The City Leadership Lab convenes world-class academic scholarship, typically conducted in collaboration with public authorities, international organisations, the private sector and local SMEs to create a unique environment for urban experimentation, research, and policy advice. While the lab’s focus remains on globally-relevant city challenges, projects undertaken are practically oriented and very often locally-focused. We strive to engage a suite of challenge for urban policy and innovation, tackling pressing questions for city leadership and its underpinning governance, from 'smart' infrastructure, to the delivery of essential services, networking and international engagements, disaster resilience and innovation in urban strategies This distinct endeavour for applied urban research reflects the Lab’s desire to meet and unravel deeply embedded leadership constraints, with a view to re-imagining city leadership for the 21st century.

Current projects

Ellie Cosgrave, John Bingham-Hall, Luke Gregory-Jones
Linking dance and mobility? A pilot project connecting arts and engineering thinking on cities.

Jenny McArthur, Michele Acuto, Tommaso Dalla Favera, Francesca Artioli
Working with an EPSRC consortium to understand the (urban) governance of water food and energy in cities.


Enora Robin, Emilia Smeds, Jenny McArthur, Peter Hawking-Sach
International benchmarking of night-time policies in cities and analysis of transport provision for night-time workers.

Enora Robin, Clémentine Chazal

What urban evidence shapes responses to crises? STEaPP pilot aimed at learning from Cape Town's experience.

PhD research projects

Corina Kwami
How is water governed in cities? A project investigating
expanding access to safe, quality drinking water.


Paul Honeybone
EPSRC doctoral project investigating urban affordability in London and its wider environs.

Enora Robin
EPSRC doctoral project investigating the dynamics and politics of urban knowledge in large projects planning


Emilia Smeds
EPSRC doctoral project investigating the capacity of the local state to reconfigure urban infrastructure systems through experimentation.


Innovating in the built environment

Zoe Henderson
An Industrial CASE Partnership investigating how design philosophies contribute to sense-making as part of front-end decision-making in the construction sector, for large-scale urban projects.

Past projects

Analysing cities' information ecosystems and capacity for knowledge management, pump primed by STEaPP

A partnership with UN-Habitat and GCRO in Johannesburg assessing the roles of 'urban observatories' in policy.

Analysing knowledge use in green infrastructure decision-making in cities, in collaboration with the GCRO.

What is the role of informal systems in tackling disasters? In collaboration with Red Cross and World Bank 

Investigating the global role of city leadership in partnership with the UK's ESRC, UN-Habitat and the World Bank

A Marie-Curie fellowship on the role of universities as key urban development actors, funded by the European Union

Convening a technical working group with UN-Habitat linking smart city and urban safety innovation

Reviewing state & challenges for city leadership and city diplomacy for the Government Office for Science.

Assessing the knowledge architecture of Habitat III and the possibilities of an 'IP' for cities, funded by STEaPP

Supporting the Chilean Government's city leadership and business improvement districts programs, with FCO.

A Pivot book series for Palgrave Macmillan centred on cities & environmental politics. 

In partnership with ARUP and C40 Cities reviewing powers, barriers and impact of urban climate action.

Can cities learn from crisis? An EPSRC consortium analysing how to learn from shocks to the 'nexus' 

Can we look at engineering cities with a better gender 'lens'? A pilot project supported by STEaPP

A partnership with the WHO Healthy Cities network to encourage more strategic health diplomacy for cities.