In 2009, UNLV and the Brookings Institution established Brookings Mountain West, a unique partnership that draws on the expertise of Brookings Scholars and UNLV faculty to address policy, infrastructure, and quality of life challenges facing the Mountain West states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Originating from Brookings Metro’s work assisting metropolitan regions like Las Vegas (developed in robust, inclusive, and sustainable ways), Brookings Mountain West has played a leading role in shaping economic development and diversification efforts in Southern Nevada and beyond. Since its inception, the initiative has evolved to include the Brookings Public Policy minor and projects such as Las Vegas and the Middle Class and the Data Hub.

About Dr. Robert E. Lang, Our Founding Executive Director

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Dr. Robert E. Lang (May 28, 1959 - June 21, 2021) served as the founding executive director of The Lincy Institute and Brookings Mountain West from 2010 until his passing in June 2021. During his tenure at UNLV, Dr. Lang worked to build a more inclusive, diverse, and resilient economy in Southern Nevada. Among the projects that he championed and helped bring to fruition are the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV, Allegiant Stadium, and Interstate 11. He also knew how exceptional UNLV is and was devoted to elevating the university’s research profile, including its classification as a Carnegie “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” institution. In recognition of Dr. Lang’s contributions to the university and the state of Nevada, he was named the inaugural Lincy Endowed Chair in Urban Affairs in 2019.

Before coming to UNLV, Dr. Lang held academic, research, and leadership positions at a number of institutions. While pursuing his doctorate in urban sociology and planning, Dr. Lang was the director of urban and metropolitan research at the Fannie Mae Foundation where he was editor of the journal Housing Policy Debate. After earning his Ph.D. from Rutgers University, Dr. Lang was director of urban affairs and planning at the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. Concurrently, he was a resident senior fellow in the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. Among his many solo and co authored publications are Edgeless Cities: Exploring the Elusive Metropolis, Boomburbs: The Rise of America’s Accidental Cities, Megapolitan America, and Blue Metros, Red States: The Shifting Urban Rural Divide in America’s Swing States.

Dr. Lang's Time at UNLV

Dr. Lang’s profound love for urban policy led him to teach undergraduate and graduate courses on topics such as urban studies, affairs, and planning. At UNLV, he helped to launch the Brookings Public Policy minor. A well-regarded professor in the masters and doctoral program in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, Dr. Lang was granted emeritus status in the School of Public Policy & Leadership at UNLV.

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Remembering Dr. Lang

Dr. Lang served UNLV, Southern Nevada, and the state of Nevada with distinction and dedication. We invite you to learn more about Dr. Lang’s impact through our celebration of life video and the news articles below. Please also consider donating to the Robert E. Lang Memorial Fellowship established in 2022 to honor Dr. Lang’s contributions to the advancement of urban and suburban public policy.