Skip to main content

Members of the University community should respond to the daily VitalCheck prompt at least 30 minutes prior to entering campus.

Urban Studies

Times Square Street Scene

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.

Learn More About:

Commencement message from Dr. Annika M. Hinze, Director of Urban Studies

Dear Class of 2021,

What a year it has been! We started out the academic year after a summer of social conflict, political failures, and pandemic uncertainty. And we did this mostly online – though some of you and your professors braved in-person classes, masked and socially distanced. “Socially distanced” – that is quite the term for a social scientist. It sounds like an oxymoron: Is it even possible to be social from a distance when we, as human beings, are so dependent on physical touch and social interaction? Well, we – you – somehow made it possible!

I can honestly say that I did not enjoy teaching remotely. I like to pace around the classroom, I like to use my arms and hands when I speak, I like to try and read the room that I am in. I like to get in the right mental state for my class on my commute to campus – first on the train, then on the bus, while watching the people and buildings change as I go, sipping my morning coffee. I am an urbanist, after all! I enjoy being in the City, with the City, of the City, on my way to work. None of that was possible on a Zoom screen, in a virtual work environment. Sometimes, I would get up from my desk for a late lunchbreak for the first time since the early morning and realize that I had not moved much further than ten feet from where I slept the night before. That depressed me. Yet, I was moved so many times by how much you, my students, got into the zone: you got passionate about the discussion topics, the readings, the comments of your classmates. You engaged, questioned, reflected. You even produced some research. That is, given the circumstances, no small feat.

It was not just the pandemic, the remote classes, the ever-changing case numbers and guidance about what to do that made this past year so tough to survive. It was also the human cost. What we lost. We lost loved ones. We lost acquaintances. And if we were lucky enough not to lose anyone we knew and loved, we lost time with them. Time that will not come back. We lost time to do what we love, whether that would have been time spend traveling the world, socializing with friends, or simply hugging our parents – it is lost forever, and it is ok to grieve that.

And then, on top of all that, we witnessed, felt, processed, grieved so many other things that happened on a social and political scale. After a difficult and more divisive election season than perhaps ever before, we witnessed a domestic attack on the U.S. Capitol with the explicit goal to dismantle the democratic mechanisms of our political system. And we continue to witness and confront the societal fact that our democracy is still not as inclusive as it promises to be. Despite their social, cultural, economic, and political contributions, people of color are still not afforded the same privileges in our society. We continue to witness violence against black and brown bodies, and targeted attempts to exclude them from the democratic process. Many of these tensions and grievances boiled over in the midst of a pandemic that disproportionately affected black and brown Americans who continue to live and work under less safe, healthy, and fair conditions than white Americans. We witnessed targeted hatred and violence against Asian Americans in connection with the pandemic. Many of you may have personally felt the effects of those events and injustices.

Just because the infamous year of 2020 and the oh-so-very-strange 2020/21 academic year are over does not mean we are out of the woods. As a society, we have much work to do. As individuals, we may have just received our COVID vaccines and started to emerge from our social isolation, breathing in the spring air and admiring nature’s reawakening all around us, taking stock of what we have lost, and how to move forward.

I have always loved the term Commencement. In many other languages, we just speak of Graduation, but Commencement is so much more powerful, because of what it implies: Finishing your degree is not the end – it is the beginning. The beginning of a new chapter. As we emerge from the pandemic into so much uncertainty, we also have the ability to start anew. To write a new chapter. All the grief and pain from last year should not be something we are merely leaving behind. Instead, maybe we can use it to inspire this new start. To do better. To rebuild.

You have all shown so much capacity for resilience, creativity, and love in getting through the pandemic, finishing your studies, and living gracefully through so much loss. You give me so much hope for what is possible, and you make me so proud of what you have accomplished. As the next generation, you are badly needed!

With all my heart – congratulations on an amazing achievement, Class of 2021!

Annika Marlen Hinze, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Director, Urban Studies Program
Fordham University

Urban Studies Week 2021

the fordham university urban studies program presents: 

Heinrich Heine MemorialThe More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same.

An Urban Studies Week Walking Tour exploring the history of the South Bronx, its built environment, geography and social history.

This event happened on Wednesday, April 28
The Heinrich Heine Memorial
in Joyce Kilmer Park
Grand Concourse & 161st St

Starting at the lower end of the exquisitely urban boulevard known as the Grand Concourse, we walk through the Bronx’s metamorphosis into our present society and home. We witness its diverse population transforming over time. We take note of historical buildings still standing and observe their history led by two Bronx history buffs (both Fordham Urban Studies Alumni and NYC natives), Adam Stoler and Nestor Danyluk.

