Urban Studies | Wilson Center

Urban Studies

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.

Company Towns in Russia: Past and Present

This panel examined company towns that arose in Russia during industrialization in the late 19th century, and those experiencing deindustrialization in the late 20th century. Volodymyr Kulikov compared company towns in the US and in Imperial Russia, exploring the social transformations that took place as farmers, peasants, and migrants entered the company-centered industrial world. Stephen Crowley discussed the current dilemmas of Russia’s “monotowns,” one-industry cities and towns created during the Soviet era that are often struggling to survive in a competitive global economy.

Brent Lindsay and Amy Pinto and Community-Specific Theater

A garage door dominates the cinderblock industrial storefront tucked onto Santa Rosa, California’s Sebastopol Avenue next door to the Criminal Baking Company and uncomfortably close to a major highway cloverleaf. Only a splash of purple paint and a seemingly handmade red sign suggest what lurks inside – an exciting scrappy theater company -- The Imaginists -- dedicated to art, activism and community, bringing theater to the disenfranchised and the disenfranchised to contemporary American theater.

Russia Is a Political Hazard Zone

Russia has not seen a protest of this size since 2012 or earlier: on March 26, tens of thousands of people went out into the streets to show their indignation at government corruption. Some 1,500 were detained and dozens prosecuted as a result. Unusually for Russia, protestors in more than 80 cities took part in the events.