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URI Providence Campus

80 Washington Street

Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-277-5000

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Center for Urban Studies and Research

Background

URI’s Center for Urban Studies and Research (CUSR) is a University-wide research center located at both Providence and Kingston campuses. Formally established in 2006, CUSR is the focal point for urban studies and research at the University. Its activities include basic and applied scholarly research, policy research, technical assistance, and outreach. While the Center encourages participation from all disciplines and works closely with faculty across the University and with other University centers, it has particularly strong ties to the social sciences and associated humanities. It therefore contributes to the University's overall intellectual life by enhancing the social sciences and related disciplines affiliated with the Center.

Mission

CUSR seeks to expand our understanding of fundamental urban processes affecting human settlements and to address the wide range of policy issues associated with them, in areas of varying geographic sizes, including national, regional, metropolitan, city, and town levels.

Objectives

The Center has three specific objectives.

  • With its particular emphasis on urban issues in Rhode Island, it seeks to serve the state's residents by addressing important issues affecting their lives.
  • CUSR also seeks to encourage and support urban studies research at URI, thereby increasing the University's contribution to urban studies scholarship.
  • Finally, it is a focal point where faculty members, staff, and students with diverse backgrounds, as well as policy makers, community organizations, and interested individuals come together to share their knowledge and expertise, to learn from each other, and to address shared concerns.

Philosophy and Approach

The Center's research pays special attention to issues of inequality, social justice, and empowerment. We see this as necessary for good science. Since dominant ideas tend to serve dominant interests, CUSR seeks to examine widespread beliefs critically, substituting factual evidence and carefully examined logic for the accepted conventional wisdom. Therefore, CUSR emphasizes serving the interests of the less powerful and seeks to give voice to those absent from or peripheral to dominant policy discourses.

Activities

To achieve its mission, CUSR

  • Undertakes basic, applied, and policy research
  • Disseminates research findings through research reports, working papers, journal articles, and books, as well as editorials, policy briefs, newsletters, video, and other electronic media
  • Serves as a center for information and data analysis for southeastern New England
  • Seeks to inform policy and the general public about urban issues
  • Organizes public lectures, forums, and events
  • Encourages civic engagement and participatory processes
  • Provides educational programs for community and governmental leaders, professional organizations, and students
  • Evaluates public and community programs

Current research strengths at CUSR include:

  • Community Health Systems
  • Education
  • Housing
  • State and Local Public Finance
  • Transportation
  • Urban and Regional Economic Development

CUSR pursues its mission in partnership with local and state governments and agencies, non-governmental organizations, community groups, and concerned individuals. Support for CUSR comes from government, philanthropic organizations, and private donors.