Imagine that our city is a patient who needs immediate surgery. Physicians diagnose problems and perform an incision to remedy the damage. Recent surgery of contemporary cities has undergone an ironic process: some municipalities have initiated and financed large-scale property developments, while as a result a permanent loss of affordable homes, innovative jobs, and places of diversity and everyday lives took place in a number of places. The complexity and uncertainty of urban design increasingly characterizes contemporary city making, including emergent fields like urban regeneration, post-disaster recovery, and more broadly, a call for “normative studies” of urban design. Our research group, titled Urban Studies and Design Lab, will attempt to respond to the following issues: What are a set of normative rationales that we perceive and appreciate good cities? What are the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the patterns of the built environment? How does a city influenced by economic downturns (e.g., shrinking cities) or environmental disasters (e.g., post-disaster recovery) rapidly recover and restore to a norm(s)? What is the adaptable city and how can we make it? These issues will be studied through critical research collaboration, collective reading, design practices, mapping, quantitative analyses, and related publications in the group.