We see remnants of old and birth and rebirth of new: populations, institutions, businesses, restaurants. Peeling away the visible layers, revealing what underlies the vibrancy, and echoes the greatness and pain of the city. In preparation for the tour, we strongly recommend reading Constance Rosenblum’s Boulevard of Dreams: Heady Times, Heartbreak, and Hope Along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

Finally, what better way to experience “live” than taste? Stay with us, for the walking tour includes a treat from the Urban Studies Program—the joy of breaking bread together, tasting what the Bronx is made up of today.

Spring 2021 Virtual Events

5/5 – 6, Wednesday & Thursday
american planning association
2021 National Planning Conference
Why NPC21?
These last few months have been draining on all of us. NPC21 is a chance to prepare for the challenges having the biggest impact on the planning practice now and in the years ahead. These are areas of disruption demanding actionable solutions to prepare planners as they implement broad systematic changes.

  • Addressing a legacy of inequality
  • COVID recovery and reinvention
  • Emerging transportation and infrastructure
  • Leveraging rapid technological changes
  • Planning practice innovation
  • Resilient planning in a changing climate

APA exists to elevate and unite a diverse planning profession as it helps communities, their leaders and residents anticipate and meet the needs of a changing world. Learn More.

past events

3/4 Thursday, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
fordham environmental law review symposium 2021
Urban Climate Change and the Law
panel 1: cities and climate change
Outlining roles played by the laws & policies of cities and other municipalities in addressing the unique calamities faced by urban populations.

  • Extreme Weather Events
  • Heat Island Effect

panel 2: cities, climate justice, and the law
Discussing the role of policymakers and practicing attorneys in ensuring that principles of environmental justice guide governmental action relating to the environment.

  • Vulnerable Populations
  • The Unequal Cost Of Environmental Protection

panel 3: adaptation and resilience
Exploring what the future could look like for cities and urban populations regarding climate change, examining the role of policymakers and lawyers in creating that future.

  • Urban Land Use Law
  • Urban Adaptation And Resilience To Climate Change
  • How Can Emerging Technologies Reduce A City’s Environmental Impact?

2/26 Friday, 10 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
fordham urban law journal spring symposium 2021
A Taxing War on Poverty: Opportunity Zones and the Promise of Investment and Economic Development
Following the 2008 Great Recession, general economic uncertainty and anxiety enveloped the United States but was more acutely felt in specific pockets of the nation. Severely distressed areas across the country suffered from severe unemployment, low levels of and declines in public investment, and the lack of infrastructural improvements and access to private capital. The seemingly localized adverse effects ultimately spilled over into the national economy. Responding to this economic despair, Congress believed it drafted a provision to remedy the uneven economic recovery in the United States: Opportunity Zones (OZs). These are low-income census tracts that lure private investment through private opportunity zone funds (OZFs), which reward investors with tax deferrals, reductions, and exclusions. Since its inception, states have designated nearly 9,000 OZs across the nation in hopes of bringing economic growth to “blighted” areas. Alongside professors, attorneys, scholars, economists, investors, and advocates, the Symposium will explore what OZs are, the reasons for persistent gaps in access to capital in distressed areas, private-sector investment motivations, and the misnomers and shortcomings of OZs, as well as the possibilities of equitable or sustainable economic development.

2/12 Friday, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
fordham international law journal symposium 2021
Black Lives Matter Around the Globe: A Symposium Focused on Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Abroad
In the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matters protests in the United States, the 2021 Fordham International Law Journal Symposium topic will focus on the manifestation of the Black Lives Matter movement and the issue of racial and ethnic discrimination around the globe. Panelists will include judges, scholars, and activists within and outside of the Fordham community well versed in civil and human rights issues in an international context. Conversation will surround an identification of the particular issues in jurisdictions outside of the United States as well as ongoing proposed solutions.

More Past Spring Events . . .

4/16 Friday, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
17th Annual Symposium On Energy In The 21st Century
electric & carbon free transportation • solar inclusion in grid • climate justice
The award winning Symposium has been cited as one of the most important conferences on energy policy in New York and the Northeast. Attendees include major business, environmental, labor leaders, academics, architects, engineers, builders, laborers, elected officials, municipal planners, governmental agency staff, institutional planners, architects, lawyers, farmers, college and graduate students as well as many interested citizens.

This is our 17th year! As is our ecosystem, we are resilient and will not allow adversity to limit our quest for solutions to the climate crisis in which we find ourselves. Although in the short term we need to deal with the devastating coronavirus, we still must not forget the longer term threat to our world: global warming. The cutting edge information presented at the Symposium each year provides us with up to date information and tools to help create a carbon free and healthy world.

