Welcome to Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary program in the College of Arts & Sciences. It draws on faculty and resources across the university and the city to offer students a multi-faceted approach to the study of urban trends.  More...

Showcasing Students' Work

During the Spring 2016 semester, students in URBS 200 will study the economic, social, and cultural life of Chinatown North. Click here to see student work from previous semesters! 

Graduate Certificate Program: Accepting Applications

Fall Deadline Nov. 6, 2015

1) CV
2) Letter of interest
3) Statement of purpose

Click here for full details

Book Talk: Building the New Urbanism

Friday, Oct. 30th, noon
Location: Fisher-Bennett Room 222

New Urbanism is perhaps the most influential movement that has emerged in suburban design, planning and development in recent decades. Aaron Passell's Building the New Urbanism provides the first in-depth sociological investigation of the emergence of this phenomenon.

More on the book and author here.

URBS Tour of the Reading Viaduct Rail Park

This September, Urban Studies toured Philadelphia’s planned Rail Park, one of our city's largest upcoming historical revitalization projects.

Take a look at photos of our tour here.

Click here to support the work of Friends of the Rail Park.



32nd Annual Public Lecture

On Nov. 9th, Abigail Perkiss delivered her lecture "Ideals Unfulfilled: Integration, Liberalism, and Urban Education in Postwar Philadelphia." If you missed it, click here to watch the video!

Recent News

  • Studies in Rapid Neighborhood Change

    Since 2011, Ira Goldstein and Mark Stern have taught URBS200—Urban Research Methods—using a community case study approach. We have chosen a neighborhood and used a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods to learn about its economic, social, and cultural life.  Because Philadelphia is a dynamic city, these case studies typically focused around issues of community change: what has changed and how have those changes affected community residents?

  • School Closures Conference

    On June 19, 2015, over 65 people gathered at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for a one-day convening on school closure research in the mid-Atlantic. Participants represented communities and institutions throughout the region, including: Baltimore; Boston; Cleveland; Newark, N.J.; New York; Philadelphia; and Rochester, N.Y. The event consisted of three research roundtables, a panel discussion of strategies for making research useful, and a keynote response from Dr.

  • More Than Just Dollars and Cents

    Ariel Bierbaum, a Visiting Scholar at the Urban Studies Program this year (2014-15) and Urbs alumn (2000), has spent the past year observing the impact of school closures on Philly neighborhoods and interviewing the communities and public agencies affected by the process. Here she blogs about her work for the Community Design Collaborative: http://cdesignc.org/blog/2015/08/04/more-than-just-dollars-and-cents

    Photo credit: Tim Gibbons, memorial by Tim and his students

Alumni Achievements