The Columbia World Projects (CWP) research and engagement team convenes scholars and practitioners to confront challenges that no single discipline or approach could successfully address.
The team assembles researchers from across Columbia and other universities who are committed to enacting thoughtful change together with professionals from government, foundations, business, civil society and local communities. Our work is both global and local, with particular emphasis on Harlem, home of Columbia’s Manhattanville campus and CWP.
The research and engagement team is currently working on three topic areas of enormous global consequence: democratic renewal; inclusive urbanism; and implementation and scaling. Within these topic areas, the team assembles working groups and initiatives (clusters of several working groups focused on a single theme within the broader topic area).
Research and engagement initiatives and working groups turn cross-disciplinary solutions into action by issuing reports, developing learning materials for professionals, hosting public events and high-level discussions with decision makers, and building partnerships with organizations that drive change.
Current Topic Areas:
Democratic renewal, one of our three topic areas, analyzes the crisis in liberal democracies throughout the world. This crisis is especially evident in the diminishing capacity of democratic political institutions to address our most complex problems, including finding solutions to climate change, inequality and systematic political exclusion.
Inclusive urbanism, a second topic area, centers on how to shape more inclusive cities. This effort aims to address pressing urban challenges and advocate for modes of collective action and decision-making grounded in the knowledge and perspectives of scholars, specialists and communities.
The third topic area is implementation — the transformation of knowledge into action — with particular emphasis on scaling. We have two working groups that explore different aspects of scaling. One investigates scaling from below — exploring conditions under which investments by government can increase the reach and impact of local innovations. The other explores models for adaptive scaling, asking how funders and governments can encourage experimentation in project design to determine when and which interventions work across different contexts. The working groups are a joint initiative with the projects team at CWP. The knowledge generated by this work is intended to reinforce our project design as well as understanding about the complexities of scaling more broadly.
Learn about our current work in these areas: