Institute for Metropolitan Studies

While many of our most vexing urban problems are metropolitan in nature, they are often left unresolved due to the lack of appropriate governmental machinery to deal with metropolitan issues. The Institute for Metropolitan Studies was created to address these problems by facilitating the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and general spirit of cooperation between San José State University and its surrounding metropolitan community.


Upcoming Event

Adonia Lugo

Bicycle / Race: Transportation, Culture, and Resistance


Co-Sponsored by TRANSITion SJSU

Monday, November 4th at 12:30pm
MLK Library Room 255
San Jose State University

Housing Affordability Flyer

Bicycle/Race cover from Microcosm Publishing

Adonia Lugo's Bicycle/Race paints an unforgettable picture of Los Angeles—and the United States—from the perspective of two wheels. This is a book of borderlands and intersections, a cautionary tale about the dangers of putting infrastructure before culture, and a coming-of-age story about power and identity. The colonial history of southern California is interwoven through Dr. Lugo's story of growing up Chicana in Orange County, becoming a bicycle anthropologist, and co-founding Los Angeles's hallmark open streets cycling event, CicLAvia, along the way. When she took on racism in the world of national bicycle advocacy in Washington, DC, she found her voice and headed back to LA to organize the movement for environmental justice in active transportation.

The Institute for Metropolitan Studies and TRANSITion SJSU invite you to join us for a presentation and conversation with Dr. Adonia Lugo about her book and the cultural politics of race and mobility in our cities. 


Recent Events

Seeking Solutions to the Affordable Housing Crisis, co-presented with the Rotary Club of San Jose

March 17, 2019 (12:30pm) MLK Room 255


How Places Make Us with author Japonica Brown-Saracino

May 2nd, 2018 (4:30PM-5:30PM) BBC226


The STEM Dilemma: Skills that Matter to Regions with author Fran Stewart

March 12th, 2018-(1:30PM) MLK Library 225


Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City with Derek Hyra

February 5th, 2017- (5:30PM) ENG 285/287


East L.A. Interchange a film screening and discussion with director Betsy Kalin

November 29th, 2017- (6PM) SJSU SU Theater

East L.A.

Trespassers? Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia with author Willow S. Lung-Amam

November 15th, (4:30) SJSU- DMH 150



About the Institute for Metropolitan Studies

See also the IMS Facebook page


The major purposes of the Institute are:

  1. Public Service

    To assist community groups, non-profit organizations, private sector representatives, and public agencies to resolve urban problems by making available and orchestrating the extensive expertise of the University and community relevant to such problems.

  2. Student Internships

    To provide students in urban related program with an opportunity to integrate theoretical knowledge gained formally in class with internships involving real metropolitan problems.

  3. Research

    To develop a set of case studies in the resolution of urban issues which would be published for use by the community and academic institutions.


The Institute conducts studies for both public and private entities focusing on a variety of urban and regional issues including housing, land use, economic development, transportation, and permit processing.

  • Site and Design Review

    Working with both the private and public sections, the Institute reviews alternative design solutions for difficult sites.

  • Neighborhood Area Studies

    In close partnership with local communities, IMS conducts studies of specific neighborhoods reviewing the social and economic characteristics as well as land use patterns and facilities. Based upon these analyses, it recommends neighborhood improvement policies, alternative land uses, and urban design strategies.

  • Computer Simulation and GIS

    The Institute employs a variety of computer applications and experienced personnel in conducting site review and analyses. In addition, it utilizes Geographic Information Systems to improve the planning processes of local governments.

  • Transportation Planning

    The Institute conducts studies on traffic calming practices, perceptions of traffic congestion, the influences of transportation information on residential location choices, and pedestrian behavior.
  • Information Seminars and Classes

    Utilizing the resources of San José State University, the Institute conducts seminars on a variety of subjects. It makes arrangements for speakers, publicity, facilities, and media recording/broadcasting of each seminar. In addition, IMS conducts full semester courses on specific subjects of interest to planners, local officials, the business community, and the public at large.
  • Projects and Seminars

    Envisioning Neighborhoods
    IMS has been developing information design techniques and digital tools for area analysis to envision neighborhoods with transit oriented development potential. Context matters, so data is best understood in a comparative context. Using small multiple replicate maps, charts and digital images, place comparisons are made across space, time, and scale. Scales start with parcels and include blocks, area within walking, bicycling, and driving distance.
  • Collaborative Neighborhood Planning

    Teams of faculty and students from the Urban Planning Department at San José State University work as planning consultants in partnership with city staff, grassroots organizations, community leaders, and the community at large to develop an open and participatory planning process. These collaborative efforts result in neighborhood improvement plans and projects that accurately capture the strengths of the community as seen through the eyes of its residents, while also address its needs. In 2003, one of these plans, the Market-Almaden Neighborhood Improvement Plan, received the AICP Student Award, the American Planning Association California Chapter Academic Leadership and Service Award, and the Northern California Chapter American Planning Association Academic Project award.
  • Transportation Planning Studies

    IMS principals have been collaborating with researchers from universities across the nation on projects that examine the potential for influencing residential location choice and commute behavior by adding transit information to an online home rental database; analyze how travel surveys can be modified to better capture walk trip lengths; compare bus lane violations in New York City and San Francisco; and study specific paths pedestrians choose when accessing light rail stops in Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Guide to Planning in San Jose

    Commissioned by the City of San Jose Planning Department, the IMS developed Planning in San Jose, a Community Guide. Planning in San Jose is an introductory guide to land use planning for people unfamiliar with the process in the City, as well as for those already acquainted with the practice who want to learn more. It is a resource for residents, business owners, and property owners, as well as for developers interested in building in San Jose. The guide emphasizes opportunities to make a significant difference in the community by becoming actively involved in the planning process.
  • Watershed Protection in Trail Development

    With a grant from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the IMS is currently preparing a manual with guidelines for incorporating watershed protection measures in trail development in Santa Clara County. The manual presents methods to generate positive environmental effects on rivers, creeks, and streams in combination with recreation. Specific considerations include watershed protection techniques to ensure sensitivity to water quality, habitat issues, community concerns, and safety.
  • Evaluating Development Proposals in Your Backyard

    IMS cosponsored with Urban Ecology and the City of San Jose Strong Neighborhoods Initiative an interactive public workshop for community leaders, neighborhood activists, and urban planners. Workshop participants learned to utilize tools to look beyond the rhetoric and identify projects that are good for the community.

For More Information, contact the Urban & Regional Planning Department.