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Robert E. Lang

Professor, Greenspun College of Urban Affairs

Director, Brookings Mountain West
Executive Director, The Lincy Institute at UNLV

Expertise: Economic Development, Urban Growth, Politics, Metropolitan Policy


Robert Lang is a nationally recognized authority on urban growth, economic development, and population dynamics, including the interplay between politics and growth in the American West. Lang is often called on by national business leaders and media to provide an understanding economic recovery in the west (including Nevada), what elements led to the region’s economic decline, and what it will take to bring it back.

His research specialties include suburban studies, real estate, demographic and spatial analysis, economic development, and metropolitan policy.

He has authored more than 150 academic and professional publications and has developed many new urban planning concepts such as "Boomburbs," "Edgeless Cities," and "Megapolitan Areas." His new book, Megapolitan America (American Planning Association), details the rise of megapolitan areas and how they will change how American plans. He is also a contributor to the new book America's New Swing Region (Brookings Institution Press), which examines the profound economic, political, and social changes that continue to reshape the Mountain West. Lang's research has been featured in numerous media outlets, including USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News.

Lang is a professor in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs and serves as the UNLV director of Brookings Mountain West and the executive director of The Lincy Institute at UNLV. He is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a fellow of the Urban Land Institute, both in Washington, D.C.

Lang earned a Ph.D. in urban sociology from Rutgers University.

Robert E. Lang In The News

Jul 17, 2017

Eight years ago, news outlets roundly declared that the Great Recession killed the Las Vegas dream, or at least mauled it. They described swaths of darkness in the Strip’s sea of lights, with unemployment and foreclosure rippling from an epicenter of stalled construction. Gaming and tourism took heavy losses as budgets tightened. The boomtown busted, and the state with it.

May 19, 2017

Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D-North Las Vegas) introduced Assembly Bill 407 earlier this session. The bill reorganizes the management of Cooperative Extension Services (CES) into two regions, with UNLV administering the Southern Region (Clark, Lincoln, and Nye Counties, which collectively constitute 75 percent of the state’s population) and UNR administering the Northern Region (comprised of the 14 northernmost counties). UNR currently runs CES throughout Nevada.

Apr 13, 2017

The latest Case-Shiller Home Price Index says Las Vegas has enjoyed 24 percent increase in prices over 2012. But that may not all be good news. What if the city is facing another housing bubble? What if this is destined to collapse again after another flurry of speculation? When is the time to buy?

Apr 13, 2017

Gerald Gardner, the governor’s chief of staff, told the Nevada Senate Finance Committee on June 2 that he “disagrees that there is disparity in the distribution of (highway) construction money (between Clark County and the rest of the state).” Rudy Malfabon, head of Nevada’s Department of Transportation, echoed this claim and submitted data that showed a rough parity based on taxes paid in the “state highway construction funds in the past five years.” These misleading statements suggest the appearance of equity in state road construction money, ignore huge disparities in highway maintenance funds and exclude massive expenditures of federal dollars.

Articles Featuring Robert E. Lang

Student at commencement
Jun 2, 2016
Campus News

A collection of recent news stories highlighting the people and programs of UNLV.

Nov 25, 2013
Social network analysis of 460 local nonprofits in health, social services and education reveals the organizations that “make things happen."