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Urban Studies

Times Square Street Scene - LG

Designed as an interdisciplinary program, Urban Studies offers a broad introduction to the city and the urban environment.

Students combine course work and urban issues with hands-on experience in New York City. A dedicated faculty offer courses ranging from urban politics and community, architecture and the built environment, urban history, immigration and class relations, to literary representations of urban space.

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Built Heritage special issue on Shanghai

Built Heritage Shanghai cover

A new special issue of Built Heritage, “Shanghai: Heritage at the Crossroads of Culture,” is edited by Fordham Professor of History Rosemary Wakeman. The journal is published by the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University in Shanghai.

from wakeman's introduction: 

“Shanghai is among the most dynamic global cities of both the 20th and 21st centuries. The city is China’s gateway to the world and its aspirations for the future. With more than 24 million people, 40 percent of whom are migrants, it is a global crossroads and one of the most multicultural cities in the world. It has more skyscrapers than New York and a public transport system that overtakes most global cities. Shanghai is a trading city, an entrepot of commodities. It exports electronic information products, automobiles, petrochemicals, fine steel, equipment, and biomedicine. It has the highest GDP of any city in China’s mainland and has become one of the leading financial sectors in East Asia, with major Western banks flocking to its new financial centre. With well over 500 multinational companies, the city attracts more foreign investment flows than most developing countries. Along with them has come a highly-skilled workforce from all over the world. Shanghai’s urban middle-class has fuelled China’s consumer revolution and a property boom. Sleek skyscrapers and glamorous malls, its brilliant skyline, dominate the global image of Shanghai and beckon tourists to its shores.”

Read more of “Shanghai: Heritage at the Crossroads of Culture” at built-heritage.net.


Mapping (In)Justice Symposium 
digital theory + praxis for critical scholarship

Mapping (In)Justice Symposium

This event happened on November 7–9, 2019
Fordham University | Lincoln Center Campus

from mappinginjustice.org: This symposium creates space for critically considering digital mapping as both a method and an object of analysis. Specifically, we invite submissions that analyze or utilize spatial media so as to rethink and re-present distributions of capital, power, and privilege in historical, contemporary, and speculative contexts.

We center “mapping” as an organizing theme for understanding and engaging social (in)justice because of its expanding role in literally and metaphorically arranging contemporary life. The everyday adoption of new spatial media—such as web-based mapping platforms, geosocial applications, and locative data—increasingly orient how society understands the past, experiences the present, and plans for the future. To map social justice and injustice is to consider how spatial media can help draw together dichotomies such as medium/method, art/science, and ontology/epistemology so as to trace, represent, and rework matters of inequity. This symposium thus encourages submissions that explore structural inequities in or through spatial media, especially as they relate to matters of difference—such as race, gender, class, ethnicity, ability, sexuality, and religion. We also encourage submissions that utilize digital mapping to spatially represent historically marginalized perspectives through empirical, textual, archival, participatory, and/or pedagogical methods.

Learn more at mappinginjustice.org.

keynote speakers:

featured projects:

hosted by Fordham University’s Digital Scholarship Consortium and Office of Research in partnership with New York University and Columbia University.


BIDs in NYC Panel Talk
NYC's Business Improvement Districts: Contributions and Critiques

BIDS in NYC

This event happened on Wednesday, October 30
Fordham University | Rose Hill Campus

Join Fordham University alums Prof. Abe Unger and Rob Walsh, and Dr. Paul Kantor, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Fordham, for an evening of conversation on BIDs in New York City.

about the panelists:

from Abe Unger's Business Improvement Districts (2016):

Privatization has transformed cities, particularly through the role of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in the revitalization of America’s downtowns. These public-private partnerships between property owners and municipal government have developed retail strips across the United States into lifestyle and commercial hubs. BIDs are non-profit community organizations with the public power to tax and spend on services in their districts, but they are unelected bodies often operating in the shadows of local government. They work as agents of economic development, but are they democratic? What can we learn from BIDs about the accountability of public-private partnerships, and how they impact our lives as citizens?

sponsored by: Fordham Urban Studies Program and Department of Political Science.


What Makes a Great City Tick?

Prof. Annika Hinze

Director of Urban Studies, and Professor of Political Science, Annika Hinze, is researching the best practices for making cities just, fair, and equitable for all.

If you go into communities and interview people who live in what we call gentrifying communities, a lot of them welcome the changes in the neighborhood. Everybody wants to live in a nice neighborhood, with good infrastructure, and good schools that come with gentrification. It’s just that the residents want to stay in the neighborhood once it turns.

Because cities are growing in importance around the globe, Hinze said she’s eager to continue partnerships with institutions in Pretoria, Berlin, and Amsterdam, and recruit more international students to study in New York. Closer to home, courses like The Urban Lab, which is being co-taught this semester by former urban studies director Rosemary Wakeman, Ph.D., professor of history, and Fordham Law’s Sheila Foster, exemplify the way the urban studies degree is truly interdisciplinary.

Read the full story at Fordham News


UrbanTOPIAS Conference | Berlin

urbanTOPIAS conference

Fordham Professors Annika Hinze, Director of Urban Studies, and Rosemary Wakeman, Coordinator of University Urban Initiatives, discussed the future of Urban Studies at the UrbanTOPIAS conference held at the Center for Metropolitan Studies, Technical University Berlin.

The 5th Annual Conference of the International Graduate Research Program / IGK Berlin-New York-Toronto: “The World in the City: Metropolitanism and Globalization from the 19th Century to the Present” included urban scholars and activists discussing the challenges of changing cities.

The recent conference explored the multiple forces of threats and anxieties that shape urban reality, the practices of resistance and adaptations to urban transformations, and investigated different perspectives on the urban future.


Mark Street Defends the Art of Street Photography in Filmmaker Magazine

Mark Street

Mark Street, writer, filmmaker, and Assistant Professor of Film in the Visual Arts Program at Fordham, defends his craft in a new article for Filmmaker Magazine: "In Defense of Street Photography in an iPhone Age."

Oddly, as filming in one medium (the cellphone) has become ubiquitous, people seem to fear the semi-professional more and more. A professional film shoot ascribes to standards — releases are signed, tacit agreements are made, those filmed understand the scope of the project. As someone who works alone (without a crew that creates a kind of picture a passerby might be able to understand) I often find myself at pains to explain myself.

Read the full article at filmmakermagazine.com

Mark Street FilmsLima Limpia (2014)


Vertical Landscape

Congratulations and bravo to Urban Studies major Zhiyi Zhou for her outstanding photography! Zhiyi's exhibit "Vertical Landscape" premiered at the Ildiko Butler Gallery at Lincoln Center, 113 W. 60th St., New York, NY.

From the artist:

The exhibition, "Vertical Landscape," consists of ten black-and-white photographs taken with a 4*5 large-format camera. Over the past two years, I have photographed in Rockaway, New York and during trips to China and Cuba. Inspired by an interest in people's living space, the photos capture vernacular architectures both dwelled by humans and inhabited by nature.

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Practicing Utopia

Fordham News: Professor Calls for Return to Regional Planning’s Utopian Age


Graffiti Murals

Special Feature

Urban Studies alumnus Patrick Verel talks about his book Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impact of Street Art.