The Global Urban Commons (the Commons), is a publicly-accessible, global directory of university-based urban research centers.The Commons, which includes more than 200 urban-research focused organizations from around the world, is a platform to build awareness about the breadth and depth of global urban research. The site is unique in that it reaches across disciplines, supports common research agendas, and fosters opportunities for collaboration between urbanists based at research centers around the world.
Penn IUR, with funding from the Ford Foundation, worked with a team of Penn’s city planning doctoral students to develop the Sustainable Communities Indicator Catalog (SCIC) a web-based tool that enables communities to benchmark and track their progress toward sustainability. Penn IUR consulted extensively with experts and stakeholders to inform the development of this tool.
Penn IUR’s Co-Directors Genie Birch and Susan Wachter, along with Penn IUR Faculty Fellow Ira Harkavy, Director of Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, are among the co-founders of the National Anchor Institution Task Force.
Anchor institutions are economic engines for cities and regions, acting as real estate developers, employers, purchasers of goods, magnets for complementary businesses, community-builders, and developers of human capital.
Penn IUR Roundtable on Anchor Institutions (PRAI) is a leadership “think tank” that convenes leaders from anchor institutions, their respective civic collaborators (academic, government, and foundation partners), and technical experts for an intense full day of roundtable discussions. These Anchor Teams work with Penn IUR to develop a case study that outlines a compelling local challenge.
Ken Lum writes about Monument Lab, a public art project in Philadelphia.
Vinent Reina writes about current challenges and solutions related to the current housing market.
Lisa Servon writes that the consumer financial-services system is broken. This system, which consists of not only banks, check cashers, and lending circles, but also policymakers, regulators, and credit bureaus, fails to provide Americans with the products, services, and information they need to achieve financial stability. As a result, too many Americans are unable to participate fully in the economy and in civil society.
The new Philadelphia FSRDC will provide Penn faculty and students with access to non-public, confidential, microdata collected by a growing list of federal statistical agencies, including the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Health Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In addition, researchers can link public or proprietary outside data to the data provided by federal statistical agencies, thus adding additional possibilities for data comparison and analysis.
In Immigration and Metropolitan Revitalization in the United States, edited by Domenic Vitiello and Thomas J. Sugrue, write that in the past decade, policy makers and scholars across the United States have come to understand that immigrants are driving metropolitan revitalization at least as much and belong at the center of the story. Immigrants have repopulated central city neighborhoods and older suburbs, reopening shuttered storefronts and boosting housing and labor markets, in every region of the United States.
Penn IUR is invested in supporting and encouraging a new generation of urban scholars who are identifying and pursuing key questions related to urbanization. For this month’s issue of Urban Link, we interviewed some of our most recent PhDs to get a feel for the issues that they consider important or that they are currently pursuing in their research.
Richard Florida writes that Donald Trump’s thinking about cities is a product of the old urban crisis of the 1960s and ‘70s - the staggeringly high rates of crime and poverty, economic and social dysfunction, and fiscal collapse that he witnessed in his native New York in the early years of his career. But, his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton is a product of the backlash against what I have come to call the New Urban Crisis of burgeoning economic inequality--the widening divides between rich and poor; the staggering unaffordability of housing in our leading cities, tech hubs, and knowledge-centers like New York, LA, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, and Washington DC.
Early childhood education has captured the nation’s attention and holds a rare spot in the center of the political aisle. This is not surprising given that a quality Pre-K experience can save the public at least three dollars for every dollar spent, particularly for children who live in poverty and experience numerous risks to their educational success. In Philadelphia, the poorest of the ten largest cities in America, Mayor Kenney established the Commission on Universal Pre-K to expand access to quality Pre-K in the city, with the ultimate goal of universal access for all three- and four-year-old children. This introduced one of the most important decisions in Kenney’s early term as Mayor—how to expand quality Pre-K given limited funds and thousands of children in need. As researchers, the critical question for us became how to provide useful information to Kenney’s Commission in a timely manner so they can allocate funds to serve the most vulnerable children first.
Penn IUR published the Year 2 report for the US-Japan Grassroots Exchange program.
Housing and Opportunity is a policy brief by Arthur Acolin and Susan Wachter.
For much of U.S. history, moving to markets with better jobs has been a primary means for low-income workers to rise out of poverty and access opportunity. Recently, however, there has been a decrease in the rate with which workers have relocated to markets with better work opportunities. Average annual mobility has declined from nearly 20 between 1948 and 1980 to only about 10 percent in 2015 (U.S. Census 2016), which may be signaling a fundamental shift in the ability for workers to relocate to regions with greater job opportunities.
In his inauguration speech, President Trump characterized America's infrastructure as having “fallen into disrepair and decay” and promised to “build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways.” Similarly, over the course of the presidential campaign, Trump vowed to develop "the next generation" of American infrastructure and "send new skyscrapers soaring." We asked more than a dozen urban experts: In your view, what should the United States do about urban infrastructure?
