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Grand Challenges: Urban Equity Collaborative

Grant Type: Impact Award
Topics: Future Cities and Social Justice
Colleges Represented: ARCH, ARHU, SPHL

Grand Challenges Grants Program


Cities have never been more important. Currently, over 80% of people in the U.S. live and work in cities. By 2050, almost 90% of the U.S. population, and close to 70% of the world’s population will reside in cities. The Urban Equity Collaborative seeks to strengthen community-based institutions and the work of community activists around issues of urban inequality. It aims to incubate and disseminate durable research and policy strategies that promote economic, racial, and gender justice and shifts power towards communities on the frontlines of struggle.

To accelerate creative solutions to the trenchant problems facing urban communities, the Urban Equity Collaborative employs an intersectional, multidisciplinary, and collaborative approach to action research and collective inquiry that upholds equitable community partnerships. A unique feature of this initiative is its community fellows program where community leaders, including community-based organizational representatives, organizers, and activists, are invited to become researchers-in-residence.

The collaborative’s work will focus on issues of dispossession and displacement, and specifically issues of affordable housing access, immigrant rights, and small business displacement. Through capacity and knowledge exchange with communities, the Urban Equity Collaborative will leverage the collective expertise of university researchers in the service of community-led work.

Team Members:

PI: Willow Lung-Amam (ARCH), Associate Professor, Urban Studies and Planning

Co-PI: Nancy Raquel Mirabal (ARHU), Associate Professor, American Studies

Co-PI: Devon Payne-Sturges (SPHL), Associate Professor, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health



Urban Equity Collaborative Launches First Cohort of the Community Fellows Program (February 23, 2024)

UMD Professors Launch Collective to Assist Communities, Activists with Urban Equity Issues (The Diamondback) (October 13, 2023)

Grand Challenges: Newly-Launched Urban Equity Collaborative Hosts Open House (October 5, 2023)


October 3, 2023
Urban Equity Collaborative Open House 
3 - 4pm, Suite 1221, Preinkert Hall, 7840 Preinkert Drive, College Park

November 8, 2023
Video of Workshop with Corey Shaw: Reckoning: Leveraging Histories of Displacement to Achieve Equity

December 7, 2023
Video of Workshop with Ness Perry: Advocacy Amid Change: Small Business Preservation and Anti-Displacement, Purple Line Corridor

March 12, 2024
Urban Equity Collaborative
Studying Gentrification on One Block in DC: The Many Problems of Following People Around  
Tuesday, March 12th @ 2:00 pm, Hybrid Workshop (In-Person / Zoom)
Preinkert Hall, Suite 1221, 7840 Preinkert Drive College Park, MD 20740  
The University of Maryland’s Humanities Initiative is hosting a lecture with Dr. Johanna Bockman, Associate Professor of Global Affairs at George Mason University. Dr. Bockman’s lecture explores her research on multiple globalizations and gentrification in Washington, DC. This event is co-sponsored by the UEC. Register

March 26, 2024
Urban Equity Collaborative
Building Narrative Power for Racial and Social Justice
Tuesday, March 26th @ 12:00 pm, Hybrid Workshop (In-Person / Zoom)
Preinkert Hall, Suite 1221, 7840   Preinkert Drive College Park, MD 20740   
Dr. Richard Hofrichter, former Senior Director for Health Equity at NACCHO, explores the relevance of building narrative power to advance health equity and social justice by transforming culture, with examples from public health and urban planning. This talk will explain how narratives work and shape collective consciousness, focusing on four intersecting harmful dominant narratives, (white supremacy, the free market and capitalist ideology, anti-democratic rhetoric and practice, and individualism).  Register


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