Our Approach

Our Planet is Urbanizing at an Unprecedented Rate

In the next half-century, the world will reach peak population. All net growth is now happening in urban areas, creating many new megacities of unprecedented size and diversity.  As a result, the vast majority of people worldwide will share a common experience of living and working in urban environments — a new chapter in human history. At the Mansueto Institute, we seize the opportunity presented by rapid, global urbanization to redefine the boundaries of what is possible when science meets cities.   With research, creativity, and a dynamic relationship with the data around us, we create knowledge that empowers people and their governments to realize the positive potential of our increasingly urban world.

Realizing the Potential of People and Cities Globally

Every person is unique, yet we are all human. Every city is distinct, but all cities share common characteristics with other places. A systemic approach to cities surfaces these similarities, creating a platform to identify what is shared and what is particular. From this perspective, knowledge created locally in Chicago can be translated to Mumbai or Rio de Janeiro, and vice versa.

This type of knowledge comes from the synthesis that happens at the edges of traditional academic and institutional boundaries. The Mansueto Institute’s work begins where these boundaries end.  In all our research, partnerships, and practice, we strive to act more effectively locally, while learning faster globally.

A Crossroads Connecting Research and Practice

Because of our systemic approach to cities, the Mansueto Institute creates a natural meeting point for the full range of urban disciplines and methods.

We make the connection between cities and research, amplifying the University of Chicago’s work in education, policy, qualitative data analysis, social and health sciences, and the arts and humanities.

Nationally and globally, we create a space where local experiences in different cities and neighborhoods can be identified, connected, and distilled into knowledge that can be scaled up to new places and contexts.

How and Where We Work

Our researchers and scholars work together to span the social, natural, and computational sciences, along with the arts and humanities. We pursue innovative, interdisciplinary scholarship, develop new educational programs, and provide leadership and new forms of evidence to support people-centric, sustainable urban development. Urbanization is a worldwide phenomenon: The Mansueto Institute works globally, starting at home in Chicago. We connect the University of Chicago’s research worldwide and bring the most innovative urban thinkers and practitioners from around the globe to our local community.