Reshaping Tomorrow’s Cities

Re-imagining our urban landscape is about more than buildings. It takes bold thinking and a willingness to put big ideas into action.

What will tomorrow’s cities look like? Will they have more green space and green buildings? Will there be health care for all? Will our urban waterways be clean enough to swim in? Will neighborhoods support the type of cultural and multigenerational diversity that makes city life so vibrant?

These are some of the complex questions today’s cities face as we look to a future when more than half the world’s population will live in urban areas. Now more than ever, we need not only a deep understanding of what makes cities tick, but also the type of innovative thinking that will help metropolises run more efficiently for future generations.

Northeastern students and faculty get that. The University’s urban location, experiential approach, and unwavering commitment to its neighboring communities give rise to unmatched opportunities for rethinking urban life. Discover some of the ways our students are collaborating in course work, grassroots campaigns, and research to take 21st-century city life to new heights.

Rebuilding Neighborhoods

The ’60s, the decade best known for peace, love, and the start of the civil rights movement, also marked a less-than-positive period in urban renewal. It’s the period that inspired associate professor Peter Wiederspahn’s “1960s Urbanism” studio class, where students examine the not-so-distant past to find ways of revitalizing neighborhoods overtaken by cement sprawl and behemoth concrete slab buildings.
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Elizabeth Giardino

Currently: 2nd year graduate student, M.S. Urban & Regional Policy

Graduated: BA, Sociology with Urban Studies Minor (2010)

The ability to look at urban social issues was what attracted Elizabeth Giardino to the Urban Studies minor.  The minor allowed her to look at social problems from a place based perspective.  “Every class I took was interesting.  You can apply this to a broad range of interests from social work to law enforcement to economic development.”

In addition, the minor was not overly difficult to complete.  There was good class availability and some of the classes overlapped with her major in sociology.  This allowed to her to be able to graduate early even with doing all required Co-Op courses.

Ms. Giardino reported that the Urban Studies minor helped her to integrate easily into Northeastern’s Masters in Urban and Regional Policy (MURP) program.  The minor provided the background knowledge needed to be successful in MURP.  The courses she took provided her with a different perspective on the history of urban areas, how they have changed over time, and how they function.  From her view, this understanding provides the foundation for effective urban policies.

  • Why Urban Studies?

    Northeastern's Urban Studies minor provides students interested in cities the opportunity to take advantage of he resources of an urban university situated in a major metropolitan area. The minor equips students to understand the dynamics of urban growth and development and includes the study of urban social and political institutions. It also enables students to understand urban processes and develop policies to keep cities vibrant.

    An urban studies minor complements many social science majors as well as architecture, business, and engineering. The minor also provides a solid background for graduate study and professional careers in urban planning and policy, social work, and related fields.

  • Contact Information

    School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs
    Northeastern University
    335 Holmes Hall
    Boston, MA 02115

    617.373.2891 (phone)
    617.373.4691 (fax)