In the fall of 2008, the world watched in horror as the U.S. housing finance system shattered, triggering a global financial panic and ultimately the Great Recession. Now, nearly a decade later, the long and slow recovery has reached a critical moment.
Christina D. Rosan observes that policy-makers and scholars have long agreed that we need metropolitan governance, but they have debated the best approach.
The University of Pennsylvania sent a 24-member delegation to Habitat III. Among them were Penn IUR Advisory Board member Paul Farmer, faculty members: Stefan Al (City and Regional Planning), William Burke-White (Richard Perry Professor of Law and Director, Perry World House); Mark Alan Hughes (City and Regional Planning, Director, Kleinman Center); Wendell Pritchett (Presidential Professor of Law); Eduardo Rojas (Historic Preservation, School of Design); Daniel Aldana Cohen (Sociology, School of Arts and Sciences); and nine doctoral students from the Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning. Below are reflections from the delegation about their experiences and the challenges ahead.
Richard Weller writes about the importance for mapping that links people and conservation in the "Atlas for the End of the World".
This article is jointly authored by Eugenie L. Birch, Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Education, Department of City and Regional Planning, and Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research, University of Pennsylvania; and Jane C.W. Vincent, Regional Administrator, Region III, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It was originally published in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's journal, Cascade, No. 93, Fall 2016. The original article is available on the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's website. The article addresses Habitat III as an opportunity to think and act with a collective voice in the effort to create and sustain cities of opportunity.
Over the past 15 years, new education policies have led to a host of reforms throughout the country, spanning everything from standardized accountability testing and class size reduction to school choice and merit pay, to name just a few. Which of these reforms have actually worked to improve the lives of students in the nation’s urban schools—and which have failed to live up to expectations despite the best of intentions?
Robert P. Inman and Susan M. Wachter write that while cities have as a group strengthened their economies and fortunes considerably since then, there is one area where weakness is still a major concern: the preparation for paying promised pension liabilities.
The current persistent and large decline in the number of owner households is almost unprecedented. Why has this occurred? What is driving the economy of renting?
Susan Wachter and Arthur Acolin synthesize the research from their recent publications regarding the decline of home ownership in the United States.
This project was sponsored by the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI), a program of the Department of Energy. CBEI was a five-year program tasked with bridging the technology, market dynamics, policy, and human behavior in order to reduce energy used by the commercial buildings sector.
Large numbers of people in urbanizing regions in the developing world live and work in unplanned settlements that grow through incremental processes of squatting and self-building.
Planners and economists usually consider land encumbered by slums to be less efficient, with inadequate physical infrastructure services, and fragmented land ownership.
Innovation on university campuses impacts plays a critical role in community development, but the development of innovation also depends on the university's approach.
In this issue of Urban Link, we explore the relationship between urban anchor institutions—in particular higher education institutions— and innovation.
Shared Prosperity in America's Communities, in the City in the 21st Century Book Series, authored by Susan M. Wachter and Lei Ding, examines this place-based disparity of opportunity and suggests what can be done to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are widely shared.
Elizabeth Kneebone writes about the changing geography of disadvantage and the suburbanization of poverty.
Underfunded pension liabilities threaten the fiscal stability of many cities. While Detroit's bankruptcy has dominated the headlines, the problem is widespread.
With all eyes focused on the presidential race, now is the time to discuss the great challenges that our nation faces. The candidates have a unique opportunity to address the issues that affect the lives of their fellow Americans, but what are those issues and how should they think about them? What major urban policy issues should the candidates address? We posed this question to our Penn IUR Faculty Fellows and Scholars. In the following eleven essays, they explore the urban policies that deserve the candidates' attention.
Abstracts were adapted from chapters of an upcoming book edited by Susan Wachter and Joseph Tracy, "Housing Finance Reform:
Principles of Stability."
Ethan Conner-Ross, Richard Voith, and Susan Wachter describe the evolution of Philadelphia over the past few decades, including its triumphs, challenges and current opportunities.
The second half of the 20th century was largely characterized by an exodus out of the great cities of the industrial age, and the consequent growth of the suburbs.
Penn IUR reports on natural disaster recovery and the role of community-based planning.
John D. Landis writes that in understanding neighborhood change urban planners should be worried about neighborhood decline, not gentrification.
Penn IUR Faculty Fellow John D. Landis writes that city living is back and planners should be more concerned about urban decline than about gentrification.
Penn IUR celebrates 10 years in this year's annual report.
Laura W. Perna writes about improving college access and success for low-income and first-generation students.
Penn IUR Emerging Scholar Eugenia South writes about the how urban blight is making residents sick through increased vacancy, sanitation, and safety.
Penn IUR looks at the growth of low-carbon and energy smart communities in the APEC region and attempts to assess their success.
