The Humanities+Urbanism+Design Initiative, sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, is a ground-breaking five-year collaboration by the School of Design, School of Arts and Sciences, and Penn Institute for Urban Research that brings together students and faculty to explore cities — past, present and future — examining them at the intersection of the humanities and design disciplines and sharing research through teaching, conference participation, and publication.

It draws on Penn’s great strengths in design, urban studies, and the humanities, creating a multi-disciplinary setting for the study of the built environment in which students and faculty can share and combine their research and analytical methods in ways that will greatly enrich their work, heighten its impact, and increase their contributions to the creation of more inclusive, beautiful, resilient cities around the globe.

To this end, the initiative’s co-directors have convened both a nineteen-member steering committee and a twenty-one-member inaugural colloquium of faculty from multiple departments in both the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Design. The steering committee oversees the implementation of the overall initiative while the colloquium brings faculty from both design and humanities disciplines to share research, foster collaboration and build relationships.

Project Co-Directors

  • Eugenie L. Birch
    Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research
  • David Brownlee
    Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor Chair of the Graduate Group

Pi, Kartzplatz Interchange, Vienna