Incubating Ideas at the Cutting Edge
We create and nurture initiatives from the most innovative urban scholars.
The Mansueto Institute provides a platform for researchers and scholars to incubate and anchor multidisciplinary initiatives. This includes support from a data scientist on staff, communications, and development. Each initiative affiliated with the Mansueto Institute is led by one or more faculty members.
We look for innovators across UChicago who are leading initiatives with the potential for local and global impact. Our initiatives share a commitment to the highest level of scholarship in the realms of science, the arts, humanistic inquiry, and practice. Initiatives are continually being sought and created towards incubating efforts that can grow and become self-sustaining.
Some initiatives focus primarily on scientific research and disciplinary frontiers, while others on learning and engagement. All initiatives share a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to tackling the challenges and opportunities of cities.
William J. and Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor
Faculty Director, Mansueto Institute
Using Municipal Finance Techniques to Improve Government Efficiency
The Center for Municipal Finance (CMF) enables students and faculty to engage the major financial issues of the day facing state and local governments in the United States and around the globe. Some of the topical and enduring issues of municipal finance include financing infrastructure, the use of municipal bonds, privatization, pension liabilities and the efficacy of reform, tax base adequacy, and more. CMF runs the Property Tax Fairness project, an evaluation of property tax assessment equity across the United States.
Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Sociology
Applying Spatial Analysis to Drive Breakthroughs in Social Science
The Center for Spatial Data Science (CSDS) asserts that location represents an important dimension of any social science research problem. From economics to criminology, or from sociology to public health, researchers at the CSDS create state-of-the-art methods and tools to demonstrate how space matters across leading edge problems in research and practice.
Professor, Ecology and Evolution
Building Urban Resilience by Studying Local Climate Change
The Community Research on Climate and Urban Science (CROCUS) is a flagship project from the U.S. Department of Energy to create a network of Urban Integrated Field Laboratories for the study of climate change in local urban communities across the U.S. The project is led by Argonne National Laboratory with the University of Chicago and other higher education institutions in the greater Chicago area, as well as four community partners. The Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation heads the University of Chicago’s affiliation with CROCUS.
Associate Professor, Department of Geophysical Sciences; and
Director, Program on the Global Environment
Empowering Students to Create a Scientifically Robust, Sustainable Future
Environmental Frontiers gives UChicago students a scientific and practical understanding of urban sustainable development, starting with projects on campus. Students work under the guidance of faculty to develop research and applied projects that explore and enhance campus sustainability, with an eye toward broader impact into whole urban areas and their neighborhoods.
Building a Community of Scholars to Advance Housing Research and Practice
The Kreisman Initiative for Housing Law and Policy brings together students, faculty, and professionals from multiple disciplines to develop new integrative knowledge, data, and policy about housing. The initiative focuses on the development of research fellows and graduate students with an interest in housing careers, and connects fundamental perspectives developed at the University with challenges in particular settings in the United States and around the world.
William J. and Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor, Faculty Director, Mansueto Institute
Empowering Journalists to Tell Stories about Cities, Through High-quality Data Science
Investigative journalism increasingly involves digging into large data sets with granular detail on topics such as housing and real estate, policing and crime, voting and elections, education, climate, and government finance. Analyzing and presenting this information in a rigorous, engaging, and impactful way takes significant time, computational power, and expertise — at a moment when many newsrooms are strapped for resources and staff. Leveraging the University of Chicago’s robust data science infrastructure, the Local Data Journalism Initiative establishes partnerships between news organizations and university-led data science teams to conduct ambitious investigative journalism on issues affecting cities, using the highest caliber data science and artificial intelligence tools and methodologies. The initiative is run in partnership with the Data Science Institute and the Mansueto Institute.
Professor, Ecology and Evolution and the College
Tackling Human Societies’ Greatest Challenges Neighborhood by Neighborhood
The Million Neighborhoods initiative is a collaborative network of diverse organizations working locally in Chicago and in neighborhoods throughout the world towards more sustainable and equitable human development. The network builds a common framework, tools, and data for mapping, planning, and coordinating solutions towards fulfilling the UN’s Agenda 2030 for Global Sustainable Development.
Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture; A Partnership with UChicago Arts
Advancing Urban Design through Innovative Research, Conceptualization, and Training
Urban Architecture and Design seeks to transform how we envision the future of the built environment. The initiative brings together UChicago faculty and the world’s leading design practitioners to pursue research, programs, and pedagogy that face the challenge of today’s environmental, social, and economic imperatives.
Urban Cognition Lab
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
Exploring How Urban Landscapes Affect Human Cognition and Decision Making
The Urban Cognition Lab investigates how the design of the physical environment affects an individual’s brain and behavior. Scientists develop experiments, methodologies, and instrumentation for discovering how people respond, physically and cognitively, to different kinds of places. Their findings help spatial designers, policymakers, and planners build urban spaces that better foster humanwell-being and social life.
As stepping stones toward Initiatives, the Mansueto Institute supports faculty-led Working Groups, which foster interdisciplinary discussions and collaboration on themes related to the future of urban resilience, inclusivity, and prosperity. Themes may deal with theory, methods and/or new datasets, and have a localized focus while creating generalizable knowledge for cities globally.
Faculty Steering Committee Members from the Biological Sciences and Social Sciences Divisions
The Trauma Interest Work Group (TIWG) promotes the scientific, interdisciplinary understanding of trauma, and works to improve equity and justice on the South Side of Chicago and beyond. We do this through education, scholarship, clinical care, community engagement, and advocacy.
Senior Computer Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory
Creating Sensor Networks and Software Tools to Promote Health and Well-being in Cities
The Array of Things is a network of interactive, modular sensors that collect real-time data on a city’s environment, infrastructure, and activity for research and public use. The initiative enables anyone to access data about climate, air quality, noise, and other factors that affect the livability of our built and natural environments.