In 1967, we became the only UK university to award Martin Luther King an Honorary Degree. More than 50 years on, the legacy of Dr King's visit lies in social justice being a core value of our University running through all that we do.

Institute for Social Renewal

The Institute for Social Renewal exists to help individuals and communities thrive in turbulent times, and it contributes to this through teaching and ten research themes

The Institute acts as a facilitator and enabler, working with colleagues and students across the University in interdisciplinary ways. It also supports the networks of researchers both within the University and without.

Led by Professor Mark Shucksmith from our Global Urban Research Unit, the Institute's priorities are to:

  • lead public debates in the understanding and practice of social renewal
  • champion the University's commitment to advance education, learning and research
  • engage in high-quality research and scholarship to inform policy and practice
  • build relationships to improve the effectiveness of social renewal
Professor Mark Shucksmith leads the Institute for Social Renewal

Smart cities and Inequality

Research from the Spatial Analytics and Modelling (SAM) group, the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) and the Urban Observatory is investigating spatial inequities in sensor deployment and coverage in the Smart City. It focuses on the identification of coverage gaps and investigates how such gaps are associated with locations of vulnerable populations. The work is led by Prof Rachel Franklin as part of her work as a Fellow of The Alan Turing Institute.

Relocal Project

We are one of 12 partners in the Relocal Project - Resituating the Local in Cohesion and Territorial Development. It investigates the potential contributions and limitations of place-based approaches for social justice, solidarity, territorial cohesion and sustainable development.

Funded through the EU Horizon 2020 programme, 33 case studies constitute the empirical core of the project. Each case study considers different policy environments that characterise the European Union, and five different welfare themes.

Ali Madanipour, Professor of Urban Design, is part of the Relocal project team.

Uneven Growth: Tackling city decline

Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a team from our School of Geography, Politics and Sociology examined the challenges faced by 74 cities that are struggling to balance changes in employment, migration and population.
While city growth is a key concern of UK economic policy, this report showed that some cities are falling behind national trends and suggested policies to ensure growth is spread more equally across UK cities.