Global Challenges Academy



Inspiring cities to be inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

Research in cities at Newcastle University is meeting urban challenges for sustainability. We are helping cities:

  • be resilient to environmental change
  • embrace technologies for social benefit
  • harness new opportunities for business and innovation
  • be age friendly, accessible and sustainable
  • improve the health and well-being of city dwellers

Researchers are forging dynamic collaborations and non-traditional partnerships for tackling ‘wicked problems’ that all cities face, such as social deprivation, poverty, mortality and climate change. They are working on ways to not only make cities smart and socially inclusive through interdisciplinary programmes that combine university research, business, civil society and governance.

By developing innovative ways to integrate infrastructure for energy, water, food and waste systems, we are making cities low-carbon, ecological, resource efficient and just places to live.

Newcastle University is leading large research projects and initiatives working with:

  • communities
  • local authorities
  • national governments
  • industry

These provide a wide range of benefits to urban society by understanding how cities evolve and how places undergo the transition to rapid urbanisation. Our research addresses global challenges for cities, including ageing populations, reducing cities’ carbon footprint and air pollution, and tackling social inequalities in health and unemployment.

Examples of how Newcastle University researchers are making a difference for cities:

  • researching future homes that are adaptable and exportable to a range of urban and regional contexts
  • developing affordable and effective interventions for reducing air pollution
  • exploring how justice and fairness affects people’s everyday lives in cities
  • demonstrating ways to prepare cities for climate change
  • urban ‘living labs’ for testing and monitoring sustainability interventions in cities that combine social and technological approaches


Our projects 

Featured projects on Cities:


Our partners

  • Indian Institutes of Technology of Madras and Bombay
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • ARUP
  • Siemens
  • Foresight Future of Cities Research Network
  • Regional Studies Association


Our staff 

Professor Phil Blythe
Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Transport

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7935

Professor Roger Burrows
Professor of Cities

Telephone: +44(0)191 208 6070

Dr Lynne Corner
Director of Engagement

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 1309

Professor Simin Davoudi
Professor of Environmental Policy & Planning, Director of GURU

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6809

Professor Richard Dawson
Professor of Earth System Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6618

Professor Pauline Dixon
Professor International Development and Education

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5047

Professor Lynn Frewer
Professor of Food & Society

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8272

Professor Rose Gilroy
Professor of Ageing, Policy & Planning

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7864

Professor Stephanie Glendinning
Professor of Civil Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6612

Professor Stephen Graham
Professor of Cities and Society

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8579

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6563

Philip James
Senior Lecturer in GIS

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6388

Dr Jennine Jonczyk
Researcher in Water Resources

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8599

Dr Anil Namdeo
Senior Lecturer in Air Quality Management

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8486

Professor Patrick Olivier
Professor of Human-Computer Interaction

Telephone: +447813951637

Dr Roberto Palacin
Rail Systems Group Lead and Degree Program Director for Mechanical & Systems Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6829

Professor John Pendlebury
Professor of Urban Conservation

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6810

Professor Mark Tewdwr-Jones
Professor of Town Planning and Director of Newcastle City Futures

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 86020

Professor Tim Townshend
Deputy Head of School

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7814

Dr Paul Vallance
Research Associate

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 4480

Professor Paul Watson
FREng, Director of the Digital Institute, Professor of Computer Science

Telephone: +44 191 208 4148

Tom Zunder
Rail Freight & Logistics Research Manager and Principal Research Associate

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3975


Read and download our publications:

  • Improving the prediction of air pollution peak episodes generated by urban transport networks (2016), Environmental Science and Policy.

    Date Published: June 2016 Read more
  • How do cities support electric vehicles and what difference does it make? (2017), Technological Forecasting and Social Change

    Date Published: October 2017 Read more
  • Biodiversity in the City: Fundamental Questions for Understanding the Ecology of Urban Green Spaces for Biodiversity Conservation (2017), Bioscience.

    Date Published: 9 August 2017 Read more
  • Alternative business models for flood risk management infrastructure (2016), 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management (FLOODrisk 2016)

    Date Published: 20 October 2016 Read more
  • Urban planning, public participation and digital technology: App development as a method of generating citizen involvement in local planning processes( 2017), Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science

    Date Published: 5 June 2017 Read more