Urban Research Beyond UW

Urban research outside of the University of Washington. If you think your organization should be included let us know at urbanuw@uw.edu.

Research Center Focus Mission
Center for Urban Research and Education
Rutgers University
"CURE (Center for Urban Research and Education) encourages, facilitates and promotes innovative research by scholars at Rutgers University and around the nation on issues that face Camden, New Jersey, the Philadelphia metropolitan region and other large cities and metropolitan cities in the U.S. and abroad. It also helps train the next generation of urban scholars by providing opportunities for students to become involved with ongoing research projects."
Center for Urban Science and Progress
NYU
“The Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) is a unique public-private research center that uses New York City as its laboratory and classroom to help cities around the world become more productive, livable, equitable, and resilient. CUSP observes, analyzes, and models cities to optimize outcomes, prototype new solutions, formalize new tools and processes, and develop new expertise/experts. These activities will make CUSP the world’s leading authority in the emerging field of 'Urban Informatics.'”
Center for Urban & Regional Studies
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“The Center for Urban & Regional Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a multi-disciplinary research center focusing on issues and problems faced by our nation’s cities and regions. It is one of the oldest university-based research centers of its kind in the country. Created in 1957, the Center supports research activity and collaboration across campus through its Faculty Fellows program that draws on the expertise of over 80 faculty members from over 20 schools, departments, curricula, and research centers across the campus. The Center’s mission is to promote and support high-quality basic and applied research on planning, policy, and interdisciplinary social issues and challenges we face in urban, regional, and rural settings in North Carolina and around the world.”
Urban Theory Lab
Harvard GSD
“Based at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Urban Theory Lab (UTL) is a research team concerned to rethink the basic categories, methods and cartographies of urban theory in order to better understand and influence emergent forms of planetary urbanization.”
Institute of Urban and Regional Development
UC Berkeley
“IURD conducts collaborative, interdisciplinary research and practical work that reveals the dynamics of communities, cities, and regions and informs public policy. Rooted in the social sciences, IURD’s work has steadily gained recognition since its inception over 40 years ago. IURD has become the gateway to the university for those concerned with urban and regional issues—infrastructure, housing, sprawl, transportation, environmental quality, disaster recovery, and poverty and physical decline in inner cities—as well as a home for scholars who integrate real-world metropolitan problem-solving in their teaching and research.”
Kinder Institute for Urban Research
Rice University
“The mission of the Kinder Institute is to advance understanding of the most critical issues facing Houston and other leading urban centers. The institute conducts scientific research, supports educational programs, and engages in public outreach with the goal of stimulating informed decision-making and fostering the development of more humane and sustainable cities. In addition, the institute has established a permanent home for the Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey, the nation’s longest running study of any metropolitan region’s economy, population, life experiences, beliefs and attitudes.”
Metropolitan Institute
Virginia Tech
“As one of Virginia Tech’s premier research initiatives, the Metropolitan Institute conducts basic and applied research on the dynamics of metropolitan complexities, such as demographics, environment, technology, design, transportation, and governance. With most of the globe’s population moving to urbanized areas, the major public policy challenges of this century will require a deeper understanding of how metropolitan complexities play out across multiple jurisdictions, locations, infrastructures, and stakeholders.”
Center for Advanced Urbanism
MIT
"The overall goal of the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) is to establish a new theoretical and applied research platform to transform the quality of urban life. The Center is committed to achieving this goal via collaborative interdisciplinary research projects, intellectual discourse, leadership forums and conferences, publications, education of a new generation of leaders in the field, and a distinctive, highly influential presence at international gatherings focused on urbanism."
Center for Urban Progres
Howard University
"The mission of Howard University Center for Urban Progress is to address urban challenges – locally, nationally, and globally – through university-community partnerships, applied and community-based research, innovative academic programs, technical assistance to urban agencies, and community revitalization initiatives."
Penn Institute for Urban Research
University of Pennsylvania
“The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is dedicated to advancing cross-disciplinary urban-focused research, instruction, and civic engagement on issues relevant to cities around the world. As the global population becomes increasingly urban, understanding cities is vital to informed decision-making and public policy at the local, national, and international levels.”
Institute for Urban Research
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
“The mission of the SIUE Institute for Urban Research is to advance innovative scholarship in urban communities and environments. The IUR conducts research on urban issues and supports interdisciplinary urban research, teaching, and service activities by SIUE faculty, professional staff, and students, with an emphasis on empowering communities and effecting positive changes in the Metro East and St. Louis regions.”
University of Chicago Urban Network
University of Chicago
"The University of Chicago Urban Network is an intellectual hub for faculty, students, policymakers, and others interested in urban research. Through its portfolio of programs, co-sponsorship of events, and network of scholars, the Urban Network fosters innovation, cultivates scholarship, builds cross-disciplinary connections, and bridges research and practice. This work extends the University of Chicago's tradition of excellence in urban scholarship by enhancing its position as a local and international leader in research and inspiring new generations of scholars."
The USC Center for Sustainable Cities
University of Southern California
“The USC Center for Sustainable Cities conducts research, education, and community outreach to address sustainability challenges facing metropolitan regions. We seek to generate innovative solutions that enhance the environment, economic vitality and social equity of cities worldwide. The Center fosters multi-disciplinary research with an emphasis on sustainability challenges of metropolitan areas. Metropolitan areas are at the core of sustainability issues; large populations and extensive, resource intensive economic activity generate environmental pollution and consume scarce natural resources. Metropolitan areas also exhibit some of our most serious social equity problems. As the world’s population continues to urbanize, metropolitan areas will increasingly be the focus of environmental protection, social justice, energy conservation, and greenhouse gas reduction policies.”
