Minneapolis-St. Paul

Center for Urban and Regional Affairs

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University of Minnesota

Jeffrey Matson, Associate Program Director

The Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota is an applied research and technical assistance center that connects faculty and students with community organizations and public institutions working on local and state policy issues. CURA works across disciplinary lines and professional boundaries, creating new programs and supporting projects that meet needs that no one else is meeting. Its staff leverages resources by collaborating closely with the constituents that it serves: nonprofit organizations, ethnic and racial minority groups, businesses, rural towns, inner-city neighborhoods, suburban communities, local governments, and state agencies.

In a typical year, CURA may work on as many as 125 projects that involve 25 or 30 faculty and 80 or 90 students from institutions of higher education throughout the Twin Cities. These faculty and student projects may involve as many as 10 state agencies, 12 to 15 local government agencies, and more than 80 community organizations. CURA experiments with and nurtures new ideas. If they grow and flourish, they can be "spun off" to find a new supportive home or to stand alone.

CURA's Neighborhood Planning for Community Revitalization (NPCR) unit supports neighborhood organizations and community development corporations involved in neighborhood-based revitalization by providing student research assistants and faculty researchers to carry out neighborhood-initiated and neighborhood-guided projects. NPCR provides approximately 200 hours of student time to work on a project defined by the community (260 hours during the summer).

CURA's community GIS work began with the development of Minneapolis Neighborhood Information System (MNIS), a collaborative capacity-building effort intended to meet the needs of community-based organizations by providing access to a wide range of data that can inform community revitalization efforts and housing intervention and investment strategies. This project partnered with the City of Minneapolis and was funded in part by a major Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) grant at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

CURA also provides technical GIS assistance to Twin Cities community organizations and to students working on projects for these organizations.

Key Data and Information Partners:
Twin Cities Compass
451 Lexington Parkway North
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
[email protected]
Metropolitan Council / MetroGIS
390 Robert Street North
Saint Paul, MN 55101
[email protected]


Wilder Research is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit research and evaluation groups dedicated to practical research in the field of human services. From our offices in Saint Paul, Minnesota, we work with more than 100 organizations each year to study the effectiveness of their services and to understand trends and issues that affect their work. Our Twin Cities Compass website developed, in cooperation with the Itasca Project, tracks topics that impact quality of life in the Twin Cities, including civic engagement, early childhood, economy and workforce, education, health, housing, public safety and transportation. Because disparities among different groups can create significant challenges to regional progress, Twin Cities Compass includes trend data by race, place, age, gender and income whenever possible.

The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning agency serving the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area and providing essential services to the region. The Council provides transit, wastewater collection and treatment, affordable housing, and other services in addition to its planning function. The Council provides online access to data and reports about the region and its municipal components. It also provide online mapping of much of this data. In addition, the Council is a major supporter of MetroGIS, a regional data sharing organization, and its DataFinder services that provides online access to much GIS data.

C Terrence Anderson
Director, Community-Based Research Programs
lee guekguezian
Community Based Research Programs Coordinator
Jeffrey Matson
Associate Program Director


November 2020
A team of researchers from CURA will produce a study of the potential impacts of a rent stabilization policy for the City of Minneapolis. The study will examine market trends and... [read more]
May 2019
Single Black mothers face the highest risk of evictions in the United States. In Hennepin County, close to 50% of all eviction filings take place in two zip codes in North Minneapolis, despite... [read more]


November 9, 2023
Blog post - By: Samuel David, Mabindra Regmi

Center for Urban and Regional Affairs

Blog Post
November 9, 2023
Meeting Materials - By: National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership

Institute for Housing Studies , Center for Urban and Regional Affairs

Framing page
October 18, 2022
Report - By: Edward G. Goetz, Yi Wang, Anthony Damiano

Center for Urban and Regional Affairs


Partner Webinars

December 31, 1969

Idea Showcases are 5 minute opportunities to highlight or talk about the great work our organizations are doing. We had a great line up for this showcase!  The Boston Indicators... [read more]

Presenters Trevor Mattos, Boston Indicators, Jeff Matson, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, Jeff Williams, Community Data &, Research Lab at the Johnson Center
May 22, 2014 - 1:00pm

... [read more]

Presenters Leah Hendey, Rob Pitingolo, Kathy Pettit, Bob Gradeck, Jeff Matson, Greg Sanders, Aaron Schill, Eleanor Tutt, Mingming Zhang