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Cities and Place

We are developing innovative solutions to expand social and economic opportunities, for a better quality of life for all.

Building sustainable communities 

As our world’s population increases, our communities grow, develop, and change at pace.   

This brings with it many challenges, from overcrowding and pressured infrastructures, to issues with resources and quality of living. The need to preserve green and natural spaces for the benefit of both communities and our environment is key in a world which is using resource so intensively. 

The rising cost of living is a challenge for many, impacting on lifestyles and life expectancies within communities. Disparities between the better and the worse off continue to grow, bringing health and wellbeing issues as well as impacting on social and economic opportunities. 

Maintenance of law and democracy continues to be a global issue. There is considerable concern around integrity of politics as well as full blown conflict situations.  

The economic and social legacies of the past create a challenge for our communities of the future.  

We are helping to build sustainable communities and living environments, for the benefit of all.  

Meet Lucy and Jenny, who live on a ‘Play Street’

Meet Lucy and Jenny who live on a Play Street.

Professor Alison Stenning’s research explores how streets and communities are transformed by playing out regularly. This is at a time that the number of safe, public spaces where children and young people can play in their own neighbourhoods has declined rapidly.

Her research shows that an increase in the number of resident-led play streets can reduce loneliness and lead to greater community cohesion. This is developing and changing relationships on and with the streets.

Watch Lucy and Jenny's film and discover their story.

Interdisciplinary research: from founding to future

Our University was originally founded to educate pioneers of the industrial revolution and address social challenges like public health. 

This founding ethos remains ingrained in our institution today. It influences both what we research and how we operate.

Embracing an interdisciplinary place-based approach, we collaborate with many partners to: 

  • understand and benefit society 
  • enhance the economic, health and cultural wellbeing of the places where we operate 
  • discover and share knowledge and practice to enable sustainable development around the world

We build impactful partnerships across business, education, government and communities. 

Engagement and place 

Our Engagement and Place Strategy focusses on improving the economy, health, social wellbeing and cultural richness of the places in which we operate.

Our engagement activities are wide ranging. We work closely with businesses, voluntary groups and the creative sector. We influence policy and are involved in public engagement in its many forms. Our student placements are across sectors, and across regions, countries, and nations.  

At Newcastle University, we see the contribution we can make economically, socially and culturally as core to our purpose. We want to work with our staff, students and partners to maximise the positive impact we can achieve locally and globally.

Professor Jane Robinson

Pro-Vice Chancellor, Engagement and Place

Our partnerships 

We work with partners to provide creative solutions to world-wide challenges. We’re committed to driving solutions to current and future challenges through collaboration. Our global partnerships deliver education, experiences and research that embrace a global outlook.  

Proud of our regional roots, we are committed to making a positive impact in the North East of England. Our work with regional partners includes place-based policy making and research, creative practice and public engagement, and supporting business growth and innovation.   

Sustainable development and social justice 

Our high performance in global rankings highlights our dedication to sustainable development. We rank in the top 100 in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2024. We are joint 30th in the world and 10th in the UK in the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024.  

We’re committed to social justice in all that we do. We work locally, nationally and internationally with many different external organisations and groups, and across the University, to achieve social justice.  

Discover how we’re working together to create a fairer and more just society.  

Company creation 

Each year we create new high-tech, innovative companies. We identify and spin out commercial and not-for-profit activities from our world class research. We are proud to create sustainable companies and high quality jobs in our region. 

Farrell Centre  

The Farrell Centre is our public centre for architecture and cities in Newcastle. Its mission is to widen the debate around the crucial roles that architecture and planning play in the contemporary world. 

The centre opened in Spring 2023, is admission free and offers a variety of experiences for visitors of all ages.  

Alongside temporary exhibitions, it contains three Urban Rooms exploring how architecture and planning have shaped the Newcastle and Tyneside of today and the roles they can play in reimagining it for tomorrow.  

Learn more about the Farrell Centre and why we’ve created Urban Rooms for Newcastle.   

Every city needs a place where people can come together to debate its future.

Sir Terry Farrell

Leading UK Architect-Planner, Newcastle University Alumnus

Sustainable urban regeneration 

We play a leading role in two of Newcastle’s biggest urban regeneration schemes.  

Newcastle Helix is a state-of-the-art city centre innovation district. Its focus is on data science, urban science, and life science. It combines prestigious commercial and residential space with first-class research and education facilities.  

We’re developing the world’s first Health Innovation Neighbourhood. Working with partners, we’re expanding upon our world-leading ageing research to provide innovative solutions for living, leisure, learning, and employment.