Big Questions. Transformative Methods.

We study the fundamental processes that drive, shape, and sustain cities.

At the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, our researchers come from the social, natural, and computational sciences, along with the humanities. Together, we pursue innovative, interdisciplinary scholarship, develop new educational programs, and provide leadership and evidence to support global, sustainable urban development.

In the next 20-30 years, Earth will reach peak population, with the net population growth of 4 to 5 billion happening in cities. The Mansueto Institute creates the research, evidence, and knowledge that empowers citizens from the realms of policy, activism, and practice, to realize the potential of our increasingly urban world.

Our Approach

We are seizing this opportunity to create a fundamental science of cities, based on an interdisciplinary approach that makes the most of the data and knowledge that cities embody.


How Mapping in the Galapagos Could Create More Sustainable Cities

Mansueto Institute researchers spent the summer in the Galapagos studying how human development can be sustainably managed to coexist with the environment. Over the course of four weeks, our team gathered drone and satellite imagery to create 3D topographical models of one of the largest towns in the Islands. Analyzing this data and changes over time may inform sustainable development practices in the Galapagos and beyond. Read more and watch the video.

Discussion Video: A Conversation on the Future of Cities

Watch the video from our fall Urban Innovations event, which brought together Nicholas Negroponte and Carol Coletta to discuss innovative solutions to pressing issues faced by cities around the world. With moderation by Luis Bettencourt, the panelists explored technological advances, community-oriented interventions, and where the two can be integrated to achieve common goals.

Join Us: Panel Discussion on Space, Equity, and Lessons Learned from the Housing Field

On January 16, the Mansueto Institute invites you for a conversation on spatial equity, housing, and careers at this intersection. Part of the Kreisman Initiative on Housing Law and Policy, this event features panelists from academia, practice, policy, and activism to explore housing as a driver of spatial equity, as well as the ideas, professions, and institutions that address it. Read more and RSVP.

2019 Global Sustainability Summer School Applications Open

The Mansueto Institute is partnering with the Santa Fe Institute to sponsor the 2019 Global Sustainability Summer School, an intensive two-week program on issues of urban sustainability and technological innovations driving global, sustainable development. The school is for participants who seek background and hands-on experience to help them prepare to conduct interdisciplinary research in areas related to urban sustainability. Learn more and apply today.

2019-2020 Institute Postdoctoral Fellows Application

The Mansueto Institute invites applications for Institute Postdoctoral Fellows for appointments starting in September 2019. Fellowships at the Mansueto Institute are especially tailored to provide exceptional emergent scholars and practitioners with a unique nurturing environment that includes advanced technical training and provides a platform for problem-based interdisciplinary research. All application materials must be submitted by midnight on Thursday, December 20, 2018.

Math Helps Sprawling Cities Grow Sustainably And Reduce Slum Conditions

Check out the Forbes coverage of Luis Bettencourt’s participation in research analyzing community maps, satellite imagery and municipal data from a dozen cities to create a general new tool for urban planning. The study identifies key properties of street networks in order to develop the most efficient ways to build roads and water, gas and sanitation infrastructure in existing slums to quickly improve the quality of life for underserved residents.


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