Thematic Practice Areas

The Urban Institute works in developing, transitioning, and fragile countries to support transformative development interventions. We engage in evidence-based research that allows us to better understand how the public sector becomes strong enough to achieve economic growth and to sustainably provide key public services while behaving with constraints that assure voice and rights to citizens. This approach is informed by considerable research and policy experience in four overlapping areas of thematic interest to Urban’s work in developing countries:

  1. Inclusive governance—increasing accountability and trust in government institutions
  2. Improving public financial management and intergovernmental finance
  3. Providing for effective and equitable service delivery
  4. Harnessing the power of urbanization

Our work supports both donor agencies and in-country partners in understanding the causes of current challenge, the options for change, and methods for acting upon that understanding. These opportunities arise at several stages: defining a problem, establishing a country strategy, designing and implementing a project, and evaluating the results.

Important policy issues that cut across these thematic areas include global development policy and the effectiveness of development interventions, the political economy of development, the impact of corruption on public sector effectiveness, conflict and fragility, the rule of law and justice programs, environmental sustainability, and gender policies.