With more than half the global population living in urban areas, conservation challenges like congestion and pollution have become more salient. Although cities tend to have more traffic, poorer air quality, and less open space than rural areas, they are also hubs for innovation and entrepreneurial activity. Urban areas also often provide important habitat at a smaller scale.

Because urban economies present diverse combinations of incentives, competition, and choice, they encourage discovery. Whether applying lessons that reduce road congestion, debunking myths of recycling, studying the economic consequences of land-use regulations, or outlining ways that urban growth facilitates adaptation to climate change, PERC scholars examine how property rights and free markets will be paramount for adapting to our urban future.