The Center for Globalization Studies in an Urban World is a center founded within Penn IUR that supports research and teaching on globalization—at Penn and beyond.
In 2012-2013, Penn IUR launched the Research Digest to cover the findings, success stories, and case studies coming out of the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (formerly the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub), one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) three innovation clusters, based at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
The topic of disaster in urban landscapes—preparedness, response and recovery—has gained increasing visibility in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. Penn IUR aims to promote and further understanding of this critical issue through its publications and conferences.
In partnership with the Taiwan Institute for Economic Research (TIER), Penn IUR is working to develop and maintain a knowledge-sharing platform (KSP) for the Energy Smart Communities Initiative (ESCI) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Working Group (EWG).
Penn IUR promotes dialogue and fosters multidisciplinary collaboration among scholars in addressing food security, a critical issue in today’s rapidly urbanizing world. In March 2013, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and Penn’s Office of the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives., and in partnership with the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine and a Faculty Steering Committee representing nine schools and six centers at the University of Pennsylvania, Penn IUR convened the “Feeding Cities: Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World” conference.
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 seeks to promote scholarship and discussion related to the housing market, including affordability and financing systems, through its events and publications.
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.
The City of Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, along with other city agencies, is planning for new strategies to address vacant land issues in Philadelphia. As part of this effort, RDA engaged the Econsult Corporation and the Penn Institute for Urban Research to estimate the costs of vacant land to the City, and to assess the feasibility of urban agriculture on vacant land owned by the RDA.
Penn IUR has joined other universities across the nation to create a “Metro Lab Network” of university and city government partnerships committed to collaboration focused on 21st century solutions to the challenges confronting infrastructure, city services, and civic engagement. The Metro Lab Network will bring together university researchers with city decision makers to research, develop, and deploy (“RD&D”) technology‐ and analytically‐based solutions to the problems facing the systems and infrastructure on which our citizens, cities, and regional economies depend.
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.
As part of the Energy Efficient Building Hub (EEB Hub) project (now the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation), and in partnership with PJM Interconnection LLC Penn IUR developed an electricity price ticker, a web-based and desktop app which allows people to track the wholesale price of electricity.
With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Penn IUR explores the topic of rapid urbanization— both understanding how cities create and transfer knowledge=, and identifying policy interventions to support rapidly urbanizing cities.
Through an ongoing partnership with the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, Penn IUR fosters research and collaboration related to the growth and revitalization of older cities.
Penn IUR is a partner with UN-HABITAT, the United Nations agency for human settlements. The goal of UN-HABITAT is to help the urban poor by bridging the urban divides and transforming cities to cleaner, greener, safer, smarter and more equitable places with better opportunities where everyone can live in dignity.
Penn IUR partners with the Wharton GIS Lab on a research collaborative, the Spatial Integration Laboratory for Urban Systems (SILUS), to study ecological, environmental, and socioeconomic issues involved in urban and regional development.
Through expert roundtables, lectures, conferences, and publications, Penn IUR seeks to promote discussion and highlight important research and discussion related to urban education and workforce opportunity.
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. After half a century of relentless population decline and several false starts at revitalization, residential investment in America’s urban centers began to pick up in the mid- 1990s. In the ten years between the 2000 and 2010 decennial censuses, the housing stock in America’s 50 largest central cities grew by 1.5 million dwelling units, or 8.3 percent.
Laura W. Perna writes that improving college access and success for low-income and first-generation students requires a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach, and commitment from multiple stakeholders, including the federal government.
The economic consequences of urban blight are obvious: depressed property values for individuals and increased maintenance costs with reduced tax revenue for local government.[ii] What is less recognized though is that urban blight is making residents sick. But how? Vacant lots and abandoned homes are often filled with trash and overgrown vegetation. People living near vacant land report concerns over rodents, child injury, personal safety, and stigma associated with their neighborhood situation.[iii] In addition, vacant lots and abandoned homes often serve as nodes of crime, with people using them to sell and use drugs, for prostitution, and to hide illegal guns.
