Life in cities and regions is built upon, and can only prosper in the future, with well-functioning infrastructures. Core to these are those that ensure people's access to food, water and energy, and maintain their flow, and that of waste, functional and sustainable. Yet can local governments control, shape and orient these ‘vital systems’ way their citizens require them to? The purpose of this research is to better understand the urban governance of these infrastructures, starting from an assessment of the ‘governability grip’ on the integrated oversight and management of infrastructure in cities, and expanding into a systematic assessment of the urban governance of nexus infrastructures.

The project is developed by the UCL City Leadership Lab at UCL STEaPP with support from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as part of the £1.4 million “WEFWEBs” Project (EP/N005600/1) with the University of Glasgow, Imperial College London, University of Exeter, University of Oxford, Newcastle University, University of Cambridge, Rothamsted Research and the Lab at UCL. The WEFWEBs project examines the data and evidence around the water, energy and food systems (including social, economic, political, institutional and environmental components) and their interactions and dependencies within the local, regional and national scales.


The application of the “Governability Grip” methodology has also been supported by an EPSRC Impact Accelerator Award (EP/K503745/1) provided to the Lab by the UCL Office of the Vice-Provost (Enterprise).

2012 EU-China Mayors' Forum © Committee of the Regions

Project Team