CUPPA's work is vital to the mission of UIC.

Research programs in CUPPA’s nine interdisciplinary research centers and institutes and two academic departments explore how communities can evolve to meet the needs of residents and improve lives.

Ensuring social justice, promoting access to transportation and services, providing advocacy for underserved populations, creating jobs in economically depressed neighborhoods, and improving government management and performance at all levels are just some of the areas our faculty examine.

The Department of Public Administration is the leading public-sector source of research on critical issues of fiscal condition and financial management, in public administration in Illinois. Its faculty was recently ranked among the 20 most productive in the world.

Our faculty in the Urban Planning and Policy Department influence scholarship on cities and planning with their ideas noted in more than 22 books just this past year.  The faculty produced 10 book chapters and 28 refereed journal articles over the past year as well. Communities’ processes have been shaped by the work of our students and faculty, who are called upon to make recommendations by influential groups such as Chicago aldermen and the Chicago Transit Authority.

Our research has been funded by renowned foundations such as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Woods Fund, and Chicago Community Trust, as well as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Department of Justice.

CUPPA Faculty Areas of Research Expertise

Governance Disparities Finance
Geographic Information Systems Urban Design Labor
Visualization Sustainable Design Informal Economy
Housing Spacial Planning Employment Policy
Immigration Workers' Rights Local Fiscal Policy
Law Enforcement Training Community Organizing Property Tax
Performance Measurement Affordable Housing Business Tax and Incentives
Procedural Justice Survey Research Methodology Public Finance
Transportation Public Opinion Research Cost Benefit Analysis
Infrastructure Privatization Consumer Protection Banks and Inner City Investment

CUPPA Research Makes a Difference.

Brenda Parker specializes in human geography: the interplay between physical space and social relations.

“Cities are for all people, so we should be bothered when women are harassed on public transportation, for example, or when large populations live in slums or so many people of color are imprisoned,” she says.

Parker’s research concerns urban homesteading — people who become self-sufficient by growing food, bartering goods and services and doing their own household projects.

Parker, associate professor of urban planning and policy, teaches classes on gender, political economy, globalization, and places and institutions.

“I want my students to understand how inequity comes to be, and how they are the lever to make things better as planners, activists or citizens. Not the government; we are the government. Our daily actions matter.”

Meet one of the world's most influential researchers

Who says? Thomson-Reuters, for starters. The multinational media and information firm named Theodore to a list of the world’s most highly cited researchers in 2015, “the people who are on the cutting edge of their fields. They are performing and publishing work that their peers recognize as vital to the advancement of their science.”

Theodore, professor of urban planning and public affairs, was one of only two urban planners and 177 social science researchers worldwide named to the list.

The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times frequently report on his national studies of daily social injustices like wage theft, labor standards violations and other abuses of low-wage workers, including those in temporary staffing agencies, the day labor market and domestic work.

His academic publishing has drawn widespread attention over many years with a primary focus on  neoliberalism and its restructuring of the domestic and global economies, especially as they affect workforce development, workers’ rights, the informal economy and exploitation of vulnerable workers.

We're here to help. Contact Nik Theodore, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research