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About the Center for Urban Research


The Center for Urban Research (CUR) mobilizes researchers at the Graduate Center to undertake basic research addressing the issues facing New York and other large cities. We also undertake applied research for public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other clients, train students in research techniques, and organize forums on urban policy issues.

A common thread in our activities is to understand the broad forces shaping patterns of inequality, inter-group relations, and neighborhood life in large urban areas and how these trends influence and are influenced by political participation, civic engagement, and the role of government. This work has yielded award-winning books and studies on topics ranging from the life trajectories of young people from immigrant and native minority backgrounds to the determinants of political participation in New York and other large cities to the changing nature of the urban labor force to mapping metropolitan demographic change at a national scale.

CUR has three operating units: the CUNY Data Service, the CUNY Mapping Service, and the New York City Labor Market Information Service (NYCLMIS). Each one is summarized below:

  • The CUNY Data Service, the first local affiliate of the New York State Data Center in the Census Bureau's local affiliate program, maintains and analyzes complex data sets from the federal government and elsewhere, including geographic and microdata from the 1970 - 2000 decennial Censuses and subsequent data from the American Community Survey and Current Population Survey. It makes these powerful sources of information available to faculty and students and conducts detailed analysis on important topics such as the changing demographics of the city’s neighborhoods and its labor market.
  • The NYC Labor Market Information Service helps policy makers and practitioners make data-driven decisions about workforce development based on an accurate understanding of the labor market, thus helping their customers and constituents achieve success. It accomplishes this goal by conducting research, providing information tools, and consulting on organizational capacity building. Since its founding, NYCLMIS has become a nationally recognized leader and innovator in developing and using labor market intelligence in the education, and economic and workforce development fields.
  • The CUNY Mapping Service engages with foundations, government agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and other CUNY researchers to use spatial information and analysis techniques to develop and execute applied research projects. It specializes in developing online applications that provide intuitive access to powerful data sets, displayed visually through interactive maps and in other formats. Such applications have yielded new insights about neighborhood change and environmental challenges in New York City, patterns of electoral participation, and racial change in major metropolitan areas. It has also assisted many New York City agencies in better targeting their operations.