Cities concentrate our most pressing social and environmental issues while also bringing about innovative responses to these challenges and numerous forms of experimentation.

The Urban Democracy Lab promotes critical, creative, just, and sustainable forms of urbanism primarily through novel forms of practice-based research. Our work focuses on new forms of urban democracy, whether in governance, activism, self-management, or creative production, and is fueled by a core set of beliefs:

  • As a university-based initiative, we believe that universities can play a critical civic role in promoting social justice scholarship, curricular innovation, public engagement, and programming. 
  • Inspired by the idea of a social lab, we believe in experimentation, collaboration, and in reaching in the direction of systemic solutions.
  • While we are based in New York City, we are globally engaged, as we believe each urban context offers a unique opportunity for research, learning, and collaboration.

In keeping with these values, we sponsor several fellowships for students each year, and maintain an active roster of visiting scholars from around the globe. We have a dedicated student advisory board and sponsor a number of working groups and ongoing projects. Central to our work are our community partners, and we maintain several active partnerships with groups and organizations that help give our work direction and to whom we remain accountable.