Studies Program at USF is an interdisciplinary program that challenges students
to understand the complexity of the urban experience from the varied
disciplinary perspectives in the social sciences, the humanities and the arts.
At its core, the program assesses conceptions that have defined urban phenomena
for most of the twentieth century, and therefore challenges students to engage
critical questions. The Urban Studies Program will not only provide students,
through specific curricula and carefully-crafted international programs, with
an introductory understanding of the global urban experience, but also
encourage them to develop a critical view of San Francisco as an urban center.
As stated in the USF Mission Statement, the University of San Francisco “...is
an urban university.” The Urban Studies Program at USF will educate students in
the complexity of urban cultures and serve as the perfect vehicle to prepare
leaders who can potentially have a positive impact on the future of urban life
and urban form in San Francisco and the world.
of the urban has dramatically changed in the last century. The question of “why
people live in cities?” must now take into account compelling variables such as
knowledge economies, migration flows, and environmental issues in the face of
increasing poverty; virtual communication flows, and heightened concentrations
of property capital. The challenge thus consists in finding a balance between
advocating local urban practices with an informed understanding of the global
issues shaping urbanism in the twenty-first century. The city is not only
experienced by direct contact with its physical form, but also through
representations and discourses that convey specific perceptions of politics,
class, race and gender, both at the local and global levels. An understanding
of such representations and discourses is necessary to acquire a comprehensive
knowledge of the complexity of the city.
Jesuit education is deeply committed to an interdisciplinary approach to
learning and to the education of the whole person, and because of the
University of San Francisco’s unflinching commitment to social justice, the
Urban Studies Program will provide students with the intellectual and practical
skills, and the inspiration to become leaders who will potentially impact the
future of the urban experience. They will do so by joining NGO’s, city
government, local and state government, planning departments, policy think
tanks and planning and policy consulting firms.