Penn IUR, through work sponsored by the Taiwan National Development Council, conducted a research summary looking at the growth of low-carbon and energy smart communities in the APEC region and attempts to assess their success. The research began with an overview of three programs, which provide frameworks for the development of energy smart (efficient) communities: APEC’s The Concept of the Low Carbon Model Town; World Bank’s Ecological Cities as Economic Cities; and OECD’s Green Growth in Cities. These programs both define energy smart communities and present metrics to chart their implementation.
Penn IUR Faculty Fellow Sara Heller writes about the role that targeted policy interventions can play in improving the lives of urban minority youth.
Based on interviews with over a hundred people involved in the real estate development business in Chicago, Miami, Portland (Oregon), and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, How Real Estate Developers Think considers developers from three different perspectives. Brown profiles the careers of individual developers to illustrate the character of the entrepreneur, considers the roles played by innovation, design, marketing, and sales in the production of real estate, and examines the risks and rewards that motivate developers as people. Ultimately, How Real Estate Developers Thinkportrays developers as creative visionaries who are able to imagine future possibilities for our cities and communities and shows that understanding them will lead to better outcomes for neighbors, communities, and cities.
That the earth’s landscape is changing around us is no secret: urban areas are expanding, population densities are increasing, and green spaces are shrinking. In the midst of this transformation, urbanists, scientists, and policy makers are watching and weighing in, hoping that through better understanding of the dynamics of urbanization and sustainability, the earth can adapt, accommodate, and— yes—even thrive as the global population nears an anticipated nine billion or more in the next three decades.
The first Earth Day was held in Philadelphia on April 22nd 1970. It was the culmination of a week of related events celebrating emergent environmental consciousness conceived and organized by students in what was then the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania (now known as PennDesign). Speakers included Ralph Nader, Ian McHarg, Rene Dubois, Paul Ehrlich, Lewis Mumford and Allen Ginsberg, replete with performances by the entire cast of the musical ‘Hair’. As we would say today, news of the event “went viral” at the time and incited worldwide celebrations-as-protests that persist to this day.
Large nutritional disparities exist across different socioeconomic groups in the United States. A commonly cited explanation for these nutritional disparities is spatial disparities in access to stores selling nutritious foods. The past decade has seen a growing number of federal and state programs providing loans, grants, and tax credits to stimulate supermarket development and to encourage retailers to offer healthful foods in “food deserts” (CDC, 2011). The hope is that improving access to healthy foods will improve the diets of households residing in currently underserved areas.
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.
The world’s urban population is growing rapidly, and this population will present significant challenges for global cities in the coming decades. While 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas today, that number is projected to jump to 66 percent by 2050. So how can our cities keep pace? How can they expand sustainably to absorb this massive population increase? For our annual roundup of expert voices this year, we asked a panel of urban experts to weigh in on how cities factor into global efforts to make the world a more sustainable place. In particular, we asked our experts to consider this question of sustainability in the context of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), universally applicable goals that will drive the implementation of sustainable development on a global scale.
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. Racial politics, the realities of living as a minority in our country, and the complex and charged emotions attached to these themes are making front-page headlines every day. In the face of such tragedy, and at a time when questions of equity and equality are at the forefront of the public consciousness, how can we further the dialogue about true and meaningful change?
Today, iconic public artworks, both permanent and temporary, are defining visual elements of many urban landscapes—from the LOVE sculpture (1976) in Philadelphia to The Gates installation (2005) in Central Park. This has not always been the case. While 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.
Within a year, the UN General Assembly will replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), universally applicable goals that will drive the implementation of sustainable development on a global scale. Urbanists need to pay attention. In particular, they should be concerned with the key question: Will the 193 nation-member states acknowledge the urbanization mega-trend and recognize the transformative power of cities as they construct the goals?
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.
Matthew Steinberg writes about teacher evaluation reform and the importance of building research to inform policy. Student achievement is influenced by many factors outside of a school’s control, including students’ baseline knowledge and skills when they enter the system and their families’ income level and overall economic stability. However, of the factors that are within a school’s sphere of influence, teachers are the most important for improving student outcomes. A teacher’s influence is particularly crucial in large urban districts, where student achievement tends to be low and neighborhood disadvantage high.
