Cities Research

Making evidence-based sustainable development in urban areas a reality

We undertake a wide variety of world leading research in cities and smart infrastructure. Our work spans Economy, Environment, Health, Heritage, Governance, Justice and Infrastructure.  

City laboratory

Newcastle upon Tyne and the surrounding area is being transformed into an at-scale living laboratory. Our vision is to make evidence-based sustainable development in urban areas a reality. This is being achieved by establishing a long term and transformative process that integrates monitoring, simulation and visualisations to be used by urban decision makers and communities to design sustainable urban futures.

The initial focus is upon the 10Ha £350m/US$0.5bn Newcastle Helix site. A partnership between Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council, and Legal & General, the site has been transformed through a period of demolition, urban coal mining, groundworks and now construction, taking shape as the UK's biggest urban development site outside London.

Co-creation and decision making

In addition to physical and digital infrastructure, our Newcastle City Futures programme is a collaborative platform for urban design and spatial planning, land use, historic and contemporary urban change, and community participation in places. It has now levered in £10m into Newcastle and Gateshead, across 50 projects with 170 partners. Newcastle City Futures is a Research Councils UK and Innovate UK Urban Living Partnership (ULP) pilot project that seeks to find solutions to the opportunities and problems of today and tomorrow. 

Full scale experiments

The £58m Urban Sciences Building incorporates 4000 sensors affording high resolution analysis at a building scale. 

It is also a hub for our work as part of UKCRIC – the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities – hosting the National Green Infrastructure Facility, the National Centre for Energy Systems Integrationinfrastructure experiments, and the Urban Observatory. 

The Urban Observatory is one of the biggest open, real-time urban datasets in the world. More than 50 data types are being collected and made open access to 700 million data points and growing at approximately 15 observations per second.

The award winning Urban Sciences Building includes more than 4000 sensors.

Developing countries

We are committed to working across national borders and academic disciplines to help address the development challenges facing the world today. 

We've built a long history of research excellence with a purpose. Working with valued partners to combine our cutting edge research and experience - making a difference to the lives of people in need across the globe. 

Our Global Challenges Academy fosters research and partnerships to help realise the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly where solutions are most urgently needed.