Urban Sociology

The urban concentration focuses on the sociological analysis of cities, their social and spatial organization, and the populations that inhabit them. Topics of inquiry include, but are not limited to:  the distinct characteristics of urban settings; residential patterns and their effects on individuals, families, and communities; socioeconomic, behavioral, and racial/ethnic trends and their consequences; the dynamics of urban neighborhoods and communities; mechanisms of social control; the growth and decline of cities; urban labor markets; and the impacts of globalization. Special emphasis is given to the analysis of urban policy.  Faculty members affiliated with the concentration employ and support the use of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies as a means of analyzing and understanding urban issues.   The concentration offers a foundational course in Urban Sociology, as well as an interdisciplinary course on the 21st Century City, and a number of topical electives.  Students affiliated with the concentration take the foundational course, two electives, and the urban comprehensive exam to satisfy concentration requirements.

Affiliated Sociology faculty

Barry Bluestone
Gordana Rabrenovic
Silvia Dominguez
Shelley Kimelberg
Liza Weinstein
Alisa Lincoln

Foundation Course

SOCL 7235 Urban Sociology

Sample electives

PPUA 6201 The 21st Century City
SOCL 7264 Urban Poverty: The Ethnographic Perspective
SOCL 7251 Community Analysis
SOCL 7248 Race, Gender, Class: Feminist View
SOCL 7227 Race and Ethnic Relations
SOCL 7268 Globalization and the City
The Urban Experience
Sociology of Immigration

Affiliated Interdisciplinary Programs and Centers

Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy

The Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, founded in 1999, is a “think and do tank”—a place where faculty, staff, and students pool their expertise, resources, and commitment to address a wide range of issues facing cities, towns, and suburbs with particular emphasis on the Greater Boston region.

Members of the CURP staff are involved in a wide array of projects, all aimed at helping policymakers and citizens better understand the dimensions of urban issues. Projects currently under way address housing, workforce development, community economic development, education, and information access.

The immediate CURP staff is led by Interim Dean Joan Fitzgerald, Associate Director Stephanie Pollack, Senior Research Associates Bonnie Hendorfer, Shelley McDonough Kimelberg, Laurie Dopkins, and Associate Director (Administration and Finance) Heather Seligman. The staff not only has deep experience in academic research and teaching, but also impressive experience working with government agencies, community organizations, advocacy groups, and consulting firms. The CURP staff’s mix of theoretical and practical capacity provides a strong foundation for its research and projects.

CURP also works with a number of associates at Northeastern University and throughout Greater Boston. These associates are not on the staff of CURP but play important roles in developing and implementing research and community action projects. CURP staff members meet with these associates on a regular basis. Many associates play an important role in CURP’s funded projects, while others offer their expertise behind the scenes and at forums and special events sponsored by CURP.

The Institute of Urban Health Research

The IUHR’s seven faculty, three graduate fellows and nine research staff are focusing research on health issues that disproportionately impact urban communities, such as substance abuse, HIV/AIDS prevention and policy, interventions for children diagnosed with asthma, cardiovascular disease behavioral interventions, nutrition behavioral interventions with school age children, traditional Chinese health practices, racial and ethnic differences in service delivery patterns, and brain mechanisms involved in opiate tolerance. The goal of the IUHR is to improve the health of urban populations through the generation of knowledge that informs health policies, disease prevention programs and health services. In its first year of funding, the IUHR received more than $1.4 million in research and training grants and has partnered with the Boston Public Health Commission, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and community health centers. In addition to these agencies, the IUHR’s Advisory Board includes representation from Partners Health Care, Boston Public Schools, Blue Cross/Blue Shield as well as nationally renowned scholars from diverse institutions throughout the country. Founded in 2002.