Joint Center for Housing Studies
Harvard University
The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies advances understanding of housing issues and informs policy. Through its research, education, and public outreach programs, the center helps leaders in government, business, and the civic sectors make decisions that effectively address the needs of cities and communities. Through graduate and executive courses, as well as fellowships and internship opportunities, the Joint Center also trains and inspires the next generation of housing leaders.
Urban Institute
"Founded in 1968 to understand the problems facing America’s cities and assess the programs of the War on Poverty, the Urban Institute brings decades of objective analysis and expertise to policy debates — in city halls and state houses, Congress and the White House, and emerging democracies around the world. Today, our research portfolio ranges from the social safety net to health and tax policies; the well-being of families and neighborhoods; and trends in work, earnings, and wealth building. Our scholars have a distinguished track record of turning evidence into solutions."
The Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute provides leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. ULI is an independent global nonprofit supported by members representing the entire spectrum of real estate development and land use disciplines.
Urban Design Lab
Columbia University
"The Urban Design Lab is a joint laboratory of the Earth Institute and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). It was created in 2005 to address the need for a design-based approach to shaping the long-range future of sustainable urbanism. New York City and its regional context is viewed as a core model for solving problems related to sustainable urban futures everywhere, including Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. The Lab’s work cuts across all of the Earth Institute’s themes: Climate and Society, Water, Energy, Poverty, Ecosystems, Global Health, Food, Ecology, Nutrition, Hazards and Risk, and Urbanization."
SENSEable City Lab
MIT
"The real-time city is now real! The increasing deployment of sensors and hand-held electronics in recent years is allowing a new approach to the study of the built environment. The way we describe and understand cities is being radically transformed - alongside the tools we use to design them and impact on their physical structure. Studying these changes from a critical point of view and anticipating them is the goal of the SENSEable City Laboratory, a new research initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."
Urban Humanities Institute
UCLA
"As the world grows increasingly urban, so grows the imperative to more fully comprehend the space of our collective life. Nowhere is this more urgent than in the context of intensely interactive, rapidly expanding cities of the Pacific Rim. Urban humanities offer an emerging paradigm to explore the lived spaces of dynamic proximities, cultural hybridities, and networked interconnections. The complexity of such spaces calls for new intellectual and practical alliances between environmental design and the humanities and for the advanced tools that each brings to bear on its objects of investigation. Urban humanities integrates the interpretive, historical approaches of the humanities with the material, projective practices of design, to document, elucidate, and transform the cultural object we call the city."
Cities Centre
University of Toronto
"As the University of Toronto's urban research hub, Cities Centre fosters cross-disciplinary research that integrates and applies the expertise of its researchers, students and visiting scholars. The Centre connects research associates and partner organizations through research networks, events and conferences, and it administers projects developed by its resident research associates. Cities Centre partners with institutions and organizations around the world on cross-sectoral and cross-cultural exchanges, learning collaborations and joint research projects. "
UrbanCCD’s mission is to catalyze and pursue an interdisciplinary research agenda in urban sciences
Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD)
UrbanCCD’s mission is to catalyze and pursue an interdisciplinary research agenda in urban sciences aimed at increasing our understanding of cities and our ability to anticipate the effects of rapid global urbanization on natural, built, and socioeconomic systems.
Nature of Cities
The mission of The Nature of Cities is to promote worldwide dialog about the character of green cities among a broad diversity of people, from architects to scientists, from practitioners to entrepreneurs—transformational dialog that leads to the creation of better cities…that are more livable, resilient and sustainable.
UCLA in the Community
UCLA
The UCLA in the Community – Online Directory is a comprehensive guide to the many ways UCLA works with schools, centers, and community organizations to improve the lives and livelihoods of our neighbors across greater Los Angeles.
Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California
University of California Santa Cruz
CCREC is a University of California multicampus research program and initiative that links inter/trans-disciplinary university researchers, community-based organizations, and policymakers in Equity-Oriented Collaborative, Community-Based Research projects to achieve creative solutions to the interrelated challenges in the economy, education, employment, environment, food systems, housing, and public health.
Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI)
Harvard University
The Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) seeks to spur original urban research on the cutting edge of social science and public policy. In conducting and interpreting this research, BARI seeks to forge mutually beneficial relationships among the region’s scholars, policymakers, practitioners and civic leaders.
Homeless Rights Advocacy Project
Seattle University
The Homeless Rights Advocacy Project (HRAP) engages Seattle University School of Law students in effective legal and policy research, analysis, and advocacy work to advance the rights of homeless adults, youth, and children.
Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy
University of Pennsylvania
The principal aim of Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) is to improve the quality of education, health and human service agencies’ policies and practices through the use of integrated data systems. Quality integrated data systems are designed to help executive leaders in municipal, county, and state government evaluate and establish effective programs for the people they serve.
Project on Family Homelessness
Seattle University
The goals of the Project on Family Homelessness are to increase public awareness and understanding of family homelessness and its causes and solutions, and to engage the public to end family homelessness.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago has, since its inception in 1985 as a research and policy center, focused on a mission of improving the well-being of children and youth, families, and their communities. We do this through policy research—by developing and testing new ideas, generating and analyzing information, and examining policies, programs, and practices across a wide range of service systems and organizations. Chapin Hall takes a broad perspective, embracing an interest in policies that promote the well-being of all children and youth while devoting special attention to those facing significant problems. Our perspective also encompasses their families and their communities, recognizing that we cannot improve circumstances for children and youth in isolation. The community context in which children and youth live influences their well-being in important ways. We are interested as much in preventing problems as in ameliorating them, and this broad perspective affords us the opportunity to do both. Chapin Hall’s impact derives largely from a distinctive marriage of the most rigorous academic research with innovative partnerships with the public systems, institutions, organizations, and programs that are in a position to best deploy that research. Taken together, this broad perspective and commitment to working in partnership form the cornerstone of our efforts.
