Urban Development and Social Change


Why study urban development and social change?

Urbanization has been a powerful process shaping American life. More than three-quarters of the U.S. population is currently classified as urban, suggesting that in many ways understanding contemporary America requires understanding cities—the broad patterns and notable variations in their growth, decline, and in some cases, revitalization.

Concentration Overview

Clark's interdisciplinary urban development and social change (UDSC) concentration provides students majoring in any field with a structured program of study that enables them to understand the historical, social, economic and political factors that have shaped U.S. cities and how cities have, in turn, affected the lives of their inhabitants. UDSC students study the key concepts and methodological tools used to explore and analyze urban phenomena primarily in the United States, but may also choose to take a course that examines urbanization in other parts of the world. Proceeding from an introductory course through intermediate and advanced courses offered in several different departments, students then apply these concepts and methods in their capstone experience. The capstone can be either a research project or an internship, conducted under the supervision of one of the concentration's participating faculty or as part of an urban-research or internship seminar.

>>View the current UDSC program guide here (2019-20).

Worcester as a laboratory for studying urbanization

For a capstone project, UDSC students are encouraged to take advantage of the unparalleled opportunities for field research and applied learning that are offered by Clark's location in the center of Worcester. Like many medium-sized cities in the Northeast and Midwest, Worcester has experienced significant social, economic and political changes over the past several decades, which make it a superb laboratory for learning. Moreover, Clark's involvement in the University Park Partnership (UPP)—a partnership the University forged with neighborhood groups, businesses, and city and state government agencies—provides unique opportunities for students to contribute to innovative efforts to improve education, housing, and economic and social conditions in our inner-city neighborhood.

Summer Internships

The UDSC program offers summer internship opportunities for Clark undergraduate students to participate in applied research in a Worcester inner-city neighborhood and internships with a Worcester City Councilor or local community development agencies.

Earn a Master's Degree

The UDSC concentration is particularly well-suited to provide preparation for the master's degree program in Community Development and Planning (CDP). Interested undergraduates can apply through Clark's accelerated B.A./master's program with the fifth year of study tuition-free.