3/24 – 26, Wednesday – Friday
international deep city latsis symposium
DEEP CITY: Climate Crisis, Democracy and the Digital
Big data, smart systems, machine learning – it is inevitable that these new technologies will change the way we study, build and manage our cities. At the same time resurgent interest in consensus and contributive action seems to oppose an exclusively data-driven urbanism. Is the opposition of machine intelligence and democracy inevitable, or are shared trajectories possible?

EPFL is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university. It welcomes students, professors and collaborators of more than 120 nationalities. EPFL collaborates with an important network of partners, including other universities and colleges, secondary schools and gymnasiums, industry and the economy, political circles and the general public, with the aim of having a real impact on society.

The Fondation Latsis Internationale is a non-profit, public benefit Foundation established in 1975. Based in Geneva, it is established to support scientists and research teams in recognition of their outstanding and innovative contributions to various scientific fields.

3/23, Tuesday, 1:15 p.m.
columbia gsapp lectures in planning series
Urban Renewal Through Preservation and Rehabilitation
By 1965, nearly 800 American cities—located in almost every state across the country—sought to spur revitalization through the federal policy of urban renewal. Typically, their efforts took the form of large-scale demolition aimed at clearing space for new, modern construction. The Housing Act of 1954, however, introduced federal funding for rehabilitation-based approaches as well. This talk considers the motivations behind this more conservationist approach; the practical constraints to its wider-spread adoption; and its prevalence, character, and material impacts on the ground. The landmark case of Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood, in particular, helps demonstrate how a preservation-based approach to urban renewal still transformed both the physical and social character of a community.

Francesca Russello Ammon is Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning and Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. A social and cultural historian of the built environment, she is the author of Bulldozer: Demolition and Clearance of the Postwar Landscape, winner of the 2017 Lewis Mumford Prize for the best book in American planning history. She is currently writing a history of postwar preservation and urban renewal based upon the Philadelphia neighborhood of Society Hill.

3/20 – 21, Saturday & Sunday
40th annual conference of the center for medieval studies, fordham university
Medieval French Without Borders
This conference addresses the multilingual contact zones and social, cultural and literary contexts of exchange in which French featured between the ninth and the sixteenth centuries. A second language of several empires, a tongue of invaders, and an idiom spread by merchants, sailors, artisans, and pilgrims, French was a medium of both border-construction and border-crossing. The program includes papers on the dynamic relations between French and other languages including Arabic, Castilian, Dutch, English, German, Greek, Hebrew, Irish, Italian, Latin, Norse, Occitan, and Welsh. Such relations often exceed traditional explanatory frameworks of cultural prestige and the nation.

Co-sponsored with the Centre for Medieval Literature, University of Southern Denmark and University of York; the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University; the Center for Jewish Studies, Fordham University; and the Program in Comparative Literature, Fordham University.

3/16 Tuesday, 5 p.m.
museum of the city of new york
When Existence is Resistance: The History of Trans Activism in NYC
The past, present, and future of LGBTQ activism in New York has always been trans. From the Stonewall Uprising to building community for LGBTQ youth to fighting for civil rights, trans activists have been at the forefront of the movement to reconsider gender binaries and have advocated for safety, freedom, and power for all gender identities. Join MCNY for this free online workshop exploring the history and legacy of trans activism.

3/16 Tuesday, 1:15 p.m.
columbia gsapp lectures in planning series
Opportunity Zones: A Baseline Evaluation in West Baltimore
This talk presents the findings from 65 interviews with community and government officials, program managers, developers, and fund managers about the federal Opportunity Zones (OZ) program in West Baltimore. It concludes with a set of short-term policy recommendations as well as a discussion of the broader federal policy framework that is necessary to attract durable and equitable investment into highly distressed neighborhoods.

Michael Snidal is a doctoral candidate in urban planning at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Snidal is also the Principal of Snidal Real Estate, a Baltimore-based construction and property management firm. He was formerly the director of neighborhood development for West Baltimore at the Baltimore Development Corporation. His work and opinions have been featured in academic and popular news sources such as the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, and the Financial Times.

3/5 Friday, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
loyola law review symposium 2021
Structural Racism and the Law: Exploring the Laws and Policies Creating and Sustaining Oppressive Systems
The past year has demonstrated to the public that the laws and policies of the United States are inherently racist and anti-Black. In the midst of a global pandemic, it was laid bare that the community suffering the greatest losses in terms of evictions, education, police brutality, and health outcomes was the Black community. Structural racism has created complex, yet often hidden, barriers that make it harder for Black people to succeed. These laws and policies might seem racially neutral on their face but often have insidious roots.