Research, Education, and Advocacy to Combat Homelessness (REACH)
New York University
Research, Education & Advocacy to Combat Homelessness (REACH) is the law school’s primary student organization dedicated to directly serving the local homeless community and raising the profile of poverty law issues within the law school. REACH operates 2 weekly clinics in soup kitchens near NYU, where law students provide advice and referral on a wide range of issues including housing, public benefits, and health-related matters. REACH also publishes a comprehensive manual and organizes speakers and panels on issues relevant to poverty law.
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
New York University
The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University Silver School of Social Work is committed to creating new knowledge about the root causes of poverty, developing evidence-based interventions to address its consequences, and rapidly translating research findings into action through policy and practice.
Project for the Homeless (PFH)
Columbia University
Project for the Homeless (PFH) is a student organization that has staffed two small homeless shelters in Manhattan, the men’s shelter at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue and the women’s shelter at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, for over 30 years. New York State law requires that a non-homeless volunteer stay overnight at the shelters. By sending Columbia and Barnard students, PFH ensures that the two shelters remain open for the men and women who are on track to receive permanent housing from the City of New York. PFH volunteers literally keep men and women off the streets!
Community Impact at Columbia University
Columbia University
Community Impact serves individuals in need in the communities of Upper Manhattan while providing meaningful volunteering and leadership opportunities for students at Columbia University and Barnard College. Community Impact oversees the operation of 27 programs that provide a variety of services for residents in the surrounding Harlem, Morningside Heights, and Washington Heights communities. Columbia and Barnard students and community members volunteer over 50,000 hours a year to organize and deliver the services, and in so doing, learn both important leadership skills and about the challenges facing low-income communities in New York City.
The Suitcase Clinic
Univeristy of California - Berkeley
The Suitcase Clinic is a humanitarian student organization and volunteer community offering free health and social services to underserved populations since 1989. Structured around the principles of public health, social welfare, community activism and empathy, the Suitcase Clinic currently operates three weekly multi-service drop-in centers in the city Berkeley: the General Clinic, the Women’s Clinic and the Youth Clinic. In addition to providing services, the Suitcase Clinic strives to educate students, promote health care access, engage in community organization, and support public policy efforts that address homelessness and the needs of the underserved in the local community.
Centre for Housing Policy
University of York
The Centre for Housing Policy (CHP) is one of Europe's leading centres for interdisciplinary housing and social policy research, with interests centring on housing and social justice, housing and later life and the operation of housing markets. CHP has a twenty-five year record of academically excellent and policy-relevant research. We were ranked joint first in the UK for research impact in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, as part of the Department of Social Policy and Social Work. Social Policy at York is ranked 4th in the UK and our department is ranked 25th in the World, in the QS World University Rankings.
The Bartlett Development Planning Unit
University College of London
The Development Planning Unit conducts world-leading research and postgraduate teaching that helps to build the capacity of national governments, local authorities, NGOs, aid agencies and businesses working towards socially just and sustainable development in the global south. We are part of The Bartlett: UCL's global faculty of the built environment.
Homeless Advocacy Policy Project
University of Denver
The Homeless Advocacy Policy Project (HAPP) at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law is a student-driven project focused on researching the laws criminalizing homelessness and advocating for the rights of homeless individuals.
Centre for Urban & Community Studies
University of Toronto
The Centre for Urban and Community Studies (CUCS) was established in 1964 to promote and disseminate multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on urban issues. The Centre's activities contributed to scholarship on questions relating to the social, economic and physical well-being of people who live and work in urban areas large and small, in Canada and around the world.
Moreau Center
University of Portland
Inspired by the vision of Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, rooted in Catholic social teaching, and guided by the mission of the University, Moreau Center programs center on direct service. Service is one of the key components in a Catholic education. Direct service involves directly connecting with people and programs through service. It addresses real community needs while allowing students to encounter and critically examine issues of poverty and injustice. Students engaging with people whose life experience and perspectives may be different from their own helps to break down fears, stereotypes, and apathy and often inspires people to do more.
The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development
Case Western Reserve University
The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development (the Poverty Center) works to inform public policy and program planning through data and analysis to address urban poverty, its causes, and its impact on communities and their residents. Since our founding in 1988, our mission has broadened to understand and address poverty by delving into its human, social, and economic implications as experienced at the levels of the family and community.
Child Homelessness Initiative
Lesley University
The mission of the CHI is to prepare Lesley University graduates---next-generation teachers, policy advocates, therapists and child care providers--with a trauma-informed asset model that enables practices and policies consistent with maximizing infant and toddler health, happiness and well-being, securing their protection from injury and insult, and advancing their educational opportunities and citizenship.
Y.E.S. - Youth Educational Services
Humboldt State University
Homelessness Network is a program designed to offer assistance to homeless families in Humboldt County. The focus of attention is centered on the children to offer additional stimulus and educational exposure that may serve to peak their interests and nurture creativity and a love of learning.
National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services
University of Albany
Launched in 2013, the National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services, located at the UAlbany School of Social Welfare, partners with social work programs, providers, and policymakers to strengthen services that transform the lives of all homeless children and adults. We emphasize: increasing homelessness content within our social work curriculum, expanding field placements in homeless services, educating policymakers, and supporting leaders in the homelessness field.
