Founded in 2010 with generous support from SAGE Publications, URBAN is committed to strengthening relationships between academics and community-based practitioners, connecting traditionally siloed issue areas, and creating mechanisms to increase scholarly recognition of this work. URBAN will build on the work of Marilyn Jacobs Gittell, a passionate and engaged teacher and scholar whose long career of pioneering community-based urban research to inform social change is the inspiration for this effort.
URBAN is a multidisciplinary, distributed network of scholars and practitioners committed to articulating and strengthening the collaborative methods and impact, sharing findings, raising the visibility, developing career pathways and increasing the acceptance within the academy, of community-based research. URBAN will create physical and virtual spaces where thinkers of all stripes, academic and non-academic, can explore, debate and share lessons, with the ultimate goal of becoming a robust source of new scholarly work.
URBAN focuses on exploring the issues and challenges that face cities, large as well as small. We remain committed to this focus, even as we know that issues of oppression and social inequity afflict communities of all kinds, rural and suburban as well as urban. In turn, both urban and rural communities respond to such challenges with a rich array of strategies that emerge out of their unique institutions and social networks. Whether we are examining food security, the criminal justice system, education funding, or a host of other issues, we appreciate that lessons from communities of all kinds can lead to deeper understanding that benefits everyone. Just as it is advantageous to bring multi-disciplinary lenses and systems-thinking to bear on a range of core issues, it can be useful to conceptualize them in geographically broader terms as well. Furthermore, while our analyses begin in urban spaces, the research, policy advocacy, and organizing that we undertake may extend across and beyond urban centers.For these reasons, we welcome the participation of our colleagues whose community-engaged work focuses on rural, regional, or other communities, and we invite them to join our meetings, to use the resources on the URBAN website, and to contribute their own, so that together we can promote a more just and equitable society.