The 21st century will be an urban century with more people around the world residing in metropolitan regions than in any other form of human settlement. This urbanization is taking place in both the global North and the global South. Its implications are widespread: from environmental challenges to entrenched patterns of segregation to new configurations of politics and social movements. The Global Metropolitan Studies Initiative is concerned with this urban condition. Bringing together numerous faculty, this multidisciplinary endeavor supports research and houses graduate and undergraduate curricula. It is one of a handful of "strategic" initiatives selected by the UC Berkeley campus to mark a new generation of scholarship and to consolidate an emerging academic field.