Urban Theory Lab
Harvard University
In the early 1970s, Henri Lefebvre put forward the radical hypothesis of the complete urbanization of society. This required, in his view, a radical shift from the analysis of urban form to the investigation of urbanization processes. The Urban Theory Lab builds upon Lefebvre’s approach to investigate emergent sociospatial formations under early twenty-first century capitalism. Our research starts from the proposition that inherited frameworks of urban knowledge must be radically reinvented to illuminate emergent forms of twenty-first century urbanization. In contrast to the urban/suburban/rural distinction that has long underpinned the major traditions of urban research, data collection and cartographic practice, we argue that the urban today represents a worldwide condition in which all political-economic and socio-environmental relations are enmeshed, regardless of terrestrial location or morphological configuration. This emergent condition of planetary urbanization means, paradoxically, that even spaces that lie well beyond the traditional centers of agglomeration—from worldwide shipping lanes, transportation networks and communications infrastructures to resource extraction sites, alpine and coastal tourist enclaves, offshore financial centers, agro-industrial catchment zones, and erstwhile “natural” spaces such as the world’s oceans, deserts, jungles, mountain ranges, tundra and atmosphere—are becoming integral to a worldwide operational landscape for (capitalist) urbanization processes.
Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities
Harvard University
The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities aims to transform the building industry through a commitment to design-centric strategy that directly links research outcomes to the development of new processes, systems, and products. By strongly emphasizing innovation and multidisciplinary collaboration, the Center will work to promote holistic change within the built environment, namely the creation and continued improvement of sustainable, high performance buildings and cities.
MaP+S
Harvard University
The Materials, Processes, and Systems (MaPS) Group, lead by Professor Martin Bechthold, is a research unit that promotes the understanding, development and deployment of innovative technologies for buildings. The group evolved from the previously established Design Robotics Group, and is located in a research cluster at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. MaPS looks at materiality as starting points for design research, with a special interest in robotic and computer-numerically controlled (CNC) fabrication processes as well as small scale work on nano-materials. Much of our current work studies ceramic material systems and design robotics. MaPS also runs the Adaptive Living Environments (ALivE) project jointly with Harvards REAL group. ALivE develops novel applications for nano-scale material systems developed jointly with scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The MaP+S Group works on funded research and other projects, and supports thesis research on the masters and the doctoral level. We work with industry partners and associations, students, faculty and staff of the GSD, as well as with other academic groups at Harvard University and beyond.
Energy, Environments & Design Lab
Harvard University
What does energy want from design? What role does design have in energy systems? As a part of the Research Advancement Initiative (RAI), at Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Energy, Environments & Design Lab investigates novel agendas for energy at a range of design scales. From overlooked thermal parameters at the molecular level to global scale emergy analysis, the design disciplines urgently need alternate intellectual frameworks, research methodologies, and practices for energy in the twenty-first century. Materials, buildings, landscapes, cities, and urbanization are all overtly connected energy hierarchies that must be lucidly understood as the basis of any design agenda for energy today.
Urban Design Lab
Columbia University
The Urban Design Lab (UDL) of the Earth Institute and GSAPP works to find innovative solutions to the sustainable development issues confronting cities. The UDL conducts multidisciplinary applied design research in collaboration with community-based organizations and other public and private interests. The UDL's team works closely with outside experts in architecture, ecology, economics, environmental science, public health, urban design and urban planning.
Asian Megacities Lab
Columbia University
Over the next 25 years, it is projected that China will account for 50% of the world’s new construction. The majority of this construction will occur in existing cities or newly formed urban areas. It is the mission of the Asia Megacities Lab to become actively engaged with this rapid urbanization and spatial production occurring in Asia, through both research and design.
Latin America and Caribbean Laboratory
Columbia University
The Latin American and Caribbean Laboratory (Latin Lab) serves as an intellectual platform for research, educational, and service initiatives related to architecture and urban planning in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The Lab aims to become a leading laboratory for the study of the built environment and community development in LAC and its diasporas and a premier resource to assist in the just and sustainable transformation of LAC territories and communities. The Lab’s primary lines of work are Migration and Ethno-Urbanism, Urban Resilience and Upgrading, and Transnational and Regional Planning.
Decision Center for a Desert City
Arizona State University
Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) at Arizona State University (ASU) was established in 2004 with an investment from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Decision Making Under Uncertainty (DMUU) program. DCDC’s mission has been to advance knowledge about decision making under uncertainty in the context of water sustainability and urban climate-change adaptation. DCDC, a research unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU, conducts climate, water and decision research, and develops innovative tools to bridge the boundary between scientists and decision makers. With renewed NSF funding in 2010, DCDC II expanded its research agenda, trained a diverse new group of students, and engaged a wide range of stakeholders in the cooperative production of knowledge and action.
Arctic Design Group
University of Virginia
“The Arctic extends over an area of about 5.5 million square miles and includes 8 nations. For centuries it has been understood as vast, and almost mythical frozen realm. But increasingly, the dual forces of climate change and globalization are combining to rapidly transform the region. With increasing temperature, retreating sea ice, the opening up of new shipping routes, and demand for natural resources, the arctic is poised to become a network of development; fragile natural ecosystems, centuries of indigenous culture, and towns and cities that have existed at the outer edges of viability will be challenged to adapt.” The Arctic Design Group (ADG) was launched in 2013 at the University of Virginia School of Architecture as a multi-disciplinary platform for Arctic-focused research, encompassing the UVA School of Architecture, Department of Environmental Sciences, and the Law School. It is the first of its kind in the U.S. and one of only a handful of efforts worldwide to bring to the foreground design as a method to proactively develop strategies and proposals for the future northern territories.
Center for Design & Health
University of Virginia
The Center for Design and Health pursues cross-disciplinary research to aid the design and planning of effective environments for human health and well being. The work of the Center focuses on a variety of health issues, including the design and planning of patient-centered medical facilities, housing, neighborhoods, communities, cities, and regions.
Community Design Research Center
University of Virginia
The Community Design Research Center (CDRC), led by director Suzanne Moomaw, initiates, generates, and works collaboratively with partners to connect faculty, students, and community members to research and design application projects aimed at addressing systemic local, regional, national, and global challenges. Called the “wicked” problems of society, these include human settlements, sustainable ecosystems, poverty, food and health inequities, economic development, income disparity, cultural and historical preservation and restoration, and social equity and justice to name only a few.
