The Urban History Association was founded in Cincinnati in 1988 for the purpose of stimulating interest and forwarding research and study in the history of the city in all periods and geographical areas. It is affiliated with the International Planning History Society.

Looking down Seventeenth Street from Larimer Street, Denver Colorado, 1884
Courtesy of The Denver Public Library, Western History Department

The charter membership of the association was 264. Today the association includes over 475 members world wide. While the majority of members are from the United States and Canada, the association also includes members from Austria, Australia, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Our ranks, besides a preponderance of college and university faculty, include architects, archivists, civil servants, editors, independent scholars, museum professionals, planner, public historians, and secondary school teachers. Though most of our members are urban historians who study the history of the city in the United States and Canada, the association has made a particular effort to reach scholars and professionals whose interests lie outside of North American history. In addition, the association welcomes scholars from any field who are interested in the history of the city in any period and geographical area. Besides urban history, our members includes individuals from a variety of other fields in history, including planning, architectural, social or cultural, ethnic, African-American, Native-American, economic, political, military, and western history. Our membership also includes scholars from the fields of American studies, sociology, women's studies, ethnic studies, urban planning, material culture, literature, demography, museum studies, historic preservation, architecture, journalism, ethnic studies, anthropology, and political science.

The presidents of the association have been Richard C. Wade/ CUNY Graduate and Research Center (1989); Sam Bass Warner, Jr./Brandeis University (1990); Zane L. Miller/University of Cincinnati (1991); Samuel P. Hays/University of Pittsburgh (1992); Lynn Hollen Lees/ University of Pennsylvania (1993); Kenneth T. Jackson/ Columbia University (1994); Carl Abbott/Portland State University (1995); and David R. Goldfield/University of North Carolina, Charlotte (1996); Raymond Mohl/University of Alabama at Birmingham (1997); Eric Monkkonen/ University of California-Los Angeles (1998); Joel Tarr/Carnegie-Melon University (1999), Gilbert Stelter, University of Guelph, Canada (2000) and Lizabeth Cohen/ Harvard University (2001); Ann Durkin Keating/North Central College (2002); Robert Fishman/University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (2003); and Kathleen Neils Conzen/University of Chicago (2004); Roger Lotchin/University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill (2005); Michael Katz/University of Pennsylvania (2006); Arnold Hirsch/University of New Orleans (2007); Martin Melosi/University Houston (2008); Michael Ebner/Lake Forest College (2009);Dolores Hayden/Yale University (2010); Jon Teaford/Purdue University (2011-2012).

Main and Requena Streets, Los Angeles
Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkley

The Association supports a variety of activities to enhance the visibility of the study of the history of the city. The Association has published the Urban History Newsletter each year in March and October since 1989. The newsletter includes articles of interest about the activities of members of the association, reports on conference attended by member so the association, conference announcements, member milestone and news, reports on research in progress, teaching, and museum exhibits, as well as news on the activities of the association. The association launched its first biennial urban history conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 26-28, 2002. Since 1990 the Association has awarded annual prizes for the best book in North American urban history and the best dissertation and best article in urban history from the previous year. Every two years it award a prize for the best book in non-North American history. Members receive discounted subscriptions to the Journal of Urban History, Planning Perspectives (UK), and Urban History (UK). The Association also maintains a presence on the internet. It has an official website for members which features back issues of the newsletter, links to H-Urban, links to other urban history web sites, syllabi exchanges, conference announcement and news. 

The Urban History Association's holds an annual lunch, featuring a distinguished speaker, and/or reception during the meeting of the Organization of American Historians.