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. Cities are once again an essential part of the U.S. economy. In today’s knowledge-based economy, the innovation, productivity and lifestyle afforded by dense cities are a crucial element to continued economic growth. Nonetheless, legacy problems stemming from the steep decline of America’s cities in the second half of the 20th century, coupled with obsolete governance, still persist in many of our nation’s large cities. Cities will likely continue on their new path and prosper, but the failure to address the legacy issues and modernize governance will be costly for cities, their surrounding suburbs, and the U.S. economy overall.
"The Power of Eds & Meds: Urban Universities Investing in Neighborhood Revitalization and Innovation Districts" explores the motivations and strategies behind 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 and convened by Penn IUR and The
Rockefeller Foundation. Part I of this report is a concept paper by Eugénie L. Birch outlining the
relationship between urbanization and food security throughout the world, Part II constitutes the
conference proceedings assembled by Alexander Keating, and Part III reports on the photography
exhibit that accompanied the international conference.
On March 27-28 2014 Penn IUR hosted a summit entitled "Sustainable Urbanization: Place Matters." This report summarizes the summit roundtables and panel discussions and presents seven cross-cutting research agendas that emerged from the conversations: urban form, inequality, collective intelligence and data, knowledge transfer, climate change and resilience, informality and institutional capacity.
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 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, and sponsored by The Penn Institute for Urban Research (IUR) and the Spatial Integration Laboratory for Urban Systems (SILUS).
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. A child born to parents in the bottom fifth of the income distribution has a 7.5% chance of reaching the top fifth of the income distribution in the U.S., far lower than peer developed countries. Improving the rate of upward income mobility is an important issue for policy makers not just because it is one of the core principles of American society but also because improving mobility can have substantial implications for overall economic development.
This special edition of "The Economist" magazine was prepared as background reading for participants sharing insights and planning collective action at 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.
A mere six years ago, when a major metropolitan area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the nation witnessed and was embarrassed by the pictures of dysfunction that ensued.
Education, long the key to opportunity in the United States, has become simply essential to earning a decent living.
A number of U.S. cities, former manufacturing centers of the Northeast and Midwest, have suffered such dramatic losses in population and employment.
Six-year-old Manuel Diaz and his mother first arrived at Miami's airport in 1961 with little more than a dime for a phone call to their relatives in the Little Havana neighborhood.
In the wake of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, many are asking what, if anything, can be done to prevent large-scale disasters.
Large-scale emigration from the Dominican Republic began in the early 1960s, with most Dominicans settling in New York City. Since then the growth of the city's Dominican population has been staggering, now accounting for around 7 percent of the total populace.
Global Downtowns reconsiders one of the defining features of urban life—the energy and exuberance that characterize downtown areas—within a framework of contemporary globalization and change.
This volume examines the rebuilding of cities and their environs after a disaster and focuses on four major issues.
Over the years, the significance of green in civic life has grown.
For the first time in history, the majority of the world's population lives in urban areas.
Does the place where you lived as a child affect your health as an adult?
Successful home ownership requires the availability of appropriate mortgage products.
At 1:27 on the morning of August 4, 2005, Herbert Manes fatally stabbed Robert Monroe, known as Shorty, in a dispute over five dollars.
Edward J. Blakely has been called upon to help rebuild after some of the worst disasters in recent American history.
Tomography is a method of exploring a phenomenon through a large number of examples or perspectives.
Growing urbanization affects women and men in fundamentally different ways, but the relationship between gender and city environments has been ignored or misunderstood.
Born in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood of Dublin, John F. Timoney moved to New York with his family in 1961.
On summer nights on downtown Los Angeles's Bunker Hill, Grand Performances presents free public concerts for the people of the city.
In Jerusalem, Israeli and Jordanian militias patrolled a fortified, impassable Green Line from 1948 until 1967.
Since the early years of the twentieth century, public authorities have been providing an enormous share of the public infrastructure in the United States.
Typically residing in areas of concentrated urban poverty, too many young black men are trapped in a horrific cycle.
In the last quarter of the twentieth century, urban colleges and universities found themselves enveloped by poverty, crime, and physical decline.
As the citizens of New Orleans regroup and put down roots elsewhere, many wonder what will become of one of the nation's most complex creole cultures.