Center for Cultural Landscapes
University of Virginia
The Center for Cultural Landscapes produces research and creates new models of innovative cultural landscape stewardship in the region, the nation and around the globe. We are an interdisciplinary group of anthropologists, historians, landscape architects, architects, and planners who are connected to, and collaborating with, a larger group of associated professionals and organizations to achieve this mission. Our work focuses on increasing awareness of the historical and ecological value of cultural landscapes through innovative scholarly research, site documentation and fieldwork, planning, preservation, management and design. The Center for Cultural Landscapes is funded by the UVA Sara Shallenberger Brown Cultural Landscapes Initiative, UVA Associate Provost for the Arts, and the UVA School of Architecture Dean's office.
Center for Environmental Design Research
University of California, Berkeley
The Center for Environmental Design Research (CEDR) fosters research in environmental planning and design, ranging from the local environments of people within buildings to region-wide ecosystems, from small details of building construction to large-scale urban planning, from the history of the built environment to the design process itself. Our research is highly interdisciplinary. Our researchers collaborate with people across campus, including the disciplines of mechanical engineering, civil & environmental engineering, electrical engineering & computer science, public health, public policy, optometry, psychology, business, energy & resources and more.
Institute of Urban and Regional Development
University of California, Berkeley
Through collaborative, interdisciplinary research and practice, Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) supports students, faculty, and visiting scholars to critically investigate and help improve processes and outcomes that shape urban equity around the world. "The future of IURD will be to position itself as a global leader in research and policy that aims to answer how 21st century urbanization and cities can be the sites of innovation and opportunity, sustainability and democracy, health and social justice." - Director Jason Corburn Advancing multidisciplinary, collaborative and action-oriented urban research and policy analysis that addresses urban issues, not just analyzes them. Acting as the intellectual hub on the UC Berkeley campus for all things ‘urban equity’ Building long-term, university-community action-research partnerships (avoiding the ‘extraction’ model of research) Establishing and fostering a vibrant network of researchers, community partners & policy makers to support leadership & innovation for urban equity IURD & Urban Equity We define urban equity as focused efforts to address avoidable inequalities by targeting resources and improvements for populations and places that have experienced socioeconomic, racial, gender and/or other injustices.
Coastal Sustainability Studio
Lousiana State University
The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio brings together academic disciplines that typically conduct research separately—such as designers, scientists, planners, and engineers—to intensively study and respond to critical issues of coastal settlement, restoration, flood protection, and economic development. Through its integrated design and systems thinking approach, programs, and projects, the CSS builds university capacity and transdisciplinary teams that work to develop strategies that address coastal problems.
Social Agency Lab
Harvard University
The Social Agency Lab is a research group at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. The lab studies the ways in which individuals, institutions and organizations shape social outcomes in cities.
Civic Data Design Lab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Civic Data Design Lab works with data to understand it for public good. We seek to develop alternative practices which can make the work we do with data and images richer, smarter, more relevant, and more responsive to the needs and interests of citizens traditionally on the margins of policy development. In this practice we experiment with and develop data visualization and collection tools that allow us to highlight urban phenomena. Our methods borrow from the traditions of science and design by using spatial analytics to expose patterns and communicating those results, through design, to new audiences.
Aga Khan Program
Harvard University
The Aga Khan Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design is part of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and MIT, dedicated to the study of Islamic art and architecture, urbanism, landscape design and conservation. The GSD program is invested in the application of that knowledge to contemporary design issues. Established in 2003, the Aga Khan Program at the GSD provides tuition and scholarships to doctoral and PhD students studying the impact of development in the shaping of landscapes, cities and regional territories in the Muslim world. The program’s research and activities focus a lens on the design of public spaces, environmental concerns and land use and territorial settlement patterns from World War II to the present. Any full-time student already enrolled at Harvard or MIT can benefit from the course offerings and research undertakings of the Aga Khan Program at the GSD.
Center for Advanced Urbanism
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Center for Advanced Urbanism is committed to fostering a rigorous design culture for the large scale; by focusing our disciplinary conversations about architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and systems thinking, not about the problems of yesterday, but of tomorrow. We are motivated by the radical changes in our environment, and the role that design and research can play in addressing these. We embrace conversations with the world's top experts at MIT, to feed and foster our innovations. We take pride in the fact that participants in the center do not just talk about things; they create projects, build things, and actively change our society out in the real world; and then come together to learn from each other's experiences, publish, and debate about future directions. The Center for Advanced Urbanism has been established at the initiative of the Dean and department Chairs of the School of Architecture and Planning and reflects a renewed drive to excellence in urbanism.
MIT CoLab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) is a center for planning and development within the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). CoLab supports the development and use of knowledge from excluded communities to deepen civic engagement, improve community practice, inform policy, mobilize community assets, and generate shared wealth. We believe that community knowledge can drive powerful innovation and can help make markets an arena for supporting social justice. CoLab facilitates the interchange of knowledge and resources between MIT and community organizations. We engage students to be practitioners of this approach to community change and sustainability.
P-REX
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
P-REX a research lab focused on environmental problems caused by urbanization, including the design, remediation, and reuse of waste landscapes worldwide. P-REX works to develop non-traditional design solutions to push the boundaries of conventional practice and incorporate resilient thinking into large-scale strategic planning & design.
Senseable City Lab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The real-time city is real! As layers of networks and digital information blanket urban space, new approaches to the study of the built environment are emerging. The way we describe and understand cities is being radically transformed—as are the tools we use to design them. The mission of the Senseable City Laboratory—a research initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—is to anticipate these changes and study them from a critical point of view. Not bound by the methodologies of a single field, the Lab is characterized by an omni-disciplinary approach: it speaks the language of designers, planners, engineers, physicists, biologists and social scientists. Senseable is as fluent with industry partners as it is with metropolitan governments, individual citizens and disadvantaged communities. Through design and science, the Lab develops and deploys tools to learn about cities—so that cities can learn about us.
