Urban Wire “Elevate the debate”: Marking the next step in Urban’s evolution
Sarah Rosen Wartell
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In recent months, you may have noticed Urban has begun to use data visualization, video, graphics, multimedia, and magazine-style features to convey insights from research.

Today, we bring you another change: a new logo and look.

Evolution has always been a part of Urban’s identity. Urban was founded to assess the War on Poverty and the crises facing America’s cities in 1968. Our research portfolio today includes issues like health and tax policy, the well-being of families and children, and trends in work, earnings, wealth building, and much more. Our scholars have a long history of going where the research takes them, seeking answers to new questions as challenges evolve.

The pursuit of new knowledge to inform policy and practice has made Urban the important institution that it is today. But as our focus has expanded, our story has become more complicated.

When I joined Urban in 2012, I asked colleagues to tell me Urban’s narrative in their own words. Some cited our work in cities at home; others around the world. Some invoked their commitment to lifting vulnerable populations out of poverty and into a better life. Many were focused on policymaking in the public and nonprofit sectors. Added together, these perspectives seemed to describe many different organizations.

The question was whether we could find a way to succinctly capture all that exists in this rich, diverse, complex organization—and make it pithy enough for the proverbial elevator ride. We found that the answer lies in the one thing every one of us at Urban shares, something that transcends politics, communities, and silos: the belief that evidence matters.

Our new tagline reflects our shared belief that Urban’s evidence can “elevate the debate” on social and economic policy. Our vibrant new logo is built on a grid that evokes a city map or a graph. It speaks to our collection and analysis of data, and it emphasizes that “urban” remains central to the Urban Institute.

Beyond our visual identity, we are engaged in a much broader effort to bring knowledge to a wider audience of decisionmakers, local leaders, even amateur wonks. Behind the scenes, we’re working on a massive overhaul of our digital presence. The next key step in our evolution will be to launch our new website this winter.

Urban may have nearly five decades of research in our library, but when left on the digital shelf, we know the facts can’t always speak for themselves. That’s why we are making our analyses easier to find, easier to learn from, easier to share, and easier to apply to real-world problems. We’ll continue to serve as a hub for thoughtful dialogue with scholars, influencers, and thought leaders. And of course, we’ll continue to publish new research, which is the foundation for every insight, every blog post, and every tweet from Urban’s experts.

The core of what Urban does—independent, rigorously conducted research—remains the same. But the moment in which we live demands more of us than ever before. Technology has given us the opportunity to democratize data in ways that were previously unimaginable. And with our country’s changing demographics, ongoing economic recovery, and heated political climate, the need for evidence-based answers is as acute as it was at the time of our founding.

The researchers and experts of the Urban Institute are up to the challenge.

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety Economic mobility and inequality Education Neighborhoods, cities, and metros Children and youth Aging and retirement Families