USC Center for Sustainable Cities

Improving cities through research, education, and community outreach



The Mission: The USC Center for Sustainable Cities is to improve the environment, economic vitality, and social equity of metropolitan areas through multidisciplinary research, education, and community outreach.

The Challenge: Metropolitan areas are at the core of sustainability issues; large populations and extensive, resource intensive economic activity generate consequences that are negative for the environment and consume scarce natural resources. Metropolitan areas also exhibit some of our most serious social equity problems. As the world’s population continues to urbanize, metropolitan areas will increasingly be the focus of environmental protection, social justice, energy conservation, and greenhouse gas reduction policies.

The History: The Center for Sustainable Cities was established in 1998 by a group of USC faculty from engineering, the natural and social sciences, urban planning, and environmental health sciences. In 2009, the Center was permanently transferred to the School of Policy, Planning and Development (SPPD, now named USC Sol Price School of Public Policy), where faculty from multiple disciplines collaborates on rigorous evidence-based research on issues of sustainability in metropolitan regions. USC Price boasts distinguished faculty with research strengths in urban planning, real estate development, transportation, metropolitan governance, public policy, environmental policy, engineering, and architecture.

Today, the Center engages in multidisciplinary research that critically examines sustainability challenges to identify solutions that are feasible, effective, and equitable. In order to ensure that the Center’s research extends beyond the world of academia, the Center conducts educational and public outreach programs designed to engage policy makers, elected officials, corporate executives and the general public in informed discussions that further advance the development of sustainable cities.

The Center for Sustainable Cities is an Organized Research Unit (ORU) housed in USC Price. Established about 10 years ago, the Center fosters multi-disciplinary sustainability research with an emphasis on sustainability challenges of metropolitan areas. The Center moved to SPPD in 2009. With its interdisciplinary faculty, strengths in urban planning, real estate development, transportation, and metropolitan governance, and its rich funded research portfolio, USC Price provides an ideal home for CSC.

The Center is led by Research Professor Hilda Blanco, Interim Director. Prof. Blanco manages Center activities and directs the Center’s research.

The CSC Executive Committee provides overall guidance and policy direction for the Center. The Executive Committee includes faculty from USC Price, Architecture, and Engineering.