Research Clusters

GCI’s mandate is to support and produce engaged urban research that is developed in partnership with multiple stakeholders across disciplines, sectors, and locales. GCI’s research agenda is a collective product, reflective of shared priorities and key directives as identified through ongoing dialogue with our partners.

Our research agenda is divided into four key Research Clusters in order to inform conversations, produce debates, and influence public dialogue around the critical question for our future:

“What can cities and regions do to make themselves into great places?”

The clusters bring together the work of researchers across UIC’s campus and other universities, along with the work of community stakeholders and other advocates and interested organizations.

Current Research Clusters include:


Special GCI Research Series: Poverty to Prosperity

In the 50 years that have passed since President Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty” in the U.S., persistent problems of income inequality, stratification of access to resources and opportunities, and unrelenting social problems in low-income neighborhoods continue to plague cities across the nation. Beginning in Spring 2014, UIC Great Cities Institute facilitates a policy dialogue in pursuit of critical and overdue conversations to identify real solutions to one of our nation’s age-old problems: poverty. In its Poverty to Prosperity series, GCI provides the forum for dialogue between some of the nation’s premier experts on poverty and the Chicago community.  The series includes a variety of research projects and publications, convenings, and events to dialogue on multi-dimensional strategies to eliminating poverty.

ULI-Trkla Award

The ULI-Trkla Award was established in 1997 in memory of Nicholas Trkla, a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the first Chairman of ULI Chicago. Nicholas Trkla, president and founder of a Chicago-based planning and financial development consulting firm bearing his name, was responsible for revitalization programs throughout the Chicagoland area and in over 80 cities nationwide. Since 2012, GCI has administered and co-sponsored the ULI-Trkla Award.  Trkla Scholars have worked on a variety of research projects related to urban development in Chicago as research assistants at GCI. The 2016-2017 ULI-Trkla award recipient was Shubhayan Ukil. With GCI, Shubhayan is researching the changing employment landscape for teens and young adults in Chicago and the implications for neighborhood revitalization.