Future Cities

Bringing together researchers and industry partners to tackle the next global challenges to community health and urban wellbeing.

We are working with industry partners, NGOs and researchers from around the globe to tackle the great challenges posed by our growing global cities.

More than half the world’s population now live in urban areas. According to UN estimates, this is set to grow to two-thirds by 2050.

Urban-led change must be grounded in understandings of interventions within complex systems. We are working to advance a research agenda that addresses the fundamental challenges of urban wellbeing and community health.

From heating and energy transition, to clean transport and buried infrastructures, our research is improving the lives of those living and working in urban environments.

The Centre for Urban Wellbeing  draws together research across many areas, including physical, social and mental wellbeing, ageing, behaviour change, political and cultural economic theory, environmental and health sciences, digital technologies, historical and literary investigations on embodiment, compassion and care, and urban planning and infrastructures. This research provides new insight into the ways in which we live in and interact with our urban environment, and will help ensure that local solutions can be shaped by the best-informed global research and evidence.

Infrastructure Engineering research at Birmingham focuses on sustainability and resilience in utility service provision, underground space usage, geotechnical processes and urban engineering.  

We are founding partners of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC). Our National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF) is part of UKCRIC and a centre of excellence supporting next generational design and the construction, operation and maintenance of the complex and interdependent systems needed to support civilised life in rapidly-changing urban contexts. 

Novel approaches to the design of cities are needed to improve public health and wellbeing. Collaborative projects with industry such as Low Carbon Smart Pipes have the potential for a significant step-change in helping the construction sector achieve Government decarbonisation targets.

Thorough and effective ideas are needed to make urban environments more inclusive, safe, resilient, active and sustainable, to reduce inequalities and to promote good health and wellbeing. The Covid-19 pandemic has only served to highlight existing inequalities and the need to rethink how urban living can be re-designed to better protect and promote the health and wellbeing of its communities.

Dr Jessica Pykett

Dr Jessica Pykett

Centre for Urban Wellbeing Academic Lead

Meet our researchers

Discover more

  • Centre for Urban Wellbeing

    The Centre for Urban Wellbeing brings together academics from across the University of Birmingham to tackle global challenges to community health and wellbeing.

  • Birmingham Heroes

    Professor David Chapman talks sustainable cities

  • Quest

    How can storing heat help to decarbonise energy systems?

  • Resilient Cities

    Resilient Cities at the Institute for Global Innovation