About us

The UCL City Leadership Laboratory brings together world-class academic scholarship, public authorities, international organisations, the private sector and local SMEs to create a unique environment for urban experimentation, research, teaching and – most importantly – action.


The Lab builds on three years of projects, grants and activities of the City Leadership Initiative. A joint effort of the World Bank Group and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), with funding from the UK Government's Economic and Social Research (ESRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPSRC) Research Councils. Over the past three years the Lab employed over 30 researchers across more than 12 projects and 20 policy and impact oriented partnerships with key urban and international stakeholders like the World Health Organisation, ARUP, C40 Cities and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


Whilst the main goal of the Lab is to tackle globally relevant city challenges, the projects undertaken are practically oriented and often locally focused. This distinct endeavour for applied inquiry reflects the Lab’s desire to meet and unravel constraints on leadership, with a view to re-imagining city leadership for the 21st century. See ‘Focus Areas’ for information on our work with key urban stakeholders.

The Lab is based within UCL’s policy-focused Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP) and has links across UCL’s network of urban research and practice. 

Learn more about STEaPP here.