In 2008, the United Nations Population Fund reported that for the first time in human history, over half of the world’s population lived in urban areas. This statistic reflects tremendous urban growth over the last century, and indeed, only 30% of the world’s population lived in urban areas as recently as 1950. The current Urban Studies program at Lake Forest College was designed with this significant demographic fact in mind.
As the urbanization trend continues, most Lake Forest College graduates are likely to find themselves working in urban areas, and many will be actively involved with urban specific issues in environment, communication, infrastructure, planning, politics, and social organization. Because Lake Forest College is only 30 miles from Chicago, our students and faculty are well-situated to treat the city as an urban laboratory in which to explore these issues. Chicago-oriented courses are available in almost all the departments in the College.
The Urban Studies minor provides a way for students who foresee themselves in urban-oriented careers or who have an academic interest in cities to formally pursue coursework that focuses on the urban experience. The minor works to complement existing majors, and anticipates that students will have methodological training within their majors to help guide their urban work. The minor includes a core course and a significant internship component. Notably, our In the Loop program allows students to complete nearly all the requirements for the Urban Studies minor.