This symposium will:

  1. highlight the historical connection between laws and policies and current structural racism in the United States;
  2. identify the changes needed in various areas of law and policy— housing, city planning, criminal & juvenile justice, mass incarceration and education —to ensure that as a community, we work together to ensure that these laws are changed and equity is attained for all people.

2/17 Wednesday, 7 p.m.
museum of the city of new york
Row Houses, Brownstones, and Townhouses: From Amsterdam to the South Bronx
Row houses, brownstones, townhouses—this residence of many names can be found in cities up and down the eastern seaboard, as well as internationally. These common sites, rarely given a second thought by city dwellers, have a deeper history behind them than meets the eye. Author, planner, and historian Charles Duff discusses his latest book The North Atlantic Cities with Monxo López, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Museum of the City of New York. The two will consider the role of row houses in developing the modern city—and compare New York to other metropolises like Boston, Washington, and Baltimore. López, an owner of a row house in the South Bronx will bring his own personal experience as a row house dweller to the conversation and consider how his experience has helped him define community, forge friendships (and make adversaries!), and beyond.

2/3 – 5, Wed 9 a.m. – Fri 3 p.m.
world bank transport global practice / wri ross center for sustainable cities
Transforming Transportation 2021: Reimagining Safe And Resilient Mobility For Recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global transport sector and the people and businesses that rely on it in unprecedented ways. Across the globe, rethinking mobility is now a priority to build back better, with safer, more resilient and efficient transport systems for all. Transforming Transportation 2021 will bring together sustainable mobility world leaders from the public, private, academic and civil society spheres in a global virtual event to discuss the path forward.

2/2 Tuesday, 7 p.m.
museum of the city of new york
Your Hometown Virtual Conversation with Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC
In this "live" virtual version of the new podcast "Your Hometown," Darryl McDaniels of famed Queens-founded hip hop group Run-DMC talks with host Kevin Burke about growing up in New York City and its influence on his life and work.

1/28, Thursday, 7 – 8 p.m.
cary institute of ecosystem studies
Restoring Resilient Tropical Forests
Join Cary Institute President Joshua Ginsberg for a virtual Cary Science Conversation with forest ecologist Sarah Batterman. Take a virtual trip to Panama and discover why healthy tropical forests are our climate allies, how tree species diversity regulates forest regrowth following disturbance, and science-based recipes for reforestation success. Sarah Batterman uses large-scale ecosystem experiments, field observations, and modeling to understand how tropical trees, their microbial partners, and nutrients impact tropical rainforest recovery from disturbance, response to environmental change, and ability to trap carbon. This understanding can inform policy makers and natural resource managers about potential carbon offsets in the tropics, and how to recover tropical forests to combat climate change.

1/28 Thursday, 12:30 p.m.
fordham law speaker series 2021
Supercharging Environmental Justice in Crisis Times
Hayley Gorenberg is the Legal Director of NYLPI, where she guides the organization’s litigation and advocacy. Before joining NYLPI in 2018, Hayley was General Counsel and Deputy Legal Director of the national civil rights organization Lambda Legal, where she litigated landmark cases advancing the rights of LGBTQ people, including a range of pathbreaking matters involving disability rights, health access and discrimination against marginalized communities. Prior to that she ran a citywide task force at Legal Services for New York City, creating legal advocacy campaigns and training other lawyers and advocates to achieve high-impact results for low-income New Yorkers living with HIV. Hayley was named 2017 OUTLaw Alumna of the Year by New York University School of Law and received a 2018 Forger Award from the American Bar Association for “sustained excellence” advocating for the rights of people living with HIV. She has served as a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard and sits on Princeton University’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Advisory Council and the New York State Council on Women and Girls. Hayley earned her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, her law degree from New York University School of Law, and a certificate in change leadership from Cornell University.

Learn more about the A2J Initiative at Fordham Law.

1/27 Wednesday, 7 p.m.
museum of the city of new york
Our Fair City Virtual Conversation: In-Between
Streetscape adaptations during the pandemic have demonstrated both possibilities and pitfalls. Now it’s time to move from improvisation to planning. How can New York plot a wholesale reorganization of the way we use streets—more than a quarter of the city’s land—less as a grid of channels to sluice vehicles around and more as a collective outdoors where eating, commuting, playing, selling, working, and innumerable other activities all coexist. For the third session in our series, Our Fair City: Building a More Equitable New York, critic and editor Justin Davidson talks to urban designer Justin Garrett Moore, landscape architect Kate Orff, and transit expert Shin-pei Tsay about how we can reimagine our public space.

