. students who are completing their dissertations.

“The awards are competitive: The 25 applicants who are receiving awards this year represent less than five percent of those who applied,” said Mary Curtis-Horowitz, chair of the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy. “Although many of the proposals were on topics of social and political importance, the Foundation’s Trustees consider these proposals to be particularly strong, and vibrant examples of how policy research can help meet the challenges of today’s complex society.”