50th Conference - Urban Affairs Association

April 12-14, 2022 | Washington, DC USA | Renaissance Hotel

Shaping the Future of Urban Research

Submit Abstract/Proposal Submission!
Deadline: December 1, 2021

The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) emerged through the development of urban research and outreach centers at U.S.-based colleges and universities, in the 1960s. A small group of center directors began meeting to share experiences and developmental strategies. This group became known as the Council of University Institutes for Urban Affairs (CUIUA) and held their first meeting in Boston Massachusetts on November 13, 1969, where an official constitution and bylaws were drafted and approved. In April of 1970, the council convened the first annual meeting of the organization in Washington, D.C.. In 1981, the board of CUIUA changed the name of the organization to the Urban Affairs Association (UAA). Today, the future of UAA as an organization is inextricably linked to the commitment and engagement of researchers, policy analysts, policy advocates, academic programs, research centers, and public/nonprofit practitioners seeking to advance the well-being of residents, neighborhoods, cities, and their respective metropolitan regions across the globe.

In April of 2022, UAA returns to Washington, D.C. to celebrate its 50th anniversary of annual meetings. The Opening Plenary of the 2022 conference will address the theme, “The State of Urban Affairs and the State of Urban Affairs Research.” This theme sets the stage for the overarching goals of the conference, which are: 1) to better understand our past, 2) to assess current realities, and 3) to create visions for the future that support a global urban research agenda.  The conference will provide opportunities to assess urban affairs as a field, and to develop ideas for enhancing its long-term prospects and impacts. We encourage proposals for paper, panel, colloquy and roundtable sessions to stimulate thinking and re-thinking of urban affairs, and to widen intellectual and professional networks.


December 1, 2021  11:59pm (CDT) – Abstract/Session Proposal Deadline
February 15, 2022 11:59pm (CDT) – Registration Deadline

Persons who miss these deadlines are welcome to attend as observers.

Participation Formats

A proposal can be submitted through the UAA website using ONE of the following participation formats:

  • Individual research paper presentation
  • Organized research paper panel
  • Organized colloquy
  • Breakfast roundtable
  • Poster

See complete descriptions of each format and/or submit an abstract/ proposal.

50th Anniversary Topics

The following topics are examples offered to stimulate, not to limit, your development of ideas for possible proposals:

What is Urban Affairs?

  • What does “urban” mean in scholarship and in public discussion, media, legislative debates, etc.? How have those meanings changed over time? How do these changes matter?
  • How relevant are the traditional distinctions between urban, suburban, and rural  communities to our understandings and analyses of development and its consequences?
  • How has “urban” scholarship and policy discourse differed and converged globally?
  • Is “urban affairs” a discipline? Should it be? Where does “urban affairs” sit in the community of scholars: in academe and elsewhere?
  • What array of topics has directed research and writing and how has that mix changed over time?
  • What should be and/or are likely to be future directions in urban research?  What can we do to better shape that future?
  • What role has UAA played in the development of urban affairs as a field? How has that role changed over time? What directions should the organization take going forward?

How Can Urban Affairs Researchers Expand Their Audiences?

  • How can the UAA and urban scholars more effectively serve the needs of audiences that utilize research and knowledge? For example:
    • journalists and others who “cover” urban affairs and related matters
    • urban-oriented organizations (NLC, NACO, USCM, Governors’ Assoc, etc)
    • governments at all levels (national, state, regional, local)
    • non-profit research, community-based, and advocacy groups (e.g. PolicyLink, Center for Community Change, National Fair Housing Alliance)
    • Scholars who are not involved in UAA, but do examine the significance of place including cities, suburbs, and non-metropolitan communities
  • What do foundations and other funders look for regarding funding for urban research?
  • How do their priorities influence research?

What is the Impact of Urban Affairs Research?

  • What impact does urban research have?
  • How can UAA members obtain greater recognition for their work (among scholars, practitioners and the public)?
  • Does urban research require methodological changes to increase credibility?
  • How can urban researchers produce greater impact on conditions on the ground, particularly in view of growing inequalities and polarization?
Special Conference Tracks
  • Special Track on Urban Affairs Association History will include sessions devoted to the UAA History Project with a focus on the evolution of the  organization, its conference, and the Journal of Urban Affairs.
  • Special Track on Urban Entrepreneurship (Sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation)
  • Other Proposed Tracks: Healthy Communities; Innovations in Affordable Housing; Race, Ethnicity and City; and The Role of Media in Urban Affairs (e.g., news, editorials, investigative reports, cartoons, web/social media)
Topical Categories for UAA Conferences

In addition to the conference theme, we encourage proposals that focus on an array of research topics including:

  • Activist Scholarship
  • Arts, Culture in Urban Contexts
  • Disaster Planning/Management for Urban Areas, Cities and National Security
  • Economic Development, Redevelopment, Tourism, Urban Economics, Finance
  • Education Policy in Urban Contexts, Educational Institutions & Urban Inequalities
  • Environmental Issues, Sustainability
  • Gender, Identity, Diversity
  • Globalization, Multi-national Urban Issues
  • Governance, Intergovernmental Relations, Regionalism, Urban Management
  • Health and Urban Populations/Communities
  • Historic Preservation, Space and Place
  • Historical Perspectives on Cities, Urban Areas
  • Housing, Neighborhoods, Community Development
  • Human Services & Urban Populations, Nonprofit Sector in Urban Contexts
  • Immigration, Population and Demographic Trends in Urban Areas
  • Infrastructure, Capital Projects, Networks, Transport, Urban Services
  • Labor, Employment, Wages, Training
  • Land Use, Growth Management, Urban Development, Urban Planning
  • Poverty, Welfare, Income Inequality
  • Professional Development, The Field of Urban Affairs
  • Public Safety, Criminal Justice, Household Violence in Urban Contexts
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in Urban and Metropolitan Contexts
  • Social Capital, Democracy and Civil Society, Social Theory, Religion and the City
  • Special Conference Topic – Shaping the Future of Urban Research
  • Special Track on UAA History
  • Special Track on Urban Entrepreneurship (Sponsored Kauffman Foundation)
  • Urban Communication (Urban Media Roles, Journalism, Social Media/Technology)
  • Urban Design, Urban Architecture
  • Urban Indicators, Data/Methods, Satisfaction/Quality of Life Surveys
  • Urban Politics, Elections, Citizen Participation
  • Urban Theory, Theoretical and Conceptual Issues in Urban Affairs
  • Urban Issues in Asia and the Pacific Rim
  • Urban Issues in Central & South America and the Caribbean
One-Session Policy

To maximize opportunities and minimize scheduling conflicts, UAA limits your participation (as presenter, speaker and/or moderator) to one (1) session. Exception: Persons in sponsored and professional development panels, poster session, or breakfast roundtables can participate in one additional session. DO NOT agree to participate in more than one session, unless you meet the exception criteria.