1/26, Tuesday, 1:15 p.m.
columbia gsapp lectures in planning series
Cities on the Move: On Turbulent Urbanism of Irregular Migration
The increasing fortification of national borders is producing new turbulent urban landscapes of irregular migration, which could be described as ‘cities on the move’. This is not only because certain cities make stopover points along ambitious trajectories of ‘people on the move’, but also because they create urban environments which are themselves rapidly ‘moving’ due to the opposite powers that work within and through them to hinder or facilitate irregular migration. This lecture discusses the urban spatial movements created by the efforts of global, regional, state and urban powers to regulate migration and by the forces opposing them, which together turn cities into contested arenas of unstable landing pads and jumping-off points along the increasingly blocked global routes of ‘unauthorized’ migration.

Irit Katz is a University Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Architecture and Urban Studies at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, and a Bye-Fellow of Christ’s College. She has practiced as an architect in Tel Aviv and in London and has an interdisciplinary academic background in architecture, hermeneutics, cultural studies, and global policy. Her work focuses on built environments created and shaped in extreme conditions, with a particular emphasis on spaces of displacement, migration and refuge in camps and in cities. Her books include the co-edited Camps Revisited: Multifaceted Spatialities of a Modern Political Technology (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) and the forthcoming The Common Camp: Spaces of Power and Resistance in Israel-Palestine (University of Minnesota Press).

1/25, Monday, 7 p.m.
wild bird fund
"Mannahatta and The Welikia Atlas" with ecologist Eric Sanderson
What was our region's ecology like before New York City became a sprawling metropolis? Eric W. Sanderson of the Wildlife Conservation Society dedicated 15 years of research to uncovering the remarkably diverse, natural landscape and abundant community of wildlife and that sustained people for thousands of years before Europeans arrived on the scene in 1609...

In this virtual presentation, Dr. Sanderson will share his latest work on the historical ecology of New York City, expanding from the study of Mannahatta to all five boroughs. His multi-disciplinary approach combines historical detective work, computational geography and visualization, and insights from landscape ecology to help us imagine the remarkably biodiverse and productive setting of New York prior to its founding. In closing, he will answer questions from the Wild Bird Fund community and offer ideas on how The Welikia Atlas can be used to shape a more livable, sustainable, and beautiful city in the future. (Welikia means “my good home” in Lenape, the original Native American language of the NYC region.)

1/20 Wednesday, 9 – 10 a.m.
urban land institute ny
ULI Madrid: The Power of Perception: Perceived Workplace Health, Safety and Wellbeing During the Covid-19 Pandemic
ULI Madrid, SGS & JLL will address the importance of maintaining workplace wellbeing and ensuring employees feel comfortable re-entering the office during times of uncertainty. This webinar will cover:

  • How the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly accelerated workplace wellbeing trends
  • Strategies for ensuring employees feel as safe as possible when re-occupying the workplace
  • Strategies for ensuring employees feel as safe as possible when re-occupying the workplace Long-term trends we anticipate for the future of the commercial real estate industry

1/19, Thursday, 7 – 8 p.m.
aiany center for architecture
Moshe Safdie: Person Place Thing with Randy Cohen
Person Place Thing is an interview show hosted by Randy Cohen based on the idea that people are particularly engaging when they speak, not directly about themselves, but about something they care about. Cohen’s guests talk about one person, one place, and one thing that is important to them. The result: surprising stories from great speakers. This installment of Person Place Thing will be a conversation with Moshe Safdie, Principle of Safdie Architects.

Moshe Safdie is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author. Over a celebrated 50-year career, Safdie has explored the essential principles of socially responsible design with a distinct visual language. A citizen of Israel, Canada, and the United States, Safdie graduated from McGill University. After apprenticing with Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia, he returned to Montréal to oversee the master plan for the 1967 World Exhibition. In 1964, he established his own firm to realize Habitat ’67, an adaptation of his undergraduate thesis and a turning point in modern architecture.

1/13 Wednesday, 7 p.m.
museum of the city of new york
American Utopia: David Byrne and Maira Kalman in Conversation
Former Talking Heads frontman and multimedia artist David Byrne and best-selling author, illustrator and artist Maira Kalman discuss their new collaboration, a book inspired by Byrne's award-winning musical American Utopia (Bloomsbury, October 2020). The two will sit down for a virtual conversation with WNYC's Alison Stewart about creating the book and their decades-long careers as New York artists.