The Urban Risk Lab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Urban Risk Lab at MIT develops methods and technologies to embed risk reduction and preparedness into the design of cities and regions to increase the resilience of local communities. Operating at the intersection of ecology and infrastructure, rural and urban, research and action; the Urban Risk Lab is an interdisciplinary organization of researchers and designers. With a global network of partners, the Lab is a place to innovate on techniques, processes, and systems to address the complexities of seismic, climatic, and hydrologic risks. We engage in action research through extensive field work and community workshops to focus on the needs of diverse cultures and contexts. We aspire to change the course of current global development trends through a radical shift in education and action to proactively embed preparedness and risk reduction in this rapidly urbanizing world.
West Philadelphia Landscape Project
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The West Philadelphia Landscape Project has worked in the Mill Creek Watershed since 1987, with a focus on the Mill Creek neighborhood. Throughout our more than 25-year history, we have worked with the people of Mill Creek to address the opportunities and challenges posed by the urban landscape. For more than twenty-five years, the West Philadelphia Landscape Project (WPLP) has worked in the Mill Creek watershed and neighborhood. Our mission is to restore nature and rebuild community through strategic design, planning, and education projects. Through our experience in Mill Creek, we seek to demonstrate how to create human settlements that are healthier, economical to build and maintain, more resilient, more beautiful, and more just. A key proposal of the West Philadelphia Landscape Project is to manage the Mill Creek watershed as part of a broad approach to improving regional water quality and as a strategy to secure funds to rebuild the neighborhood. We employ landscape literacy as a cornerstone of community development. During the past quarter century, hundreds of students, teachers, residents, and public officials have been part of WPLP. WPLP has worked with numerous partners, including the Philadelphia Water Department, Penn’s Center for Community Partnerships, Aspen Farms Community Garden, Sulzberger Middle School, the Mill Creek Coalition, the Philadelphia Urban Resources Partnership, and Philadelphia Green. WPLP is led by Anne Whiston Spirn, a professor of landscape architecture and planning at MIT, founded WPLP in 1987 when she was at the University of Pennsylvania.
Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture
Oregon State University
Six acres of paradise off Oregon State University's main campus, Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture is an excellent learning laboratory for sustainable horticultural practices in both rural and peri-urban landscapes.
Penn Institute for Urban Research
University of Pennsylvania
The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is a university-wide, interdisciplinary institute at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to urban research, education, and civic engagement. Affiliated with all 12 schools of the University of Pennsylvania and with the world of practice, Penn IUR fosters collaboration among scholars and policymakers across disciplines to address the needs of an increasingly urbanized society. The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is dedicated to advancing cross-disciplinary urban-focused research, instruction, and civic engagement on issues relevant to cities around the world. As the global population becomes increasingly urban, understanding cities is vital to informed decision-making and public policy at the local, national, and international levels. Penn IUR focuses on research that informs the sustainable and inclusive twenty-first-century city. By providing a forum for collaborative scholarship and instruction at Penn and beyond, Penn IUR stimulates research and engages with urban practitioners and policymakers to inform urban policy.
Urban Research Lab
University of Illinois
An ongoing Intelligent Cities project, URL: Urban Research Lab explores the implications of emerging technologies and distributed computing for urban infrastructure. While infrastructure supports many different human activities, the lab studies the potential of ubiquitous and context-aware computing, defined as “media of communication functionally bound to a location”---and, more specifically, of intelligent infrastructure---adaptive systems used to organize people and practices in real time and on the go. Unlike historical, fixed infrastructure, mobile communication and information networks enable a personal infrastructure that is becoming increasingly embedded within everyday interactions. This Internet of Things facilitates a connected culture that is simultaneously social as well as technical. URL develops the notion that both visible and invisible elements are critical to understanding today’s urban environment, because all aspects -- information, energy, transportation, housing, social practices -- are now inextricably linked and interconnected.
Urban Systems Lab
Imperial College London
Cities are central to economic growth and social activity with a growing share of the global population. Increasingly, the need of cities to improve performance in services and infrastructure is creating not only technical, social, and business challenges, but also opportunities as new niches are opened on the basis of new technology and a better understand of the value of data. Information about infrastructure performance, capability, user activity, and intent is increasingly becoming a key-driver to improving efficiency and growth of new services, leading to the development of the smart city. The Urban Systems Lab aims to bring to bear a seriousness & scale commensurate with the societal challenges and opportunities within the 21st Century city. USL will focus on the new, holistic and cross cutting inter-disciplinary field of “Urban Systems Engineering,” and will play its part in creating the next generation of urban system integrators.
U-Lab
Technical University of Berlin
The "Urban Research and Design Laboratory" was initiated in 2010 at the Technical University of Berlin. Based on the model of dialogue formats it encourages exchanges between teaching, research and practice, responding to demands of interdisciplinary project work as well as case study-based and activity-oriented functioning in the education of future city planners, urban designers and architects. Through close cooperation with all stakeholders involved in the planning projects, the U-Lab contributes by providing new approaches to the research and development of courses of action for the participatory design of urban space. Employing cooperative working formats students get the possibility to deal with the complexity of their future tasks and fields of action and learn about an integrative and collaborative way of working during their studies.
UCL Urban Laboratory
University College London
The UCL Urban Laboratory, established in 2005, is a university wide initiative that brings together the best urban teaching and research at UCL. Our activities build on the full spectrum of work across the arts and sciences, ranging from civil engineering to film studies, from urban history to the latest developments in architectural design. At the UCL Urban Laboratory we encourage urban thinking, research, teaching and practice that are critical, creative, independent and interdisciplinary. We aim to share the knowledge our work produces widely, with diverse audiences. We experiment with new methods of urban research across disciplinary boundaries, practices and professions, providing a laboratory for cross- and interdisciplinary invention, because difficult urban challenges demand new modes of collaboration.
