Center for Urban Affairs, HUD Will Study Urban Migration

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded two contracts to the Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Affairs to develop models of urban migration patterns. David L. Birch '59, associate professor of Business Administration, will be in charge of the Center's programs.

The two contracts, one of $145,000 and the other of $585,000, will aim at developing models capable of explaining wide-spread migration patterns in the United States and explaining the evolution of neighborhoods.

Though the two contracts are for distinctly different studies, the data from the two programs will be used jointly. Birch, principle investigator for both programs, said yesterday, "Both programs will be very dependent on the data obtained in the other."

"The primary objective is to determine why people move from one place to another and what are the consequences of such moves," Birch said.

The data will be used to make accurate projections on neighborhood housing and job needs, tax requirements, and public service demands. Birch mentioned energy requirements as an example of problems the data would help solve.


The contracts will be apportioned among three different research groups--the Oak Ridge, Tenn., Computer Center, the University of Indiana, and the Harvard-MIT Joint Center.

The data used for the studies will come from census records, and will include business patterns, demographic trends, land use and employment data.

One important set of data previously unused will be that supplied by the Social Security Administration. The SSA has used a random sample of 1 per cent of all people registered with it to collect data on migration according to personal income, age, race and marital status.

"For the first time we have data on who goes where and from where," Birch said.

"Migration patterns appear as a nation-wide irrational system of flows," Birch said. "This study will help us understand migration decisions."