1/12 Tuesday, 5 p.m.
museum of the city of new york
Civil Rights in New York: From School Boycotts to ‘Beyond Vietnam’
From fighting employment discrimination to organizing for equitable schools to marching against police brutality, New Yorkers were at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the 20th century. In this online educator workshop, dive into the stories of New York’s network of activists including Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and explore the history and legacy of Black activism in the city. In this program hosted by MCNY, you'll discover primary sources from the Activist New York and King in New York exhibitions, and enjoy a preview of the virtual field trip, The Civil Rights Movement in NYC.

1/12 Tuesday, 1:15 p.m.
columbia gsapp lectures in planning series
Exploring the Impact of Displacement on Cities: a Framework for Analysis
Karen Jacobsen is the Henry J. Leir Professor in Global Migration at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and directs the Refugees in Towns Project at the Feinstein International Center. Professor Jacobsen’s current research explores urban displacement and global migration, with a focus on the livelihoods and financial resilience of migrants and refugees, and on climate- and environment-related mobility. She is currently at work on a book that examines the impact of displacement on cities. Her books include A View from Below: Conducting Research in Conflict Zones (Cambridge UP 2013 ) and The Economic Life of Refugees (Lynne Rienner, 2005).


Fordham’s Urban Studies Program stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all the protesters demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality towards minorities across the country. We firmly believe that in a society, in which all are not free from oppression and injustice, no one is truly free. Therefore, we must all recognize our responsibility to work towards pointing out systemic inequality and racism throughout our country, and our institutions, as a first step toward ending and overcoming it.

Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.(Ella’s Song, Bernice Johnson Reagon)

We strongly believe in the importance of confronting the past (and the present) for building a better and more equitable future, and we are committed to confronting existing racial injustice in our teaching and research.

Fall 2020 Virtual Events

past events

12/3 Thursday – 5:30 p.m.
History in a Time of Epidemic: Some Lessons from Latin America
Dr. Paul Ramírez, Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at Northwestern, will offer a historian’s reflections on the impact and significance of past epidemics in light of the current COVID crisis. How have communities in Latin America overcome outbreaks? Does the past have lessons for us now? In undertaking these inquiries, we will address medical science, the role of religious communities, and history, or the act of storytelling. His book Enlightened Immunity: Mexico's Experiments with Disease Prevention in the Age of Reason (Stanford University Press, 2018) examines the rituals, genres, and technologies that accompanied the adoption of a public health policy in late-colonial Mexico.

Sponsored by the O'Connell Initiative. The O’Connell Initiative in the Global History of Capitalism is supported by generous gifts from Fordham alumnus Robert J. O’Connell, FCRH '65.

11/20 Friday
Imagining Cities in the Global Age
A graduate Global Studies seminar by Professor Rosemary Wakeman conducted from the University of Macerata in Italy.

View More Past Events . . .

11/18 Wednesday, 5 – 6:15 p.m.
Pathways to Practice Series: Careers in Immigration and International Human Rights Law
The Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School is an innovative Think-and-Do Tank that aims to make international human rights protections an everyday reality for marginalized communities around the world. Fordham Law alumni will discuss their experiences practicing in the immigration and international human rights fields. Co-sponsored with the Feerick Center for Social Justice.

11/13 Friday – 10 a.m.
Pandemics through Time: The Renaissance Experience and Modern Pedagogy
Seminar and Workshop sponsored by Fordham History and the Renaissance Society of America.

10/26 Monday – 6 p.m.
Comrade Sister: Caribbean Feminist Revisions of the Grenadian Revolution
Yuko Miki and Laurie Lambert's Freedom & Slavery Working Group will be presenting a book talk on Lambert's Comrade Sister: Caribbean Feminist Revisions of the Grenadian Revolution (University of Virginia Press, 2020). Dr. Lambert, Fordham Associate Professor of African & African American Studies, will be in conversation with Ronald Cummings, Assistant Professor English Language & Literature at Brock University.

10/14 Wednesday, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
#FreeTheHair: How Black Hair is Transforming Civil Rights Laws and Movements
One of the world’s leading legal experts on “grooming codes discrimination,” and Founder of the #FreeTheHair campaign, Professor Wendy Greene will discuss her legal scholarship and public advocacy combating race-based discrimination African descendants suffer when they don natural hairstyles like twists, braids, afros, and locs. Professor Greene will also explore landmark U.S. legal reforms her scholarly activism is shaping, such as the C.R.O.W.N. Acts (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace/World Acts), which redress this systematic form of racial discrimination and are transforming civil laws and discourse globally. This event is free and open to the public. CLE credits are available. CLE credit for the program has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the New York State CLE Board for a maximum of 1.5 non transitional credits: (1.5) Diversity Inclusion & Elimination of Bias. Presented by the Center on Race, Law and Justice and in conjunction with The Leitner Center, Fordham Black Law Students Association and Fordham Latin American Law Students Association.

