Sustainable Cities

Our researchers are helping cities better balance economic, social and environmental needs and investigating how to re-engineer urban environments so that they are more liveable and resilient to major challenges.

With a growing global urban population and a rise in extreme weather events due to global warming, it is vitally important that we find new ways to manage our urban environments.

We are applying our engineering expertise to the major challenges facing cities. These include visible challenges, such as congestion, as well as developing new techniques for managing less visible aspects of city life, such as buried water pipes, which are of critical importance to the smooth functioning of cities.

Our researchers are also investigating ways to re-engineer our urban environments in ways that support people to thrive. For example, more efficient utilisation of the space under our feet creates opportunities to free up the surface for green corridors for walking, cycling and relaxation.

Our researchers are focused on:

  • Combining the principles of sustainability and resilience into urban planning processes so that cities can become more sustainable, resilient, smart, and liveable.
  • Taking a long-term approach to the development of infrastructure systems so that they continue to meet the needs of cities decades and even up to hundreds of years into the future.
  • Participating in the University Global Goals initiative, investigating sustainable cities and communities and smart sensors for water leak detection.
  • Developing a suite geophysical sensors, including quantum-based gravity sensors, to look through the ground and understand its function.
  • Creating a world-leading National Buried Infrastructure Facility, a ‘one of its kind’ research, education and training facility.
  • Exploring ways to improve city transport systems, including developing non-motorised modes of transport to address pollution and congestion.

We now know that we need to do things very differently if our cities are to be both sustainable and resilient in the far future. We're looking at how cities become more liveable, taking individual and societal wellbeing alongside planetary wellbeing into account to understand how cities can move forward to the future in a way that becomes sustainable, resilient, smart and liveable.

Professor Chris Rogers

Professor Chris Rogers

Professor of Geotechnical Engineering

Discover more

  • Infrastructure and the Built Environment

    Infrastructure and the Built Environment need to be fit for purpose for supporting societal development in a changing world. Our research looks for solutions for a sustainable and resilient future.

  • Infrastructure Monitoring

    With an increasingly aging infrastructure it is vital to take a whole-life approach. Our research transforms our approach to infrastructure through monitoring, leading to well-informed and value-based decision making.

  • Future Cities and Infrastructure Engineering research

    The city of the future is an unknown quantity, but what we can be certain of is that the way in which we live, work, travel, communicate and use information will be different from today.

  • Gravity Sensors

    UK utility street works from 2013 to 2030 is estimated at £319bn. A large proportion of the cost arises from holes being dug in the wrong places. We are developing gravity sensors to essentially look beneath the ground to prevent this.