The Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation

The Mansueto Institute serves as an intellectual destination at the University of Chicago for urban scholars, students, policy makers, and practitioners to generate the best knowledge and practices around urban development, while training the next generation of urban scholars and practitioners.

Cities spur almost all innovations in human societies by bringing together people, ideas, and resources. The current convergence of two explosive worldwide phenomena—urbanization and the growth in information technologies—is creating unprecedented opportunities for cities to be the accelerators of positive change in human societies, including a broad, peer-to-peer approach to innovation toward human sustainable development.

To understand the scale of this opportunity, one must understand that in the next 20 to 30 years, Earth will reach peak population, with the net population growth of four to five billion happening in cities. Mumbai, Delhi, Jakarta, and Lagos will double in 18 years to become the largest cities ever—50 to 60 million people by 2050.

Given its rich expertise across research areas and disciplines, the University of Chicago is in an exceptional position to increase understanding of urbanization and develop effective practices and interventions to improve the quality of life in cities. The Mansueto Institute was founded to meet this challenge by fostering innovative and interdisciplinary scholarship, developing new educational programs, and providing leadership on the local, national, and international levels to meet the challenges that cities face.

The Mansueto Institute’s work falls into three main areas:

  1. Building Interdisciplinary Urban Scholarship—the Institute takes a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to address the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly urbanized society.
  2. An Intellectual Destination—the Institute is a central place where scholars, students, policy makers, practitioners, and visitors come together. The Institute serves as both a physical and virtual destination by establishing:
    • Conferences, convenings, and other activities on campus
    • A virtual “library” of integrated urban data and the analytic tools needed to understand and compare urban areas worldwide
  3. Training the Next Generation—the Institute serves as a talent pipeline—helping to meet the demand for leaders trained with the tools needed to tackle complex urban questions by:
    • Working with schools and divisions to develop undergraduate curricula in urban science and practice
    • Creating internships and programs that prepare students at every level for leadership in urban life
    • Expanding support for graduate students and postdocs with urban interests

Your support of the Mansueto Institute will advance urban science and practice by supporting people, partnerships, convenings, and space:

  • People
    • Fellows in residence, professionals working at the frontiers of urban science and practice who can connect faculty and students to new research and practice partners;
    • External faculty in fields like urban design, architecture, engineering, and remote sensing;
    • Undergraduate and graduate student scholarships, for promising young scholars whose research advances urban science;
    • A postdoctoral cohort of Mansueto Fellows, placed in departments and schools around the university, who come together under the Mansueto umbrella to catalyze interdisciplinary research at the highest levels;
  • Partnerships
    • Centers like the Chicago Center for Urban Design and the Kreisman Housing Initiative will be incubated at the Mansueto Institute, serving as bridges to UChicago’s many schools, centers, and institutes;
    • Urban Data Observatory that partners with the private sector; this observatory will be both an infrastructure and a pipeline for new data from industry, allowing Mansueto’s researchers to work with data from private-sector urban service providers.
  • Convenings
    • Working groups for the world’s leading urban scientists and practitioners, who come together in Chicago and internationally under the auspices of the Mansueto Institute to develop shared, fundamental knowledge of cities;
    • A named speaker series, bringing in internationally recognized voices in the emerging field of urban science;
    • Chicago Speaks local speaker series, drawing from our city’s pool of urban scientists, practitioners, and civic leaders, creating knowledge about our city in the context of global urbanization;
    • Urban Designer in Residence, a yearlong fellowship for architects and designers to be in residence on campus, taking a full slate of courses, and teaching undergraduate and graduate studios and educating our student and faculty community on the design professions.
  • Space
    • A state-of-the-art facility to serve as a hub on campus and for visitors focused on the possibilities of urbanization—from better health care to understanding and enhancing the well-being of urban youth, to developing effective housing policies and reducing violence.