10/14 Wednesday
Designing Utopias
The NYU Urban Initiative presents Professor Rosemary Wakeman in a line up of eminent international scholars for this year’s multidisciplinary Urban Research Seminar. This event series is open to the greater NYU community in an effort to integrate NYU's faculty and students with a keen interest in cities.

10/7 Wednesday
From Resettlement to Revolution: The Comuneros of Colonial Peru
Fordham Associate Professor of History Sarah Elizabeth Penry, author of The People Are King: The Making of an Indigenous Andean Politics (Oxford University Press, 2020), examines the community-based democracy that played a central role in the Age of Atlantic Revolutions and continues to galvanize indigenous movements in Bolivia today.

10/6 Tuesday
Utopian New Towns Around the World: Past and Present
A talk by Professor Rosemary Wakeman from the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

9/10 Thursday, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Unfinished Work: Black Lives Matter and Policing after the Protests
This event is presented in conjunction with the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice and the Fordham Black Law Students Association and co-sponsered by the Center on Race, Law and Justice.

9/10 Thursday
Unmaking the Nation of Immigrants
A presentation with Carly Goodman, co-editor at Made by History at the Washington Post.

Urban Law Day Roundtable Discussion
Law and the New Urban Agenda in the Current Crisis

Urban Law Day Roundtable 2020

This event happened on October 6, 2020

In honor of the annual World Habitat Day, please join UN-Habitat and the Fordham Urban Law Center for an Urban Law Day Roundtable Discussion on October 6, 2020. Featuring a panel of urban legal scholars from around the world, the Roundtable will engage with the recently published book, Law and the New Urban Agenda, and its significance for the contemporary urban moment in the face of the challenges from COVID-19 and related pressing issues.

introduction and moderation:

scheduled panelists include:

A New York Legislator's Take on the Protests

Zellnor Myrie on protests

from wync | the brian lehrer show: 

Fordham Urban Studies alumnus Zellnor Myrie, New York State Senator (D-20), talks about his experience getting pepper sprayed at a protest last weekend, and discusses laws he hopes to pass that would help change the justice system and reform policing.

Listen on The Brian Lehrer Show.

Prof. Greer talks Politics and Protest

Christina Greer

from wync | the brian lehrer show: 

Dr. Jason Johnson, professor at Morgan State University, political contributor at MSNBC, contributor to The Grio and Sirius XM, and Christina Greer, political science professor at Fordham University, host of the podcast FAQNYC, politics editor at The Grio and the host of The Aftermath on OZY , talk about the uprisings happening across the country, and the political ramifications.

Listen on The Brian Lehrer Show.

nyc guides 2020

The Edge of Astoria

by Kate Doyle


An extensive range of architecture, infrastructure, and industry characterizes the northern perimeter of Astoria, Queens. I selected this area as the focus of my New York City Guide in part because I find it fascinating in its mix of land uses and architectural styles, and in part because I expect it is likely to change dramatically in the next two decades — the latter based both on recent patterns of development in the wider neighborhood of Astoria, and on a proposed zoning change for Rikers Island. My guide is a mix between a walking tour of historical sites in the area, a review of current land use, an informal photographic survey, and a long-term projection for neighborhood change.

The Edge of Astoria
This zoning map shows how the land that is the focus of the tour is currently divided. The map has been adapted from its original version,2 with original shading greyed for emphasis. Yellow shading marks the edge of the residential zone and purple marks manufacturing; light purple marks light manufacturing (accessible), while darker purple (M3-1) marks heavy manufacturing (closed to the public). Pink (Rikers Island and North Brother Island in this map) are currently zoned as commercial.

land use: the current edge

The walking tour begins where East Elmhurst meets Astoria, taking the visitor along the main routes of 19th and 20th Avenues and onto the smaller 41st Street, Berrian Boulevard, and Steinway Place. The route traces what is essentially the edge of northern Astoria, moving east to west. Despite the neighborhood being bordered by the East River on both the north and the west, the tour does not hit the geographical edge, where the land meets the water, until its conclusion. Due to current land use regulations, much of this area is closed to the public; the majority is designated for heavy manufacturing. Guiding the visitor along the border between the manufacturing and residential zones, and into the section that is designated for light manufacturing and mixed-use, the walking tour follows what is, for the general public, the accessible edge of northern Astoria.

nyc guides 2020

Rikers Island
Rikers Island Jail Complex
John Moore/Getty Images

Rikers Island

by Victoria L. McDonald

This New York City Guide is featuring The Rikers Island Jail Complex. The Rikers Island Jail Complex is an interconnected detention facility located on Rikers Island, an Island located in the East River between The Bronx and Queens and politically affiliated with The Bronx, New York. This New York City Guide will give you the history of the physical island, it will walk you through its transition from private ownership to its current jail complex as well as to discuss the political processes and legislation that affected its creation and projected closure.

