The Urbanism Lab is devoted to the study of urbanism at the University of Chicago. It includes course materials, research projects, and resources relevant to the built environment.

Emily Talen

Current projects

Street Life. Small independent retailers are the life-blood of thriving urban neighborhoods. What’s keeping them from thriving? This project seeks to understand the roots of their struggles — from market realities to government regulations. What incentives or financing mechanisms have successfully supported neighborhood shops? More....

City Cents. Where does public money go? How much expenditure is devoted to strengthening civic life? How much of it is used to address the problem of human connectivity, for example by investing in neighborhood-scale civic spaces? This project is a spatial analysis of public expenditures at all levels (city, state, federal) in an effort to understand how public money contributes — or doesn’t — to a sense of neighborhood.

The Urban Void. Vacant land in Chicago: where is it? who owns it? why does it sit fallow? This research presents a typology of vacantness and probes the civic, social, and economic implications of vacant land in Chicago’s neighborhoods.