Urban Studies

  • Lang students can take Urban Studies as a major (BA, Urban Studies), a minor, or a self-designed major (BA or BS, Liberal Arts).

    Approximately half the world’s population lives in urban areas. In industrialized countries, such as the United States, less than a quarter of the population remains rural. What does this mean for students at an urban university? Notwithstanding the effects of globalization, most of our work, living, and recreational spaces, cultural institutions, ethical development, and commercial activities exist within the context of cities and their surrounding metropolitan regions.

    The major in Urban Studies, which leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies, provides you with an understanding of the peoples and structures that make up cities both in the United States and internationally. Courses explore

    • the city as contested social, political, and imaginary ground, examining the interplay of urbanization, migration, and racial/ethnic identity
    • the impact of labor markets on diverse populations
    • how the city shapes and is shaped by cultural life and the natural environment
    • the interaction of municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations in areas such as housing and homelessness, health, and social welfare
    • how people in the city work with and against one another
    • how neighborhoods are created, destroyed, and revitalized
    • the role of the city in the national and global economy
    • urban politics as a reflection of and protagonist in these questions

    Raising basic questions about the dynamics of modern life — for example, how living in New York City differs from living in Los Angeles, Berlin, Johannesburg, or Rio de Janeiro — Urban Studies is designed for both the student who wants to think critically about the urban setting and the student who seeks graduate training or a career in education, law, community development, journalism, urban management, public policy, or public health. Students can develop individual paths in areas such as urban geography, urban history, urban culture, urban policy, and urban development. New York, a dynamic, diverse city that faces a range of challenges, serves as an educational laboratory and resource. Urban Studies is part of a suite of interdisciplinary undergraduate programs at The New School that examine the 21st century’s greatest challenges — globalization, urbanism, social justice, and sustainability.