African Centre for Cities
University of Cape Town
The African Centre for Cities (ACC) is an interdisciplinary research and teaching programme focused on quality scholarship regarding the dynamics of unsustainable urbanisation processes in Africa, with an eye on identifying systemic responses. Rapid and poorly governed urbanization in Africa points to a profound developmental and philosophical crisis. Most scholarship focuses on the development challenges but continue to fail to provide adequate answers or proposal to reverse growing urban inequality, environmental degradation and social conflicts. In this context it is unsurprising that there are very few qualified and appropriately trained urban professionals and activists who can manage Africa’s cities and towns. The ACC seeks to intervene into this situation by remaining rooted in context and building knowledge networks between durable research institutions across the Continent. The ACC conducts a series of applied research programmes in Cape Town, South Africa and significant parts of Africa.
Centre for Urban Research and Innovations
University of Nairobi
Centre for Urban Research and Innovations (CURI), formerly Urban Innovations Program (UIP), is a think tank based at the University of Nairobi's Department of Urban and Regional Planning. The Centre seeks to create a forum for exploring innovative methodologies for enabling planners and professionals in the built environment to be more responsive and effective in addressing urban challenges in contemporary and future African urban settings. This initiative began in the year 2007 as part of rethinking by urban planners on the relevance of current planning education and the effectiveness contemporary urban planning practice. The initial funding was provided by The Rockefeller Foundation. CURI is composed of a team of researchers who work towards seeking new and innovative approaches by which the planning school and faculty of built environment can better engage policy makers, communities, urban authorities, private sector and partners to foster greater awareness and appreciation of collaborative planned interventions to local urban challenges. To promote capacity building through empowerment of urban communities for effective community participation; linking and networking with NGOS, government agencies and parastals working within informal settlements and municipalities through provision of technical assistance.The overall objective of CURI is to create a forum for exploring innovative methodologies for enabling professional planners and designers, civil societies, local communities, governments/government ministries and African planning schools to be more responsive and effective in addressing challenges in contemporary and future African urban settlements.
Centre for Urbanism & Built Environment Studies (CUBES)
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
The Centre for Urbanism and Built Environment Studies (CUBES) is a platform for urban research, learning and civic engagement located in the School of Architecture and Planning. CUBES’s research focuses on material built-environment issues affecting the poor in cities and towns in South Africa. CUBES leads a variety of research programmes that consider how urban citizens, and in particular marginalised peoples, are affected by the material realities of cities, built environments at different scales, access to urban goods and spaces, and contestations over urban physical and political orders. CUBES values critical reflection on existing practices of development, planning and architecture, which are constantly at risk of excluding the poor in their quest to maintain order and formalize contemporary cities.
Center for Metropolitan Studies
Technical University of Berlin
The city is our research field. Since 2004 the Center for Metropolitan Studies (CMS) at the Technische Universität Berlin has brought together both young and experienced researchers to study the historical developments and current problems of the metropolis in its international graduate research program, the masters program in historical urban studies, and adjunct research projects. The research center and its programs are interdisciplinary and international. The Center currently focuses on the topics of metropolis and mobility, suburbanization and urban renewal, cultural economies and cultural innovation processes. We view current problems such as security in cities, segregation and polarization from a historical perspective to uncover possible solutions for the present. Historical analysis sharpens our view of the twenty-first-century metropolis. The Center for Metropolitan Studies looks to bring together academic scholarship and practical research and consulting, to promote younger scholars and to encourage cooperation and communication between various actors in scientific research, economics, politics and civil society. CMS draws upon the experience of the thirty-year-old, internationally acknowledged Research Unit for Urban History of the Technische Universität in Berlin.
Urban Worlds
Durham University
Urban Worlds is a research cluster that was formed in 2009 to reflect the department’s international standing in cutting-edge urban research. Its purpose is to provide a forum that brings together existing urban research within the department and to generate new lines of inquiry. The urban geographical research in the department aims to understand the emerging ways in which urban worlds are produced, governed, contested and transformed. We are interested in what is 'new' about contemporary urbanism, including the techniques through which cities are governed, the domains through which urban life is lived and reformulated, and the prospects of different forms of urban justice and democracy. A key question for us is how to conceptualise and research the changing relations between urbanism and space, whether through the making and maintaining of existing and new technosocial and ecological infrastructures, the production and contestation of shifting political economic architectures, the everyday life of neighbourhood and street politics, or the politics of urban encounters and informalities. We ask how we might understand urban spatialities as relational - and post-relational - and seek to excavate the different ways in which we might think of the world as becoming urban. How, for instance, does thinking the 'urban' and the 'world' change as the world becomes urbanised and the urban worldwide? We reject the epistemic and institutional separation of urbanism into global North and global South, and instead ask how a diversity of urban experiences and theoretical histories might pluralise the ways in which we understand and research urban worlds.
Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR)
University of London
CUCR is a well established interdisciplinary research centre within Goldsmiths' Department of Sociology with a distinguished history of collaboration with local communities and activists. It combines theoretical investigation with critical ‘local’ project implementation from Deptford to Jakarta. From its inception in 1994 as the academic partner in Deptford City Challenge regeneration initiatives, CUCR maintains a commitment to social and spatial justice and an activist stance on contemporary urbanism. We work through local initiatives, real world urban issues and intellectual agendas, in locales that include Deptford, London, Beijing, Hong Kong, South Africa and Sao Paulo. We are interested in London’s neighbourhoods, as well as those in cities worldwide. We see the areas around Goldsmiths as important urban laboratories, where we can train the next generation of young urbanists (students) and collaborate with local community groups in improving the area. We have a strong track record in partnering beyond the academy. We define urban research agendas nationally and internationally providing the first ethnographic studies of the super rich in London and Hong Kong. Our ethnographic and visually based methods or research have a strong reputation worldwide.