Penn IUR Faculty Fellow Sara Heller writes about the role that targeted policy interventions can play in improving the lives of urban minority youth.
Penn IUR Co-Director Genie Birch writes about the growth of innovation across university campuses.
Penn IUR Scholar Peter Hendee Brown writes about real estate development business in Chicago, Miami, Portland (Oregon), and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Penn IUR Co-Directors Genie Birch and Susan Wachter reflect how Earth can survive, and even thrive, as the global population nears nine billion/
Penn IUR Faculty Fellow Richard Weller reflects on the first Earth Day in 1970.
Penn IUR Emerging Scholar Jesse Handbury writes about how large nutritional disparities exist across different socioeconomic groups in the United States.
Stefan Al writes about Dachong, in China, where in 2011 bulldozers destroyed over 10 million square feet of village housing and evicted more than 70,000 residents.
Penn IUR Newsletter, Spring 2015 offers a recap of the fall semester's activities and looks forward to upcoming events in Spring 2015.
While 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas today, that number is projected to jump to 66 percent by 2050. How can our cities keep pace?
Penn IUR Faculty Fellow Vivian L. Gadsden writes about the themes of race, poverty and change in America are as relevant as ever, as our nation grapples with the recent tragedies in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York.
Ken Lum reflects on how though art in the broader sense has always possessed a public dimension due to its requirement of an audience, public art was not formalized as a category of discourse until the mid-nineteenth century.
The same investors who once abandoned Philadelphia are now clamoring to get back in – and although new investment marks a reversal of fortunes for the City, it appears only a handful of neighborhoods have attracted this newfound attention.
Will the UN recognize the transformative power of cities as they construct the 2016 SDGs?
Penn IUR – through work sponsored by the Taiwan National Development Council – conducted this research summary to examine the growth of low-carbon and energy smart communities in the APEC region and assess their success.
Penn IUR's Fall 2014 Newsletter summarizes our work over the past semester and gives a preview of upcoming events and programs.
Penn IUR's 2013-14 Annual Report is titled "Building Shared Prosperity." It reflects Penn IUR's programming, research and publications over the previous year.
Penn IUR Faculty Fellow Matthew Steinberg writes about teacher evaluation reform and the importance of building research to inform policy.
Cities are back. For the first time in decades and for three consecutive years, cities in the United States are growing faster than their surrounding suburbs.
Explore six universities investing in revitalization and innovation beyond their campus boundaries.
This report stems from the Feeding Cities: Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World conference held at the University of Pennsylvania March 13–15, 2013.
This report addresses the "Sustainable Urbanization: Place Matters" summit hosted by Penn IUR in March 2014.
This report summarizes the discussions and findings of a a one-day symposium titled Urban Ecosystem Services and Decision-Making: A Green Philadelphia, held on May 23, 2013.
The United States is often hailed as the “land of opportunity,” but opportunities for upward income mobility in the U.S. are actually lower than in other countries.
Manny Diaz, former Miami mayor, writes about the need to restore pragmatism in politics through a renewed investment in our cities.
This special edition of "The Economist" magazine was prepared for the "Transforming Cities" meeting at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center.
Cities are, fundamentally, the people within them. It is people who envision and implement change. Thus, the route to urban vitality lies in adopting policies that help people to thrive and to innovate;
What is the role of the city in sustainable growth in the twenty-first century?
Most of the abundant new literature on recent immigration concentrates on the traditional immigrant ports-of-entry and on new and emerging immigrant gateways.
In 1950, Philadelphia reached its maximum population of just over 2 million residents. In the decades before 1950, Philadelphia invested heavily in an infrastructure needed to support a city that would continue to grow.
Buildings—particularly large commercial buildings and multi-family residential buildings—are a significant source of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Charles Branas writes that interest in health and safety programs that focus on improving the places people live, work, and play has grown over the past decade.
In 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation’s one-hundredth year, we have been deeply analyzing the issues and strengths that defined our first century.
As cities grow and urban populations expand, people are becoming increasingly disconnected from their sources of food.
All too often, young people in our country enter the job market without the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s workforce.
In 2013, as cities around the world expand, and as urban populations grow, we will face new challenges.
Small and mid-sized cities played a key role in the Industrial Revolution in the United States as hubs for the shipping, warehousing, and distribution of manufactured products.
The contributors of Policy, Planning, and People argue for the promotion of social equity and quality of life by designing and evaluating urban policies and plans.
In November 1993, the largest public housing project in the Puerto Rican city of Ponce—the second largest public housing authority in the U.S. federal system—became a gated community.
As Americans abandoned city centers to pursue visions of suburbia, architect and urban planner Edmund Bacon turned his sights on shaping urban America.
Almost fifty years ago, America's industrial cities—Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Baltimore, and others—began shedding people and jobs.
When the Barnes opened on May 19, 2012, art lovers rejoiced that one of the world’s foremost collections of modern works was back on display.