Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities

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Stan Allen, Project Investigator / School of Architecture
Bruno Carvalho, Project Investigator / Spanish & Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Alison Isenberg, Project Investigator / History
Aaron Shkuda, Project Manager

Steering Committee

Beatriz Colomina / School of Architecture
Denis Feeney / Council of the Humanities
Ruben Gallo / Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Mario Gandelsonas / School of Architecture
William Gleason / English
Maria E. Moreyra Garlock / Civil and Environmental Engineering
Douglas S. Massey / Sociology
Guy Nordensen / School of Architecture
Stacy E. Wolf / Theater
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor / African American Studies


As cities around the world become increasingly prominent as centers of financial markets, cultural innovation, and international migration it is more urgent than ever that our educational institutions enable teaching and research on urban topics. Urbanization is not only a global phenomenon of physical and cultural restructuring; it has itself become a spatial effect of the distributed networks of communication, resources, finance and migration that characterize contemporary life. The emergence of this global urban culture has had complicated social, aesthetic, economic, physical, and political effects, many of which are still little studied or understood.

The study of the city is fundamentally interdisciplinary. Cities are complex entities that cannot be reduced to a few variables. Moreover, as cities have grown and changed, urbanism is no longer exclusively associated with dense city centers. An increasing awareness of the environmental effects of urban growth means that the city needs to be understood within a larger ecological context. All of this makes the city a fruitful research topic and a rich teaching vehicle across a wide range of fields. The Princeton-Mellon Initiative seeks to advance our understanding of these questions, while also probing unforeseen possibilities.

With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (link is external), the University has launched the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities, a three-year interdisciplinary program that combines the efforts of a diverse group of faculty, programs, and schools to develop a more dynamic and nuanced understanding of urban issues today.

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