The Institute of Urban & Regional Development is an interdisciplinary academic and research unit dedicated to prioritizing justice in initiatives to understand, mitigate, and adapt to climate change. IURD is the College of Environmental Design's hub for research and home to two master's degree programs, the Abbey Master of Real Estate Development + Design and the Master of Urban Design, as well as the Sustainable Environmental Design undergraduate major.
As a research hub, IURD acts as a catalyst for public and private investments in adaptation and resilience, and foster new models of community-engaged research with tangible outcomes. We seek outcomes that provide actionable insights for decision makers that increase environmental justice and social equity, and enhance the value and co-benefits of public investments over time.
Our mission is to accelerate the creation of knowledge and capacity that will allow cities and regions to reduce their carbon emissions and adapt to a changing climate using strategies that promote social equity and healthy cities. To achieve this goal, IURD generates new pathways that lead to genuine action for change, building on partnerships with underrepresented communities, community activists, public agencies, elected leaders, private investors, academic researchers and UC Berkeley students. IURD shares these insights and tracks the outcomes of new actions using our robust capacity to disseminate the results of research conducted with our partners in the San Francisco Bay Area, in California, and around the world.
Since it was founded in 1962, IURD has worked to advance knowledge and practice in ways that make cities and regions economically robust, socially inclusive, and environmentally resourceful, now and in the future. Through collaborative, interdisciplinary research and praxis, IURD serves as a platform for students, faculty, and visiting scholars to critically investigate and help shape the processes and outcomes of dynamic growth and change of communities, cities, and regions throughout the world.
IURD has produced research grappling with the accelerated pace of urban growth around the world that has spawned a host of complex problems related to housing, sprawl, transportation, environmental quality, poverty and the physical transformation of cities. Among the global challenges facing cities and regions today that have been tackled by IURD scholars are climate change, energy efficiency of cities, environmental justice, metropolitan ecosystems, green infrastructure, sustainable urban design, water-resource management, and urban distress in the Global South. For the most part, such problems cannot be solved through the lens of a single discipline but rather must rely on creative thinking and partnering among scholars and stakeholders across many fields and disciplines. In this capacity, IURD serves as a conduit for scholars and educators across many fields on the Berkeley campus to conduct collaborative research, train graduate and post-graduate students, and interact with and inform the practices of public agencies, the media, foundations, community leaders, and citizens. In so doing, cities and regions of the future can be more productive, resource-conserving, and socially just.
Important outlets for the creative ideas and work found at IURD are its centers and collaborative partners with which IURD is associated. At present, IURD houses five centers, the Center for Community Innovation, the Center for Cities + Schools, the Center for Global Healthy Cities, Global Metropolitan Studies, and the Urban Analytics Lab. Its two related partners are the Urban Inequality and Poverty Collaborative, also housed at IURD, and the CED-backed Global Urban Humanities Initiative. These are where normative theories and critical thinking about cities and regions are forged, and get most directly expressed into practice.
IURD also provides a research home and support to individual faculty and graduate students from the university's professional teaching programs, including city planning, education, law, architecture, landscape architecture and environmental, social welfare, civil engineering, public health, and agriculture & resource economics.