The Urban Living strategic theme focuses on what it means to live healthy, sustainable, prosperous and connected lives in urban environments (i.e. towns and cities). This recognises the challenges, opportunities and threats associated with a growing tendency for people to live and work in such environments.

Aims and objectives

  • Identify, coordinate and promote research and innovation being undertaken across the University which falls under the Urban Living umbrella
  • Identify areas of strength and opportunities for developing new areas of research and innovation that could differentiate the University of Surrey from other universities
  • Horizon scan and share funding trends and opportunities in the field of urban living
  • Foster a collaborative internal research culture in the field of urban living
  • Showcase our expertise and provide a platform for external engagement and impact generation.

Key pillars

Our Urban Living research theme has four key pillars (or sub-themes) that recognise areas of research strength at the University, and map to key UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This pillar concerns the ability of urban centres to respond to and recover from ‘shock’ events or disturbances (e.g. flooding, social unrest, etc.), and to adapt and transform in the face of current and future threats and opportunities. In particular, the pillar considers how resilience can be engendered in built and digital infrastructures/networks; and how social resilience and cohesion can be fostered through governance and leadership.

This pillar concerns the physical and mental health and/or wellbeing impacts associated with living and working in urban environments. In particular, the pillar considers internal and external environmental quality (e.g. air and water quality; lighting/access to daylight, etc.); and provision and access to healthcare services and social support.

This pillar concerns aspects associated with accessing urban centres, moving around them and gaining access to their services and products (e.g. road and rail infrastructure, public transport provision, etc.) In particular, the pillar considers advances in low-carbon, shared and/or active transport options (e.g. electric/autonomous vehicles; Mobility as a Service) and affiliate policies and infrastructure (e.g. EV charging technologies).

This pillar concerns how urban societies can flourish in the face of ecological and resource constraints, e.g. how towns and cities can be sustainably resourced, how sustainable practices can be encouraged, and how inclusive communities can be created. In particular, the pillar considers how production, supply and consumption cycles can be decarbonised among different groups and in different sectors (e.g. hospitality and tourism; domestic housing); and how institutional structures and organisations can be modified to foster equality and opportunity.

Research in this area

You can find out more about the research we are working on around urban living through our projects and research champions.

Contact us

  • Phone: +44 (0)1483 683742

Find us

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Research and Innovation Services
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University of Surrey