Institute of Urban Studies

For More Information

Learn more about the IUS and how to contribute by contacting Wanna Smith, Coordinator at (817) 272-2801


The Institute of Urban Studies (IUS) is the principal research center for the College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington. Originally established in 1967 by an act of the Texas Legislature, the Institute’s mandated mission is to conduct research and provide technical assistance to city and county governments, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations, and to offer education and teaching opportunities to individuals either already in or contemplating public service careers.


For over fifty years, communities and community organizations across Texas, many with limited funding available for discretionary services, have benefitted from access to technical assistance at modest cost through IUS.

  • More than 240 projects since 1969
  • More than 100 communities and organizations involved
  • 8 state agency projects
  • 4 federal agency projects
  • 33 economic development projects
  • 7 comprehensive plans
  • 7 APA awards
  • Hundreds of graduate student alumni


Funding for more than 240 projects since 1969
More than 100 communities and organizations involved
8 state agency projects
4 federal agency projects
33 economic development projects
7 comprehensive plans


Strong support and Essential to UTA efforts in Fort Worth. 7 APA award utilizing hundreds of graduate student alumni, the institute conducts research into critical issues affecting people and the places they live. Working with faculty across CAPPA, UTA, and beyond, the Institute has recently researched:

  • Transportation and Housing Affordability
  • Measures of Urban Walkability
  • DFW Water Withdrawal Categories
  • Other areas of research interest include:
  • Comprehensive Planning
  • Strategic Planning
  • Parks and Open Space Planning
  • Land Use and Transportation
  • Community Development Tools
  • “Missing Middle” Housing



Alan Klein

Director, Institute of Urban Studies

Alan klein


Phone #: 817-235-8558

Office: CAPPA 103D




Landscape Architecture


Office: Dean's Suite

Wanna Smith

Coordinator II, Special Programs (IUS)

Wanna Smith


Phone #: 817-272-2139

Office: CAPPA 103C


The Institute offers unparalleled opportunities for students to engage in cutting edge research, creative collaboration, and service to communities across Texas. Working with faculty, staff, and the professional community in one of the most dynamic urban environments in the nation, IUS students explore subjects that span the breadth and depth of the modern city. Specific research and service project areas include sustainable development, transportation and transit, local and regional economic development, public health and the built environment, and many more.


Akanksha Patel
City & Regional Plan/MCRP

Elmira Shirgir
Urban Plan & Public Policy/PhD

Jeevita Sai Paspuneti
Landscape Architecture (LARCMLTH -1)


UTA Fort Worth hosted an Open House for the Institute. There is much excitement surrounding the relocation of the Institute of Urban Studies to Downtown Fort Worth, with great emphasis on the institute's role in urban development and community engagement. The relocation is set to forge new connections and collaborations with the city and contribute to its growth and transformation.

Affordable housing stock in metro areas is in short supply. To address this issue, more and more cities are exploring solutions like secondary units on single family residential property, known as ADU’s, or accessory dwelling units.

The City of Lewisville has engaged the Institute of Urban Studies and Dr. Julia Lindgren of the UTA School of Architecture to create a user friendly and simple process for Lewisville residents to select pre-approved accessory dwelling unit plans and navigate the permitting and approval process.

The City of Dallas approached the Institute of Urban Studies and the Department of Public Affairs and Planning faculty to propose a plan/process to undertake a Racial and Ethnic Equity Policy review, “Policy Review with Racial and Ethnic Lens”

The initial selected departments for policy reviews are as follows:

  • Human Resources
  • Office of Emergency Management
  • Communications
  • Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability

Dr. Emily Nwakpuda, Dr. Jiwon Suh, and Dr. David Coursey are leading the project in collaboration with the Institute. Work has begun with individual department focus groups, and the project is expected to complete in January of 2024.

The Institute of Urban Studies (IUS) project team of Kathleen Stanford, Padmi Ranasinghe, and Nusrat Jahan Nipu, under the supervision of IUS Director Alan Klein, had their poster proposal accepted for inclusion in the American Planning Association's National Planning Conference's (NPC21) educational program.

The poster titled: Remote Engagement & Participation Strategies During COVID-19, showcases new remote engagement techniques utilized by IUS to target underrepresented populations in the planning process. The poster will be transformed into an online course within APA Learn, and the team will receive a certificate and acknowledgment of publication in APA Learn.

The Institute of Urban Studies is collaborating with the City of Gunter, Texas to develop a strategic plan for the City and its departments. Gunter, Texas is a general law city with 1,857 residents as of 2020. Located in rapidly growing Grayson County, near the current northern terminus of the Dallas North Tollway, Gunter seeks to prepare its city government to deal with the many expected challenges future growth will bring. As part of the plan development, Institute graduate student personnel will conduct an environmental scan of the city and surrounding region, including numerous one on one stakeholder interviews. A full day planning retreat will culminate the process. Over its 53 year history, the Institute of Urban Studies has conducted strategic planning efforts throughout Texas and internationally. IUS has previously worked with the City of Gunter, providing board and commission training for its city leaders.
Amruta Sakalker (UPPP Ph.D. Student), Alan Klein (Director of the IUS), and Dr. Joowon Im (Assistant Professor in Planning & Landscape Architecture) received the NITC Education Grant to collaborate with City Lab High School for the proposal titled "GIS training in Transportation and Environmental justice for promoting student success in STEAM."

The research team will collaborate with Oswaldo Rivera-Ortiz and other teachers at the City Lab High School to create a unique pilot introductory ArcGIS course that connects transportation planning, environmental justice, and design, utilizing locations along Trinity River as case study.

The GIS analyses and findings from the lab course will help students formulate a program for their planning and design studios that addresses transportation and environmental justice issues of accessibility around the Trinity river. The pilot course aims to demonstrate the inter-disciplinary relationship between transportation planning, sustainability, and architecture to students with future trajectories in transportation and related fields.

Nusrat Nipu received a Merit Award in the 2021 Texas ASLA Student Design Competition. Studio V Project named "Spark of the Light" was presented at the Awards Luncheon on April 29, 2021Galveston, Texas


IUS would like to recognize Amruta Sakalker, Alan Klein, and Meghna Tare for submitting project "Upper Trinity River Water Quality Report Card" for the 2020 RCE North Texas Award and received Honorable Mention for its role in contributing to SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

This award is given annually to RCEs that have made outstanding contributions to address local, sustainable development challenges in their regions.