Urban Studies | Wilson Center

Urban Studies

Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili and Physical Theater

Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili arrived in the United States with their own immigrant dream: to integrate their distinctive brand of physical theater into American theatrical life. As The New York Times has noted, their vision produces an “elegant fusion of dance and experimental theater.” Their approach draws on the long-standing theatrical traditions of their homeland, the country of Georgia, which merges physicality and mime into an exceptional brand of performance.

Violence and Crime in Major Andean Cities: Characteristics and Public Policies


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The Muse of Urban Delirium: How the Performing Arts Paradoxically Transform Conflict-Ridden Cities Into Centers of Cultural Innovation

This collection of essays seeks answers to the challenges of urban diversity, conflict, and creativity by examining the emergence of musical and theatrical originality in a series of specific cities at particular times. It does so by using various performing arts - opera, dance, theater, music - as windows onto the creativity of urban life. These were urban societies in which the socio-economic and political transformations were taking place at such rapid speed as to force consideration of their meaning and identity.

The Urban Disadvantage: Maternal and Newborn Inequalities Among the Urban Poor

Urbanization is changing the face of poverty and marginalization, and the maternal and newborn health field needs to change too, said a panel of experts at the Wilson Center on January 24.

Hometown D.C.: America's Secret Music City

In his memoir Music Is My Mistress, Duke Ellington fondly recalled whiling away the days of his youth at Holliday’s poolroom in Washington, DC.

Bringing New York to the Broadway Stage

In 1987, two very different reviews of the state of New York City appeared almost simultaneously. The first was a report issued by an ad hoc Commission on New York in 2000 chaired by Robert F. Wagner Jr., who was the son of the city’s beloved three-term mayor and grandson of a popular New York Senator, and was himself deeply involved in city affairs and a chair of the City Planning Commission. The second review was a special issue of the distinguished leftist journal Dissent edited by author and journalist Jim Sleeper.

Harnessing the Power of Grey: Aging Societies and Revitalizing Regional Urban Centers in Japan and the United States

Nearly 40 percent of Japan’s population is expected to be over 65 years old by 2060, addressing the needs of a greying society could well be Japan’s single biggest challenge. In the United States, a steady flow of immigration has kept the demographic spread more balanced, but some cities are facing more obstacles than others to address the concerns of an aging population. Yet meeting the needs of an increasingly aging population could actually lead to greater innovation and efficiencies in urban areas.

The Terrible Amusement Park that Explains Chongqing’s Economic Miracle

Locajoy, an amusement park a two-hour drive from downtown Chongqing, has seen better days. When I visited in November, the walls of the dolphin enclosure — where dolphins perform daily with a chimpanzee in a yellow Hawaiian shirt and a handler dressed as Capt. Jack Sparrow — were stained brown with what looked like giant cigarette burns. Brightly colored, animal-shaped Fiberglass floats, built for parades through the park, had been bleached white in parts by the sun, and some had such large holes that you could see inside their empty shell.

10 steps to a more genuine D.C. experience

Every year, around Labor Day, recent college graduates descend on the District in hopes of finding a job. I am writing to offer them some advice about how to adapt to their new home.

Small is Beautiful: A Washington Tale of Little Red Rockers and Ducks

 Sometimes the smallest of interventions into the life of a city are the most appreciated.  This lesson is on display once more with the addition of a dozen or so bright red rocking chairs around the Southwest Duck Pond in Washington, D.C.