Urban Planning

Urban, city, and town planning seek to inform land use, development, and transportation infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the community, often with the explicit goal of maximizing both economic vitality and overall quality of life. RAND helps to inform policymakers who plan long-term urban services and neighborhood design, from determining the public health implications of proximity to parklands or inner city waste abatement to the role of urban planning in nation-building efforts.

  • Advertisement from 1957 for "America's Independent Electric Light and Power Companies" showing an autonomous car

    Report

    Self-Driving Vehicles Offer Potential Benefits, Policy Challenges for Lawmakers

    Self-driving vehicles offer the promise of significant benefits to society, but raise several policy challenges, including the need to update insurance liability regulations and privacy concerns such as who will control the data generated by this technology.

    Mar 22, 2016

  • City of Santa Monica seal

    Essay

    Learning from One City's Effort to Transform Community

    RAND researchers have partnered with the city of Santa Monica, California to redefine not just how cities measure success, but how they assess their very purpose for being. This “Wellbeing Index” posits that cities can improve not just the safety and comfort of their residents, but also their happiness.

    Mar 8, 2016

  • Report

    Quality of Life Indicators and Policy Strategies to Advance Sustainability in the Pearl River Delta

    Proposes a system of quality of life indicators and identifies policy options to improve quality of life in the Pearl River Delta, a region of Guangdong Province in southeastern China.

    Nov 6, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Associations Between Neighborhood Alcohol Availability and Young Adolescent Alcohol Use

    An investigation into the association between alcohol outlet density and adolescent alcohol use, including whether this association differed by sociodemographic characteristics.

    Oct 20, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Influence of the Built Environment on Pedestrian Route Choices of Adolescent Girls

    We examined the influence of the built environment on pedestrian route selection among adolescent girls.

    May 29, 2015

  • The entrance to the Santa Monica Pier at sunset

    Commentary

    Wellbeing Project to Weave Science Into Government Decisions

    Wellbeing is about individuals having the skills and opportunity to live a meaningful life. There are countless things that cities do that either contribute or detract from that sense of meaning. Santa Monica's Wellbeing Project is working to fundamentally change how the government thinks about its citizens.

    Apr 29, 2015

  • Downtown Pittsburgh

    Commentary

    Building the Best Pittsburgh Possible

    Pittsburgh's journey toward its bright future has only just begun. To realize its potential, the city needs a vision as well as an innovative, inclusive, and data-driven approach to community development.

    Apr 9, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Building Urban Resilience: A Look at Challenges Facing the Pittsburgh Region Today and Tomorrow

    RAND's Board of Trustees joined RAND donors and partners, as well as local Pittsburgh civic and community leaders, to discuss urban resilience efforts. Pittsburgh is at the forefront of municipalities considering how to develop resilience as a framework for managing change.

    Apr 8, 2015

  • Self-driving vehicle on a cloud

    Essay

    The Dream Drive: Twists and Turns on the Road to Self-Driving Vehicles

    Autonomous vehicle technology is already here: Cars park themselves, alert drivers to impending dangers, and even apply the brakes in emergencies. But what will it take to unlock its potential for major societal benefits?

    Jan 14, 2015

  • Barcelona aerial port view

    Commentary

    How Smart Are Our European Cities?

    The urban population is expected to double by 2050, when seven out of every 10 people will live in cities. Poverty, inequality, unemployment, and energy management challenges are also expected to increase. One potential solution is the concept of the “smart city,” where initiatives are designed to fuse current infrastructures with digital technology.

    Jul 9, 2014

  • Affordable housing in India

    Project

    Socio-Economic Effects of Affordable Housing on the Working Poor of India

    RAND examined the socio-economic effects of affordable housing on the working poor of India.

    May 30, 2014

  • The Dinesh Nagar housing complex on the outskirts of New Delhi

    Report

    The Effects of Moving to Permanent Dwellings on India's Working Poor

    In India, low-cost housing projects like the Ashray Affordable Housing Pilot may help the working poor and their families improve their living conditions, while still allowing developers to recover their costs.

    May 30, 2014

  • A man on a donkey-pulled cart transports an auto-rickshaw for repair in Lahore, Pakistan

    Project

    Pakistan Urban Sector Assessment

    RAND is examining the trends and implications of rapid urbanization in Pakistan. The analysis leads to recommendations for policies to enhance productivity and economic growth in urban areas.

    Apr 18, 2014

  • Berlin by night

    Project

    Mapping Smart Cities in the EU

    The European Parliament asked RAND Europe to provide background information and advice to their members on the role of Smart Cities initiatives and to explain how existing mechanisms perform. The researchers established a working definition of a Smart City and mapped the cities fitting this definition across the Member States. An analysis of the Smart Cities initiatives found that Smart Cities objectives should be more explicit, well defined and clearly aligned to city development, innovation plans and Europe 2020 to be successful.

    Mar 25, 2014

  • News Release

    Self-Driving Vehicles Offer Potential Benefits, Policy Challenges for Lawmakers

    Self-driving vehicles offer the promise of significant benefits to society, but raise several policy challenges, including the need to update insurance liability regulations and privacy concerns such as who will control the data generated by this technology.

    Jan 6, 2014

  • One of Google's self-driving cars picturesd in a parking lot.

    Research Brief

    How to Best Realize the Social Benefits of Autonomous Vehicle Technology

    The auto industry has been moving toward more autonomous vehicles for years. Policymakers could benefit from an examination of the technological advances in this area, their benefits and risks, and the potential effects of various regulations — as well as the absence of regulation — on the development of this technology.

    Jan 6, 2014

  • Vietnamese woman paddling a boat

    Journal Article

    Flood Risk Management in Ho Chi Minh City

    Ho Chi Minh City faces significant and growing flood risk. Recent risk reduction efforts may not work if climate and socio-economic conditions diverge from earlier projections. Robust decisionmaking can help Vietnam's capital develop integrated flood risk management strategies despite this uncertainty.

    May 1, 2013

  • News Release

    Land-Use Zoning Shown to Affect Crime Rates in Los Angeles

    Using zoning laws to shape the type of development and activity that occur in a neighborhood may be one way to reduce crime in urban areas. Single-use commercially zoned blocks in Los Angeles have crime rates that are 45 percent higher than similar blocks that include residential uses.

    Mar 5, 2013

  • housing sprawl

    Journal Article

    The Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Coronary Heart Disease in Women

    Women living in more compact communities had a lower probability of experiencing a coronary heart disease (CHD) event or dying as a result of CHD.

    Mar 1, 2013

  • Video about project to improve Santa Monica residents' well-being

    Blog

    RAND Is Helping Santa Monica Measure the City's Overall Well-Being

    RAND is helping its hometown of Santa Monica, Calif., become the first city in America to use a measurement of overall wellbeing to drive public policy.

    Mar 1, 2013