Urban Studies

Economic Development in Our Nation’s Cities: A Conversation on Growing Jobs through Investment, Education, and International Trade

On October 18th, The Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project and Urban Sustainability Laboratory along with the Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) held a conversation with two of our nation’s leading mayors to discuss their role fostering urban growth with equity. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Blair Ruble, Vice President for Programs and Director of the Urban Sustainability Laboratory at the Wilson Center. Mayors play a critical role in ensuring their city continues improving while retaining its distinctiveness uniqueness.

Storm-Torn Cities Can Come Back More Dynamic than Ever

This hurricane season is already brutal. As Harvey and Irma rolled across the Gulf Coast, reports of urban devastation piled up. In part, the constant attention to smashed cities is an expected consequence of cities being where the people are and, perhaps more important, where TV stations are most likely to be found.

Moreover, cities — as the largest and arguably most complex product of human enterprise — are those places most likely to lose a concentrated battle with Mother Nature. As cities are made by humans, they necessarily are imperfect.

What to Do With Diversity in a Society

One very dark December morning in the early 1990s I found myself shuffling my boot-clad feet, trying to keep warm as I waited on an ice-covered rail platform 150-odd miles northeast of Moscow. As a Russian colleague and I began to conclude the train would never arrive, he quietly explained that we were standing atop hundreds of bodies. The prison trains leaving Moscow during the 1930s arrived in these very same switching yards and, as they were divided up to head to different labor camps, those who hadn’t survived were simply tossed into a pit by the tracks.

Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape

As nature’s largest and longest-lived creations, trees play an extraordinarily important role in our cities; they are living landmarks that define space, cool the air, soothe our psyches, and connect us to nature and our past. Today, four-fifths of Americans live in or near urban areas, surrounded by millions of trees of hundreds of different species. Despite their ubiquity and familiarity, most of us take trees for granted and know little of their fascinating natural history or remarkable civic virtues.

Cities in Play: Empowering Citizens and City Governments to Work for More Responsive Public Policies

As populations and economic potential become increasingly concentrated in urban areas, cities around the world are on the front lines of pressing global issues ranging from inequality to sustainability. Tackling these challenges requires both ingenuity and collaboration between public officials and citizens—and cities need to ensure that residents are equipped to engage. One way is through technology. Technology can be used to improve transparency, accountability, and communication between city officials and their residents.

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