John Logan

Director of Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4)
Professor of Sociology

Office: 209 Mencoff Hall
Tel: (401) 863-2267
Fax: (401) 863-3351


John R. Logan is Professor of Sociology and Director of the S4 initiative. He came to Brown University in Fall 2004, after 24 years at the University at Albany, where he served as Chair of the Department of Sociology, Director of the Lewis Mumford Center, and Director of the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis. Logan is co-author, along with Harvey Molotch, of Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place. His most recent edited book, Urban China in Transition, was published by Blackwell in 2007.

Logan is pursuing several different research projects. For several years he has been gathering data on neighborhood change and individual mobility in U.S. cities in the period 1880-1940. The webpage for Albany People and Neighborhoods shows the extraordinary amount of information that is available about neighborhoods, including historical maps, demographic characteristics of small areas, and lists of people who lived there. Another webpage, New York City History, reports on a project that has traced individual residents over time to see how their families, work, and neighborhoods changed between 1900 and 1920. His current work, the Urban Transition Historical GIS Project, focuses on mapping locations of residents in major cities in 1880 and 1940, using the full-count data of the decennial census in each year, a project supported by both NIH and NSF.

Another current project is a study of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast and the halting progress toward recovery in New Orleans. This study has now expanded to encompass all hurricanes on the Gulf Coast in the past 50 years, with an interest in both population/economic impacts and effects on the natural environment.  This work has been supported by NSF and NIH.

Since the early 1990s, Logan has also studied social change in China, focusing on how individuals, families, and communities have been affected by the transition from socialism to a mixed political economic system. In 1999, with eventual support from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, he organized the Urban China Research Network to stimulate more collaborative research across disciplines and strengthen ties among scholars in this area. His current work uses new surveys and 2000-2005 census data to study residential mobility and patterns of segregation in major cities.


Family, Immigration, Migration, Political sociology, Race and ethnicity, Spatial analysis, Urban sociology