New research resource for urbanists
In the hard-slogging world of the practicing architect, planner, or developer, academic research might seem remote, or even irrelevant. While not all academic research on urbanism is (or even should be) immediately actionable and directed at practitioners, I’ve always thought that there needs to be a better connection between researchers and practitioners—researchers need to hear from practitioners what kinds of research questions they need answered; practitioners should make use of scholarly research. A lot of academic research might be helpful to practitioners.
With my team at the University of Chicago, we’re trying to keep track of urbanism-related research. As a start, we scanned the output of 64 academic peer-reviewed journals over the past 5 years (journals that we judged would be the most likely to publish urbanism-related material), searching for articles related to urbanism. We had two goals. First, to get a sense of the kind and quantity of urbanism-related research going on; and second, to figure out what was missing from this body of scholarship. What do we need to know that is not being covered?
All of this research has been summarized into short take-aways on the website urbanism.uchicago.edu (see “Research Summaries” on the home page). In our initial survey we identified 65 articles that we thought were most relevant to urbanists. We sorted these articles into 8 categories: Community & Place-Making, Crime & Safety, Diversity & Equity, Economic Development, Governance & Policy, Housing, Metrics & Methodology, and Transportation (articles can be in more than one category).
Browse through the list and see if there is research you can use! Could you use research that shows that active frontages improve perceptions of safety? Or were you ever curious about the psychological impacts of different dwelling types? Or knowing what the best trees for your city might be? How can the benefits of mom-and-pop stores be measured? What is the connection between form-based codes and walkability? These are just of few of the research articles we found.
But we need your help. If you find yourself wishing there was research on a topic not covered, let us know! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.