Rodney Harrell is vice president, family, home community for AARP. In this role, he is the company’s lead on housing issues and leads the AARP Public Policy Institute’s team of experts on long-term services, family care, and livable communities. Harrell’s research on housing preferences, neighborhood choice and community livability is integral to the groundbreaking Livability Index, which measures the livability of every neighborhood and community in the United States.
Prior to joining AARP, Dr. Harrell was a research and evaluation consultant working with a range of local and national clients, and an instructor at the University of Maryland. Previously, he served as Policy Officer for the Governor of Maryland and led programs with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development/Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.
In addition, Dr. Harrell is a member of the Council of Champions for the Coalition for Smarter Growth and Vice Chair of the Board of Visitors for the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland. He previously served as vice president of policy for the planning and black community division of the American Planning Association, and serves on several community boards in Maryland. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies and was named in the initial class of Top Influencers of Aging for his work with AARP.
He holds a doctorate in urban planning and design from the University of Maryland, earned a dual master’s degree in public affairs and urban planning from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, and graduated summa cum laude from honors program from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
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