2020 Washington DC – Urban Affairs Association Conference

In April of 2020, the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) returns to Washington, D.C. to celebrate its 50th anniversary of annual meetings. The Opening Plenary of the 2020 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 the past decades of urban research, 2) to assess current realities of urban life as challenges to urban analysis, 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. UAA welcomes proposals for a wide range of topics related to urban communities, policies, and populations. See Topical Categories for UAA Conferences section below for a listing of relevant topics.

October 1, 2019, 11:59pm (CDT) – Abstract/Session Proposal Deadline
December 13, 2019, 11:59pm (CDT) – Registration Deadline

Participation Formats

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

  • Individual research paper presentation: Proposal requires an abstract.
  • Organized research paper panel: Proposal requires a panel summary, group of 4-5 paper abstracts, and a designated moderator (who may be a paper presenter).
  • Organized colloquy: Proposal requires theme statement & names of 4-5 discussants.
  • Breakfast roundtable: Proposal requires theme statement & names of 1-2 conveners.
  • Poster: Proposal requires an abstract. (Best option for persons in early stage of research)

Special Conference Tracks

50th Anniversary Topics on Shaping the Future of Urban ResearchThe 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, public discussion, media, legislative debates, etc.? How have those meanings changed over time? 
  • How relevant are the traditional distinctions between urban, suburban, and rural?
  • How has “urban” scholarship and policy discourse differed and converged globally?
  • Is “urban affairs” a discipline? Where does it sit in the academic community?
  • What array of topics has directed research and how has that mix changed over time?
  • What are the future directions in urban research?  What should they be?
  • 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: urban journalists, 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), non-UAA scholars, who examine cities, suburbs, and metropolitan areas. 
  • What do foundations and other funders prioritize in urban research? 

What is the Impact of Urban Affairs Research?

  • 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?

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
  • 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 sessions, 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.

2020 Local Host Committee

  • Gregory Squires, George Washington Univ (Co-Chair)
  • Hal Wolman, George Washington Univ (Co-Chair) 
  • Bill Barnes, National League of Cities
  • Leah Brooks, George Washington Univ 
  • Derek Hyra, American Univ
  • Willow Lung-Amman, Univ of Maryland
  • Sue Smock, Wayne State Univ (retired) 
  • Toni-Michelle Travis, George Mason Univ 

2020 Program Committee

  • Joan Wesley, Jackson State Univ (Chair) (USA) 
  • Clarissa Freitas, Univ Federal do Ceara (Brazil)
  • Al Gourier, Univ of Baltimore (USA)
  • Bligh Grant, Univ of Technology Sydney (Australia) 
  • Vladimir Kogan, Ohio State Univ (USA)
  • Sylvie Paré, Univ du Québec à Montréal (Canada) 
  • Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway, Univ of Barcelona (Spain)