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What are urban Studies?

Urban studies focus on the interaction between people, the (built) environment, and urban design in the context of increasing spatial inequalities at various spatial scales. Spatial inequalities are increasing globally, at the neighbourhood level, within cities, and in large urban systems in cities. Urban studies focus on better understanding the causes, paradigms, and consequences of these increasing inequalities, creating multi-tiered interactions between people and places in our research. On the one hand, we examine the effects of spatial disparities on the behaviour, well-being, and interpersonal relationships of people (individuals). These interactions between people and the built and social environment take place at the level of buildings, streets, neighbourhoods, cities, but also in large urban systems.

Research in urban studies is interdisciplinary and empirical in nature, using qualitative and quantitative research methods and a multi-tiered approach. Our methodology emphasizes the use of very large longitudinal register data sets, advanced statistical techniques and advanced modelling approaches, using inequality reduction scenarios (policy). Our mission is to better integrate social science knowledge of the relationship between people and place in the urban design process by developing design principles. Our teaching and learning at all levels are strongly associated with our research. Our students integrate empirical research and design activities in the context of real-life settings and problems in collaboration with professionals and citizens. In terms of social impact, our work contributes to the development of urban design and development strategies to optimize the spatial organization of neighbourhoods, cities, and large systems to enhance social well-being of individuals, communities, economic competitiveness, and social and environmental sustainability.

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Classes Type and Concentration

Cities in Comparative and Historical Perspective

Urban Education

Urban Society and Social Change

Urban Sustainability and


What Do Urban Studies Majors Do?

Urban studies majors investigated urbanization and the social, cultural, economic, and demographic processes associated with it. They look at the structures and manifestations of urbanization and urban life associated with modern and postmodern cities in around the world. They learn the general principles, practices, and methodology employed in contemporary urban planning and policy analysis. They also explore basic research questions and agendas related to urban issues of urban studies majors, and generalizations of urbanization and urban life in Los Angeles.

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