Centre for Urban Research and Innovations
University of York
The Centre for Urban Research seeks to be a critical observatory, tracking important changes and developments in urban and regional economies, societies and environments in order to identify and examine the issues likely to become key challenges in the near future. A program of frequent events provide forums for diverse communities, policy-makers and academic colleagues to exchange ideas and present developments cutting-edge urban research.
The City Centre
Queen Mary University of London
In 2006, the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London, launched a new centre for collaborative research and related activities that are focused on the city. The City Centre is designed to provide a space in which academic research can be developed and communicated with those within and beyond the academy. Particular interests include new forms of urban politics; socio-economic exclusion and livelihoods; economic geographies of the city; women, planning and urban design; art, performance and representation; environmental concerns in the city; urban health; city, diaspora and migration. This research and activity is being developed through long-term collaborations with local partners in London, and with international partners in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and North America.
City Institute at York University (CITY)
York University
The City Institute at York University (CITY) brings together over 60 of the university’s urban scholars and scores of graduate students from fields as diverse as planning, geography, environmental studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, education, law, transportation and the humanities. This interdisciplinary institute facilitates critical and collaborative research, providing new knowledge and innovative approaches to comprehending and addressing the complexity of the urban arena.
Global Research Urban Research Unit (GURU)
Newcastle University
The Global Urban Research Unit combines traditional and innovative approaches to the analysis of cities and towns, to better understand place and its potential creative and sustainable transformation. Our work is theoretically informed but often deeply related to the experiences of citizens, policy-makers and other stakeholders. GURU thus prides itself on the ways its work mixes applied and theoretical elements to varying degrees. GURU's work is centrally concerned with questions of social and environmental justice in the management and direction of place futures. We are particularly interested in how places are governed and how different governance regimes affect outcomes. These concerns cut across all of our four over-lapping theme groups wherein our work is organised: Cities, Security and Vulnerability Cities and International Development Planning and Environmental Dynamics Power, Place and Materiality
Metropolitan Institute
Virginia Tech
The Metropolitan Institute conducts basic and applied research on the dynamics of metropolitan complexities, such as demographics, environment, technology, design, transportation, and governance. With most of the globe’s population moving to urbanized areas, the major public policy challenges of this century will require a deeper understanding of how metropolitan complexities play out across multiple jurisdictions, locations, infrastructures, and stakeholders.
Global Cities Research Institute
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University
The Global Cities Research Institute was inaugurated in 2006 to bring together key researchers at RMIT University, Australia, working on understanding the complexity of globalizing urban settings from provincial centres to mega-cities. Our research is highly collaborative, linking with institutions and people around the world in long-term partnerships, we are directly addressing the challenge through engaged research programs intended to have significant on-the-ground impact. The emphasis of our research is on questions of resilience, security, sustainability, and adaptation in the face of the processes of globalization and global climate change. We focus on a number of carefully-chosen cities and their hinterlands and engage in cutting-edge and applied research that has real-world consequences for communities, governments and organizations. Our overall aim is to develop interpretations and strategies for building sustainable cities in the world today, contributing to the quality of human life and the viability of ecologies in those places.
UChicago Urban Labs
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago's Urban Labs comprises 5 units: Crime Lab, Education Lab, Energy & Environment Lab, Health Lab, and Poverty Lab. Working in partnership with policy makers and practitioners worldwide, Urban Labs help evaluate and implement the most effective urban policies and solutions around the world, bringing improvements to people's lives in real time. Our deep partnerships with government and nonprofit agencies help us translate our research into direct policy action. We provide decision makers with persuasive empirical evidence and understanding to guide their actions and their use of public and private resources. Today, Urban Labs provide analytic support and strategic guidance to policy makers across the United States and India, carrying out large-scale experiments, shaping public policy, and improving the quality of life for urban residents on a broad scale. In the decade ahead, Urban Labs aspire to significantly improve public policy and human life worldwide.
Urban Design Lab
University of Tokyo
The objective of the Urban Design Lab is to strike a balance between scientific research, teaching, and practical urban design work in the field. We encourage students to develop practical skills as well as a sound theoretical knowledge in order to enable them practicing in all areas of urban design; in the contexts of spatial and structural design; as well as strategical and conceptual planning. Theoretical knowledge from scientific research and interdisciplinary teaching is also practically applied for urban design consultancy with local communities and the work on ‘real’ planning projects on site. Our scientific research includes urban morphology, urban and architectural history, historical and natural conservation, citizen participation, spatial analysis, urban sociology, community advocacy, place-making, renewal strategies for regional cities, as well international planning systems and Asian cities. Our ambition is to develop a more nuanced understanding of how urban spaces are perceived, used, appropriated, inhabited, designed, governed, and managed in order to contribute best to the evolution of livable cities. Based on the extensive research activities of our graduate students, we seek to propose new design processes that ultimately lead to more user friendly and sustainable urban spaces.
The Urban Lab
University of Calgary
THE URBAN LAB, Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary is a research group dealing with urban design, community planning, and urban development issues. Established in 2000, the Urban Lab is an ongoing experiment in education, research and outreach, and is an example of university - community collaboration involving faculty, students and the public. We strive to understand the places in which we live, and to find ways to develop urban form that is ecologically and economically sustainable, and that is appropriate in our contemporary cultural context. The search for a regional expression of civic and architectural design is a major underpinning of our work. Our approach always begins with a detailed analysis of the context of the project, where we try to understand the historical, environmental, cultural and political influences and processes. We attempt to integrate our research projects and findings into urban design education. We also try to play a role in the evolution of the city’s urban form and urban quality.