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2017 Report – Stanford University, Human Cities Initiative / Program on Urban Studies at Stanford University

By on May 9, 2017
General Information
Stanford University

Human Cities Initiative / Program on Urban Studies at Stanford University

United States Stanford

Person filling out the report
Deland Chan, Assistant Director of Urban Studies for Community Based Learning and the Human Cities Initiaitive

Associated UNI Thematic Hubs

  • Informal Urbanism
  • Climate Change
  • Urban Regeneration
  • Safer Cities
  • Urban Accessibility
  • Urban Governance
  • Urban Form
Other academic network affiliations

Other research network affiliations

Collaborations with UNI members in academic activities

Collaborations with UNI members in research initiatives


Undergraduate Programmes
The Program on Urban Studies at Stanford University is an interdisciplinary, undergraduate program that combines academic approaches with real-world experience to understand cities. Our mission is to develop students’ understanding of the nature of cities and their impacts on both the individual and society at large. The program is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing from fields in the social sciences, history, and education. There are five concentrations: Cities in Comparative and Historical Perspective; Urban Education; Urban Society and Social Change; Urban Sustainability, and Self-Designed. Coursework focuses on how cities have changed over time, issues in contemporary urban society, and tools that can improve urban life and in societies around the world.

We are a pioneer in experiential learning initiatives that combine academic coursework with real-world urban challenges and public service. All Urban Studies majors partake in a community-engaged learning opportunity through an internship, summer fellowship, or project-based course. These opportunities enable students to see the link between theory and practice, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and gain fluency in cross-cultural collaboration.


Master Programmes

PhD Programmes

Other Programmes
Our partnership with UN-Habitat UNI will take place within the Human Cities Initiative, housed within the Urban Studies Program.

At the Human Cities Initiative, we take a whole systems approach to the research and practice of sustainable cities. We aim to identify distinct challenges of urbanization at different stages of development and support human-centered technological, policy, and design strategies that address those challenges. We develop and practice ethical approaches, using frameworks that are inclusive (for many) and participatory (by many) to benefit diverse human communities. Our overarching framework for sustainable development is the Four Pillars of Sustainability consisting of environmental protection, economic vitality, social equity, and cultural continuity­­ and in which a balance of tradeoffs and choices between natural resources, land use, and human capital is necessary.

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