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.


Global Sustainability Summer School Kicks Off in Santa Fe

The 2019 Global Sustainability Summer School is an intensive two-week program on urban sustainability and technological innovations driving global, sustainable development. Hosted at the Santa Fe Institute in partnership with the University of Chicago’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, the program provides an immersive, solution-oriented experience for participants to explore interdisciplinary and forward-looking approaches to advance urban sustainability.

End Gerrymandering Through Congress, Not the Court

The Supreme Court has ruled on two egregiously gerrymandered Congressional districts – one Democratic and the other Republican, from Maryland and North Carolina. Gerrymandering distorts democracy and it’s easy to hate. But the ubiquitous calls from editorial boards, citizens, and scholars for the Supreme Court justices to simply “fix” the issue are misplaced. Congress – not the Court – is the proper venue for this debate. Read more in this opinion piece by James Saxon, postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Spatial Data Science.


UChicago Student Researchers Embark on 2019 Galápagos Urbanization & Sustainable Development Study

A cohort of four University of Chicago undergraduate research assistants and faculty advisors will embark on the second annual Galápagos Urbanization & Sustainable Development study. The 6-week research study, led jointly by the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation and the Program on the Global Environment (PGE), will explore evolution of the built environment and resource consumption on the Galápagos Islands. Read more.


Apply Now: Kreisman Graduate Fellows 2019-2020

Applications are now open for the Kreisman Graduate Fellows Program, a cohort of University of Chicago graduate students from across fields of study who are committed to pursuing careers in housing research or practice. The program runs for one academic year and is open to all Masters and PhD students at the University of Chicago, such as those studying law, policy, social services, social sciences, data science, and business. The deadline to apply is September 4. Read more and apply today.

How the principles of topology can help improve the world's slums

Around the world, informal settlements stem from all sorts of social and economic ills that don’t have easy solutions. But, these communities share a common trait: a lack of connectivity. Luis Bettencourt and a group of research partners have been exploring that lack of connectivity, in essence, as a math problem, and developing new tools that use topology to improve conditions in these urban areas. In this article by PNAS, Bettencourt discusses how using big data blended with community-based knowledge can impact our understanding of slums as well as inform interventions that seek to better connect them. 


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