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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

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