The Penn Institute for Urban Research Launches Directory of Urban Research Centres

[1 October 2014] -- The Cities Alliance is pleased to announce that we have joined the Global Urban Commons (the Commons), a publicly-accessible, global directory of university-based urban research centres created by The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR). More than 200 urban-research focused organisations from around the world have already joined the initiative.

“Our aim was to build a dynamic meeting place for urbanists across the globe,” says Penn IUR Co-Director Genie Birch in the 29 September press release announcing the initiative. “We hope the site will spark rich dialogue, and that ideas that begin online at the Commons will eventually progress into real-world collaborations that improve our world’s cities.”

Penn IUR created the Commons in response to scholar and practitioner requests for a platform to build awareness about the breadth and depth of global urban research. The site is unique in that it reaches across disciplines, supports common research agendas, and fosters opportunities for collaboration between urbanists based at research centres around the world.

While urban scholars and practitioners often wish to collaborate and share knowledge, they all too often lack communications tools to connect. As an Internet-based directory, the Commons aims to fill this gap. It has a searchable database, video-conferencing and blogging capacities, and offers information about its member organisations’ initiatives, news, publications, and education opportunities.

The creation of the Commons was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, as part of its “Transforming Cities” initiative, which aims to address issues affecting urban areas and promote more equitable cities.  Organisations that would like to join the Commons may register at




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