Urban Studies Research Resources

Research is an important aspect of Urban Studies, particularly within the rapidly altering landscape of the 21st Century urban setting. Growing cities are examining urban renewal while still focusing on sustainability, population flux, and aesthetic longevity. We encourage you to explore a diverse amount of organizations, student groups, and periodicals that will give insight to the many challenging topics that you may encounter while exploring or conducting your research.

Useful Links to Assist You in Your Urban Studies Research

  • Atlas of Urban Expansion
    Part of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Atlas provides the geographic and quantitative dimensions of urban expansion and its key attributes in cities the world over.

    Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program
    Provides decision-makers with timely trend analysis, cutting-edge research and policy ideas for improving the health and prosperity of cities and metropolitan areas.

    Center for Urban Research
    Housed at CUNY, the Center organizes basic research on the critical issues that face New York and other large cities in the U.S. and abroad.

    Center for Urban Policy Research
    Basic and applied research on a broad spectrum of public policy issues.

    Furman Center
    Academic and empirical research on legal and public policy issues involved in real estate, housing, and urban affairs.

    Gotham Center
    Gotham Center. Research Center and public programs on New York City history sponsored by the Graduate Center of CUNY

    Internet resource center on urban history

    The Urban Portal
    A core project of the University of Chicago Urban Network, focusing on urban social science

    Urban Institute
    Nonpartisan economic and social research institute located in Washington, DC

    Urban Land Institute
    Nonprofit education and research institute with focus on the use of land in order to enhance the total environment.

  • Institute for Urban Family Health
    Dedicated to the development of high quality health care services for urban populations

    National Urban League
    Premier social service and civil rights organization in America

    Place Matters
    Promotes and protects urban places in New York City

    Urban Ecology
    An organization dedicated to building ecologically and socially healthy cities

  • Planner's Network
    Progressive professionals and activists concerned with urban planning and social justice

    Urban Affairs Association
    International professional organization for urban scholars, researchers and public service providers

  • Gotham Gazette
    A leading daily publication covering New York City politics and urban news.

    Next American City
    A national magazine created for and by a new generation of urban thinkers and leaders.

    A public-interest information exchange for the urban planning, design, and development community.

    Urban Omnibus
    An online project of the Architectural League to create a new kind of conversation about design and New York City.

    City Limits
    New York's urban affairs news source.

    Journal of Urban Affairs
    Focusing on urban research and policy analysis, the journal offers multidisciplinary perspectives and explores issues of relevance to both scholars and practitioners.

    The Urban Reinventors
    Online urban journal, whose aim is to analyze the entrepreneurial strategies of reinvention of the contemporary city.

    International databases containing over 700,000 references on urban and regional policy and planning.

    Urban Studies Journal
    Scholarly journal featuring the latest academic work in the field.

  • Eco-Urban Renaissance
    A GSA Charter Group strives to make connections between the disciplines of ecology and urban studies.

    Students for Environmental Protection and Awareness
    Fordham student group for students especially interested in urban ecology.

    Students for Progressive Justice
    Fordham student group dedicated to educating and empowering students through social justice and action.

Student Research

Nisa Khurram Hafeez at Commencement with umbrella in the rain

Nisa Khurram Hafeez is a graduate student in the Urban Studies program at Fordham University. Originally from Karachi, Pakistan, Nisa has spent a significant portion of her professional life working on policy change for gender-based violence. Her current research interests lie at the intersection of planning and policy implementation on issues of inequality and urban resource accessibility aimed toward gender, minority groups, and other marginalized populations. She interned with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency during her second year in the Transit Performance and Analysis team where she worked to solve problems emerging within field operations in public transit. She also worked on in-house advocacy on a new harassment reporting campaign launched under the agency last year. Her final year thesis titled “Gendered City: Women’s Experiences in Urban Public Transportation” focuses on women’s experiences in New York’s subway system through aspects of safety and inclusion. Read below to learn more about Nisa’s work and plans after graduation:

Q. How did your own life experiences impact your thesis?
My experiences working at the Legal Aid Society in my hometown and navigating a new city like New York had a significant impact on my thesis. I spent most of my time there working with government stakeholders on policy change and continuous advocacy on provincial laws surrounding sexual violence. When I moved to New York, I began navigating the city's public transit system for the first time, and it was then that I started wondering about women's overall safety and usability in urban spaces. My initial focus was too broad, but as I became more familiar with the city, I realized that I could narrow my scope to New York's subway system, which led to my thesis topic.

Q. How did you experience doing field research in New York City?
Doing field research in New York City was a challenging yet exciting experience for me. To be honest, it was definitely outside of my comfort zone. I found myself navigating the subway at odd times of the night, which is something I have never done before. But despite feeling nervous, I was also exhilarated by the opportunity to conduct research independently and to shape my fieldwork based on my research questions. At first, I felt completely lost and overwhelmed by the city's size and complexity. However, as I spent more time in the field, I became well acquainted with the patterns I observed, and I started to enjoy every bit of it. The experience taught me a lot about urban research methods, but it also taught me a lot about myself and my ability to adapt to new situations.

Nisa Khurram Hafeez and Dr. Annika Hinze at Commencement posing in the rain

Q. Did you find any part of the work particularly challenging?
I would say that one of the most challenging aspects was being a participant in my own research. It was important for me to approach my field work with a clean slate and try to avoid any inherent biases that could cloud my findings. Essentially, I had to constantly remind myself to look for new patterns and avoid getting stuck on what I had already discovered. I think this was necessary to prevent things from becoming too repetitive and mundane. It was a difficult task, but it helped me to stay focused and motivated throughout the research process.

Q. What is next for you?
I've enjoyed my time as a graduate student, but I'm now excited to start my professional career. My research interests and passion are focused on transportation, and I'm eager to take the next step by working with transportation agencies across the country on projects related to transit mobility and accessibility. I'm looking forward to contributing to the field and making a difference in people's lives by improving their access to transportation.

Q. Do you have any words of wisdom for new cohorts?
My advice to new cohorts would be to keep an open mind and take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. The Urban Studies program at Fordham is a multidisciplinary one that focuses on a range of subjects, such as sociology, political science, anthropology. You will encounter diverse perspectives from professors and colleagues that may challenge any preconceived ideas. Embrace the challenge and use those perspectives to build your own understanding of urban studies.