Safer Smarter Cities is a joint initiative of the City Leadership Lab and UN-Habitat in collaboration with UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities, the United Nations Global Network of Safer Cities (GNSC), the European Forum for Urban Security to unpack the productive overlaps and disruptive frictions between the "safe", "smart" and "sustainable" city agendas.

The Lab leads research in the GNSC's UN-Habitat Technical Working Group (TWG) on Safer and Smarter Cities, which is focused on understanding urban safety, its challenges and possibilities, in the information age.


The project involves a study aimed at identifying trends and commonalities in a selected pool of major international cities drawn from major city networks, key strategic orientations, inter-city connections, and gaps for further capacity building. In its first stage (2015) the research focused on highlighting touch points, development opportunities and conflicts/barriers between  the “smart”, “safer” and “sustainable” city agendas that are now commonly discussed in the Habitat III process and applied in cities the world over. In its second phase (2016) the project focused on identifying best practices and challenging contexts for safer-smarter initiatives, opening the debate not just within the working group but also in collaboration with external stakeholders, tackling for instance smart safety questions for women and girls at a side event of the Habitat III conference in Quito (October 2016) in collaboration with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. 


The TWG offers a chance for cross-disciplinary and academia-policy collaborations, as well as for direct industry-city networks cooperation.

Project Team

2016 Working Group Report

Safer Smarter Cities: Understanding Urban Safety in the Information Age


a Research Brief for Habitat III and the UN-Habitat Working Group on Safer and Smarter Cities  

download it here

2015 Working Group Report

Smarter, Safer and Sustainable Cities: Complementary or competing agenda?


a Research Brief for the UN Global Network of Safer Cities steering committee and UN-Habitat Working Group on Safer and Smarter Cities 

download it here