Michael E. Smith is an archaeologist who researches the societies in ancient central Mexico and comparative urbanism.
He has directed fieldwork projects at numerous sites in the provinces of the Aztec empire in central Mexico. He now focuses on the study of urban life, society, inequality and prosperity at the ancient city of Teotihuacan.
Smith’s work on comparative and transdisciplinary research on urbanism has developed since his arrival at ASU in 2005. By analyzing ancient cities using concepts and methods from contemporary urban studies, Smith is exploring the similarities and differences among cities throughout history and around the world. Neighborhoods, wealth inequality, the provision of urban services and patterns of scaling regularities are among the few urban universals, and Smith is part of several transdisciplinary research groups addressing these topics.