The IJURR Book Series has established itself as a cornerstone in the field of global urban studies, pushing the boundaries of critical, interdisciplinary, and theory-driven urban research across the globe. Entering a new phase with its partnership with UC Press starting in 2024, the IJURR Book Series is set to continue shaping key debates in global urban studies. By focusing on emerging themes, promoting open access, and diversifying its contributors and geographical coverage, this new chapter not only cements the series’ distinguished reputation but also enhances its relevance and impact at a time when understanding urban dynamics is critical to addressing the complex challenges of the 21st century.

Walter J. Nicholls is a Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine. He has served as Chief Editor of the IJURR Studies in Urban and Social Change book series since 2018. His research focuses on planning and governing unequal cities, the urban roots of social movements, and immigrant rights activism in the United States and Europe. Professor Nicholls’ recent books include The DREAMers: How the Undocumented Youth Movement Transformed the Immigrant Rights Debate (2013), Cities and Social Movements: Immigrant Rights Activism in the United States, France, and the Netherlands (2016), and The Immigrant Rights Movement: The Battle over National Citizenship (2020). His current research explores the roles of “insurgent bureaucrats” within government and the emergence of far right urban social movements in the United States.

Throughout its 30-year history, the IJURR Studies in Urban and Social Change (IJURR SUSC) book series has been at the forefront of urban research. Why do you think the series has been so influential? 

The IJURR Studies in Urban and Social Change book series and its associated entities in the “IJURR family” embody the radical spirit of critical urban studies. The series draws inspiration from foundational sociologists and geographers such as Manuel Castells, Frances Fox Piven, Enzo Mingione, Ray Pahl, Chris Pickvance, Edmond Preteceille, and Michael Harloe. These scholars shifted their focus from traditional urban concerns like social disorganization and spatial modeling to explore the dynamics of socio-spatial inequalities, the workings of the capitalist state at the local level, and the role of urban social movements. They developed theories of capitalist urbanization to empower activists striving for revolutionary changes in their urban worlds.

These and other European and North American radical urban scholars challenged established norms, theories, and institutions in urban studies. They forged their platforms, including creating a new professional association under the International Sociological Association, namely the Research Committee 21 (RC21) on Urban and Regional Development. In 1977, they launched their journal, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and established institutional links with RC21.

This symbiotic relationship made them powerful forces supporting the fast-growing field of critical urban studies. RC21 served as a vital forum for presenting new research on pressing urban issues, while IJURR offered a venue to publish such research. Since its inception, the IJURR and RC21 have been at the cutting edge, publishing seminal debates on capitalist urbanization, global cities, gentrification, social movements, and urban governance.

In 1993, Chris Pickvance expanded the IJURR’s mission by creating the Studies in Urban and Social Change (SUSC) book series. This addition to the IJURR family has drawn prominent authors dedicated to pushing the boundaries of critical urban studies. Embracing a global and comparative approach, the series has introduced innovative perspectives on urban issues, moving beyond traditional North American and European case studies to include rich analyses and comparisons of cities across Latin America, Africa, and Asia. This global perspective has been instrumental in pushing the theoretical landscape of critical urban studies, offering a broader, more inclusive understanding of our urban worlds.

What new directions are you currently taking in the series? What types of projects are you looking for?

Urban Studies focused on a handful of cities within the Global North for many years. In the past 15 years, the field has undergone a transformative shift towards a more global and comparative perspective. This change is propelled by the world’s increasing urbanization led by cities from the Global South. Critical urban studies scholars can no longer rely on “general” theories derived only from Chicago, New York, London, and Paris. The globalization of urban studies has led to a renaissance of theories, data, and research methods, transforming how we think about and study cities.

IJURR SUSC aims to continue its position at the forefront of these developments while emphasizing critical themes. We will spotlight pressing issues like climate change and explore how fast-growing cities are the drivers of and solutions to climate-induced disasters. The book series is committed to ongoing research on the intersection of race and capitalism in shaping urban inequalities, as well as the government policies that can perpetuate these disparities. We are also excited to publish on the infrastructures and materialities that mediate inequalities and climate change. Lastly, we’ll continue publishing on the urban practices (e.g., from gardening to car theft) and networks (e.g., from networks between activists to those between financial speculators) that directly shape life, shape, and opportunities found in cities.

As the series moves to UC Press, we aim to attract authors from around the world, especially those who can provide a nuanced understanding of global urbanization. Forthcoming books can be from any region, but authors should speak to global and comparative debates in our field. We will also be looking for books that are theoretically rich, empirically rigorous, and written in language that can reach multiple audiences — including policymakers, activists, and urban practitioners. We hope to incorporate a more comprehensive range of perspectives, topics, theories, and methods.

What impact do you hope to have with forthcoming books? 

We aim to foster a deeper understanding of complex, rapidly evolving urban worlds. At a time when cities are at the forefront of climate change, social injustices, and the consequences of neoliberal globalization, this longstanding mission remains more important than ever.

Ultimately, we hope books in this series will contribute to meaningful change  — inspiring urban actors at all levels to implement practices and policies that make cities more socially just and sustainable. Whether it’s addressing climate change, combating racial and social injustices, or democratizing urban governance, books in the series can serve as a valuable resource for sparking innovation and driving progress in urban spaces around the globe.

What should authors do if they are interested in submitting to the series?

Authors should submit a proposal and at least one chapter to the series editor, Walter J. Nicholls, at  For guidance on the proposal, please refer to the following UC Press guidelines. If the Series Editor believes the material to be a good fit for the series, they will forward to the IJURR SUSC editorial board for full review.