The primary research methodology used for the content of this New York City Guide was Archival Research via the Internet. Citation for all major sources of this guide is listed on the Bibliography page using the Modern Language Association (MLA) format.

The Rikers Island Jail Complex is New York City’s largest jail complex in the state. There are ten separate jails and infirmaries on the island that serve as housing facilities for those in pretrial confinement, pending transfer to another facility or serving sentences less than a year. The complex is identified as a jail complex as it houses inmates serving terms of one year or less, while prisons house inmates serving sentences of more than a year.

The Jail complex is located on Rikers Island and hears the islands name. Rikers Island is a 413.17 acre island located in the East River between The Bronx and Queens Boroughs. Rikers Island is politically apart of the Bronx, however it’s only method of access is the Francis Buono Bridge, which originates in Queens, with the complex holds an East Elmhurst, Queens mailing address. The island is said to be named after a Dutch Settler, Abraham Rycken, who purchased the island in 1664 and was owned by his descendants until its purchase from the city of New York in 1884. The Island was originally less than 100 acres in size but was expanded with the use of prison labor. Prior to the New York City Department of Correction’s establishment of the Jail complexes on Rikers Island, the Island was used as a Union Military training area during the Civil War and is notable for establishing the first three regiments of all African American Army Service Member’s, the 20th, 26th and 31st Infantry Regiments. Following the Civil War, on August 4th 1884, the NYC Commissioner of Charities and Corrections purchased the island from the Rycken family for $180,000 and the Island was briefly used as a Quarantine Facility, a Boy’s Reformatory and a Potters Field, or burial place for paupers and strangers. Eventually Hart Island was converted to a Potters Field and Rikers Island was designated as a Charity Workhouse and Corrections Facility while also being used as a Refuse Landfill for the City.

See more Urban Studies MA NYC Guides

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.

 Rosemary Wakeman, “Shanghai and New York: Mid-Century Urban Avant-Gardes

Read more at Built Heritage.

Mapping Conference Tackles Justice Issues from a Geographic Perspective

Mapping Injustice

from fordham news:

In a three-day symposium titled “Mapping (In)Justice,” dozens of scholars came to Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9 to examine how digital mapping is being used by academics as a methodology to study justice and injustice, particularly when researching underserved communities.

Gregory Donovan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies and co-founder of the Fordham Digital Scholarship Consortium, organized the conference with department chair Jacqueline Reich, Ph.D.

“Spatial media have politics, these are not neutral things,” said Donovan, who teaches a course of the same name as the conference for the Masters in Public Media. “We need to look at how our subjects are using digital mapping in their own lives and not just use this technology to study them from afar, like a scientist with a clipboard.”

Read the full article by Tom Stoelker at Fordham News.

View Digital Maps Project Gallery

from m(i)j project gallery: 

Congratulations NYS Sen. Zellnor Myrie, District 20

Zellnor Myrie inauguration

from bklyner: 

Urban Studies alumnus Zellnor Myrie celebrated his inauguration in East Flatbush on Monday, February 11, 2019, before a host of electeds and constituents where everyone spoke to a new senatorial district 20.

After graduating from Brooklyn Technical High School, the 32-year-old attended Fordham University and then Cornell Law School. He was joined on stage by his mother, Marcelina Cummings, who was a staunch supporter of the lawmaker’s senatorial bid. Cummings came to the states from Costa Rica and worked as a factory worker initially.

“We must follow the command to be courageous,” said Myrie. “The problems that are facing our communities cannot be solved with the same solutions of yesterday. They require us to be courageous in our aspirations.”

“We will be bold in our actions and we will be bold on how we attack them,” said Myrie on how he’s looking to tackle the issues plaguing the community, including housing and homelessness.”

“Think about what he’s already accomplished,” said NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer who was also in attendance. “Early voting, early voting—the consolidation of state and local primaries — I’ll give you a fact as comptroller— that’s a savings of $50 million that can go to education and healthcare and housing. That’s what he did”.

Read the full story at Bklyner.

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 by Patrick Verel at Fordham News.

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 an 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 Filmmaker Magazine

Practicing Utopia

from fordham newsProfessor Calls for Return to Regional Planning’s Utopian Age 

2019 Urban Studies Senior Theses

2018 Urban Studies Senior Theses

2017 Urban Studies Senior Theses

2016 Urban Studies Senior Theses

2015 Urban Studies Senior Theses