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Our research

Urban Innovation and Policy 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 challenges for urban policy and innovation, tackling pressing questions for cities, from 'smart' infrastructure, to the delivery of essential services, networking and international engagements, disaster resilience and innovation in urban strategies. 

Current projects


Linking dance and mobility? A pilot project connecting arts and engineering thinking on cities.

Urban Observatories


Evaluating the governance of the urban night in London, including transport  for night workers and a global review of case studies.

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


Climate action is not gender-neutral. This project explores how policy makers can drive  inclusive climate mitigation.

Past projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A discussion on the ways of understanding "global cities" in collaboration with Griffith University.

City Diplomacy

A review of the challenges and trend in city networking and diplomacy, shaping how cities engage externally.

Working with an EPSRC consortium studying the governance of water, food and energy systems in cities.

Analysing cities' information ecosystems and capacity for knowledge management, funded by STEaPP.

Situating the New Urban University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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