Urban Studies | Wilson Center

Urban Studies

Privatization: São Paulo’s Proven Solution for Brazil’s Long-suffering Highway System

In September of this year, a semitrailer driver lost control of his vehicle and collided with five passenger vehicles in the early morning along BR-101 in the Brazilian state of Recife.

Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age

Urban renewal of the 1950s through 1970s has acquired a poor reputation, much of it deserved. But reducing it to an unchanging story of urban destruction misses some important legacies and genuinely progressive goals.

Taking to the Streets: The Battle over Gentrification and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. came late to the American urban street mural movement. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami all embraced this very public art form earlier and with more enthusiasm than the stodgier national capital. As the city began to redevelop during the 1970s following a long period of declining real estate values, some developers commissioned established artists to spruce up underused buildings with murals usually depicting national events.

Wealthy Families in São Paulo Ditching Cars for Public Transportation

When people ask how long it takes to get from one place to another in São Paulo, there is usually one universal response: anywhere between 20 minutes and three hours. Urban mobility has always been one of the city's main bottlenecks, and state- and municipal-level administrations have failed to fix it. With 7.4 cars per ten people, driving in São Paulo is a challenge. And although the city's subway system is by far Brazil's best, it still leaves much to be desired.

The Absent Hand: Reimagining Our American Landscape

This engrossing work of literary nonfiction is a deep dive into our surroundings―cities, countryside, and sprawl―exploring change in the meaning of place, and reimagining our American landscape 

Bottom-Up Politics: What Do We Know and Where Do We Need to Go?

Bottom-up politics responds to the current dysfunction in national governance with its damaging consequences for residents in both urban and rural communities throughout the nation. Partisan gridlock and protracted inattention to everyday problems are spurring communities to bring together problem-solving efforts of their own. Termed by New York Times columnist David Brooks "a localist revolution," these initiatives bridge partisan, sector and social divides. Found in places varied in size, geography and partisan leanings, bottom-up politics is in need of sustained exploration.