Dedicated to the Conduct of Social Science Research in Metropolitan America and Beyond


As the Founding Director of the Center on Urban Research & Public Policy (CURPP) and the Interdisciplinary Program in Urban Studies, I welcome you to our website. The establishment of CURPP comes at a time of profound social, economic and political change in our country, indeed the world. Renewed national commitment is required if we are to address and solve the challenges facing America’s cities and dense populations around the globe. Since the l970s, civic discourse has become increasingly anti-urban with fewer opportunities for informed non-partisan dialogue. However, political leaders and ordinary citizens need reliable policy research, training in methodologies and technologies, and opportunities for public discussion on issues of concern to America’s cities. As an internationally known research university, Washington University in St. Louis recognizes its responsibility to make substantial contributions to these efforts. The Center on Urban Research & Public Policy promises to fulfill this responsibility by becoming a national resource for education, research and public discussion on issues confronting America’s cities. While we are dedicated to the conduct of social science research in metropolitan America, we understand the social, economic and political nexus between ourselves and other cities of the world.


Why is the study of urban life, of living in cities an important area of study?  The answer is simple.  Because of increasing urbanization, that is, the dynamics resulting from people moving into densely populated areas, worldwide projections show the increase in urban populations everywhere.  Not only are world cities growing by one million people per week, but demographers suggest that by 2050, more than two thirds of the planet’s population will be urban dwellers.  The issues impacting our densely populated cities and those who inhabit them will be the focus of substantive research and policy debates in the twenty first century. Because we seek to prepare our students to be leaders on the world stage, in-depth study in urbanism and urbanization on both a national and international scale is in keeping with that preparation.

November 19, 2017

2017-2018 Theses

The following is a list of theses being completed by our 2017-2018 urban studies students:

The Atlanta Belt Line: How de Facto Segregation Limits its Success

Gender Equality or Gender Oppression? Understanding Sweden's Sex Work Paradox

Child Food Insecurity and its Implications in our Nation's Capital 

Privately Owned Public Spaces: Are They Truly Public?

From Hop Alley to Parking Lot to Strip Mall: The Decentralization of Physical Space and Community Needs for Chinese Americans in St. Louis

Hurricane Harvey: How New Orleans' Housing Policies before and after Katrina can Inform Harvey Recovery Efforts

Ciudad Juarez: Violence in a Transborder Space

Urbanity and Art: Neighborhood Change and the Evolution of Hip-Hop in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Urban Studies Honors and Awards

To receive Latin Honors, summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude, students must write an Urban Studies honors thesis and achieve an overall 3.65 GPA or higher at the end of six semesters. To be eligible to write an honors thesis in Urban Studies, you must have maintained an overall 3.65 GPA or higher throughout the sixth semester. To be awarded Outstanding Senior Honors Thesis in Urban Studies, an appointed faculty committee will consider nominations for this award, which carries a small cash prize. The award is noted in the Commencement Program and announced at the Urban Studies graduation reception.