Global Urban Research Unit

Infrastructure and Digital Technologies

Infrastructure and Digital Technologies


Research in this theme, in keeping with work in GURU more generally, unites a diverse range of work by being concerned with a politics of infrastructure supply and demand.

This theme specifically considers how infrastructures can contribute to more just societies. Infrastructures include:

  • transport
  • digital
  • food
  • other critical infrastructures

In recent years we have witnessed the emergence of a huge literature concerned with the following ideas:

  • smart city
  • digital civics
  • big data
  • social urbanism
  • the sharing economy
  • urban science

Much of this suggests that many of the seemingly intractable problems of urban living across the globe can be solved by recourse to various technological fixes.

We intend to produce a programme of conceptual and empirical research that will provide a robust and critical corrective to some of the powerful claims made in such discourses.  

The theme leader is Geoff Vigar.


Find out what we're currently working on, and projects we've completed.


Find out which members of staff are involved in this research theme.

Professor Roger Burrows
Professor of Cities


Dr Paul Cowie
Faculty Research Fellow

Telephone: 0191 2083593

Dr Andrew Donaldson
Senior Lecturer and Director of Postgraduate Research

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5806

Dr Diego Garcia Mejuto
Lecturer in Urban Planning, Degree Programme Director of BA (Hons) Geography and Planning

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8389

Professor Stephen Graham
Professor of Cities and Society

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8579

Dr Ruth Machen
Postdoctoral Fellow in Spatial Planning

Telephone: 0191 208 8819

Dr Jane Midgley
Director of Research, Reader in Urban Social and Economic Practice

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6807

Dr Sebastian Weise
Lecturer in Digital Civics

Telephone: +44 191 20 87175

Dr Georgiana Varna
Lecturer in Planning and Urbanism

Telephone: 0044 (0)1912085647

Dr Loes Veldpaus
Senior Research Associate


Professor Geoff Vigar
Deputy Head of School

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8338

Dr Sebastian Weise
Lecturer in Digital Civics

Telephone: +44 191 20 87175