Living Histories


The Center for Urban Innovation supports action research engaged in real cities in real time with real residents, citizens, and community stakeholders as well as supporting access to public histories and digital archives. This work often involves civic innovation, design interventions, technology diffusion, historical awareness, and sociological engagement. Our faculty and student partners are a multi-disciplinary team of researchers ranging from digital media to architecture to computing to community development to philosophy of science and technology.

The City — often our own home City of Atlanta but often also other cities as well — operate a site for studio work for our students and faculty to design and deploy civic innovations in the use and application for big data, personal technologies, crowd-sourced information, new institutional forms and university-community partnerships.  Our work covers both hard infrastructure (skyscrapers and stadiums, innovation districts), soft infrastructure (technology systems), and history in the built environment. 


Urban History Books and Talks Collection

Surrogate Suburbs cover

As a resource, CUI has collected a list of relevant titles touching on urban histories, city dynamics, and more.

Urban History Books and Talks

The Ivan Allen Archives - Digital Urban Histories

Ivan Allen Archives

The Ivan Allen, Jr. Digital Collection aims to capture that legacy of social courage through oral histories, newspaper articles, news film clips, photos, and cartoons that address Allen’s mayoral tenure and the impact he continues to have today.

Explore the Allen Archives

Navigating Public Spaces - CycleAtlanta


This project explores the nature of our relationships to the technologies that makeup the landscape of our everyday urban environment, and about what it means for us to relate to one another through such devices, with  implications for theory, design, and policy. Most data-driven "civic apps" report problems. What if they facilitated civic engagement instead?

Learn more about Cycle Atlanta

Design in Practice - Hip-hop and a Guide to the Dirty South

design in practice

The guidebook, Atlanta: A Guide to the Dirty South provides a framework to connect the reader with the built environment — arguably an urgent task for a new generation of architects. Guides are never neutral; they possess authority — “go here, eat this, and see that….” We use the format of a guidebook as a methodology to command a new architectural discourse. If history repeats itself as seen in the example of the hip-hop industry, the work that follows will be perceived as slow and idiosyncratic.

Learn more about the Guide to the Dirty South

Digital Urban History Exhibits and Projects

redlining richmond

One of the most powerful formats for conveying urban history is through digital media.

Digital Urban History Exhibits and Projects

Immigrant Community Studio

immigrant studio

To understand the unique potential of immigrant communities in facilitating urban growth in metro Atlanta, Dr. Kim has utilized a CUI seed grant to convene a working group of faculty experts from Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, and Emory University to conduct research focused on authorized and unauthorized immigrant labor in Georgia.

Learn more about the Studio

Stadia Lab


Stadia Lab is a research group focused on studying historical and contemporary examples of urban stadium projects, exploring how stadium design intersects with a range of technological, ecological, economic, social, and political issues, as well as the broad non-sporting ends to which stadia are often the means.

Learn more about the Stadia Lab

Sweet Auburn Digital Media Initiative

sweet auburn

The Sweet Auburn Digital Media Initiative (DMI) seeks to raise awareness and engage multiple audiences about Sweet Auburn—a national and international cultural heritage—through an integrated media strategy. This work is situated within a larger research initiative that engages the role of locative media to serve as a platform for preservation of cultural heritage, informal education, and civic engagement.

Learn more about the Sweet Auburn DMI

Tech Square - Georgia Tech's Innovation District


To better understand the core components of Tech Square as an innovation ecosystem, CUI researchers are studying the history of the district, from conception to industry beacon, and developing a set of best practices to guide the development of an innovation districts model for urban universities. 

Learn more about innovation districts

Philosophy of Multi-Use Public Space Technologies


This project explores the ways that public space technologies are subject to multiple uses and meanings that differ across different groups of users. Supported by a CUI seed grant, it also explores the ways that such multi-use technologies are subject to customization by the more powerful groups, favoring one usage against alternatives.

Learn more about multi-use public spaces