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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

Feb 27, 2017

The 18,000-acre Apex Industrial Park could be a catalyst for bringing more “innovative” companies and manufacturing operations to Southern Nevada, adding to a tenant list that includes Faraday Future and Hyperloop One.

Feb 24, 2017

Is Southern Nevada once again on the short end of the stick when it comes to state spending on capital projects? The answer depends on who you ask. More than 70 percent of Nevada's population lives in the south, and while Clark County generates about 80 percent of the state's revenue, it gets far less than that when the budget is sliced and diced.

Feb 13, 2017

The controversy surrounding Obamacare continues. Local economists are planning for a time without the Affordable Care Act as President Donald Trump made its repeal one of his campaign promises.

Feb 3, 2017

Nevada could be hurt by the more confrontational approach to China promised by the Trump administration, but the state could benefit by increases in infrastructure spending, according to a pair of Brookings Institution scholars.

Articles Featuring Robert E. Lang

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."