Mission and Strategic Objectives

The Initiative on Cities (IOC) serves as a hub for urban related research and teaching across Boston University. We engage with urban leaders, policymakers, academics, and students from around the world to work toward sustainable, just, and inclusive urban transformation.

Research. Learning. Practice.

These are the pillars of the Boston University Initiative on Cities, a university-wide urban center that catalyzes research in, on, and with cities, hosts critical conversations, and creates experiential, place-based learning opportunities for students. We marshal the talents and resources of wide ranging disciplines across Boston University and forge ties to cities locally, nationally, and globally — in pursuit of sustainable, just, and inclusive urban transformation.


We unlock the knowledge of the Boston University scholarly and research community by catalyzing and supporting highly impactful, multi-discipline urban research, hosting critical conversations that showcase the breadth of our community’s urban academic expertise, fostering multi-discipline exchange of ideas, and connecting faculty to external collaborators.


We inspire the next generation of civic leaders at Boston University by providing forums and professional opportunities that connect undergraduate and graduate students to urban challenges, both domestic and international. We bring real-world learning opportunities into the classroom for hundreds of students across campus.


We seek to understand and address the most pressing leadership challenges facing mayors, on issues ranging from governance to infrastructure, poverty, equity, health, and sustainability. We convene current and former elected officials; academics; and business, nonprofit, and community leaders to co-engineer solutions.

Annual Reports

2023 Annual Report
2022 Annual Report
2021 Annual Report