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Featured projects

Jam and Justice: Co-producing Governance for Social Innovation

This exciting 3-year programme (2016-2019) is part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Urban Transformations portfolio and explores the theory and practice of co-production in transforming urban governance. ‘Jam’ is about trying to bring together different partners in the city to experiment and innovate to address shared problems. ‘Justice’ is about re-connecting with those who have been disenfranchised and excluded from the search for solutions. Through the development of an Action Research Cooperative (ARC) in Greater Manchester, the project will bring together academics, practitioners, citizens and political leaders to exchange knowledge and develop creative responses to emerging urban governance challenges. @UTConnect

Cultural Intermediation in the Creative Urban Economy

This Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project (2012-2016) examines the mechanisms for connecting communities in the creative urban economy. Following a diary-keeping exercise and case studies with cultural organisations in Birmingham and Manchester, the project initiated a process of creative community engagement in two neighbourhoods. In Ordsall/Salford, ‘Ideas4Ordsall’ has given a boost to 20 local people to develop their ideas for cultural activities, including Ordsall Art Collective, a local history play, Islington Festival and a printing press. @Ideas4Ordsall @cultintermed

Pendleton Together - Integrated Healthcare Work

This work involves an initial evaluation of the impact of a major regeneration project on independent living for older people. Specifically it focuses on the Pendleton area of Salford where 1500 new homes are being built and 1250 existing homes are being given a makeover, coupled with tranquil new parks and open spaces, sports pitches, new streets and footpaths and even a city farm. The evaluation will inform the future development of an extra care village within the heart of the redevelopment.

Ageing and the Built Environment

SURFACE-Inclusive Design have been carrying out work on ageing since 2003, which examines the relationship between the older person and their environment and explores how a person’s well-being may be compromised by the effects of poor design. Drawing upon people’s direct experience through a range of person-centred approaches, we suggest how the built environment could be improved by taking an inclusive design approach whilst recognizing that ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ and that there are often regulatory and budget constraints which have to be overcome.

Vision2, Geelong, Australia

The transformation from a manufacturing to a knowledge based economy has profound implications for City Centre living. While some cities in Australia have been quick to assess the impacts of these processes for their design and physical planning, others remain constrained by their manufacturing heritage and patterns of population settlement, including suburbanisation.  The VISION 2 project in Geelong, an Australian city of 200,000 population, is a Victoria State Government funded project to revitalize the City Centre through the adoption of urban ecological principles. The Victoria State Government has recently approved a new authority to oversee the implementation of the project., Youtube:

Co-creating Sustainable Cities

Mistra Urban Futures is a multi-partner centre with headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. Set up in 2010, the Centre focuses on transformative urban processes to support the transition to fair, green and accessible cities. The Centre comprises four Local Interaction Platforms in Gothenburg, Cape Town, Kisumu and Greater Manchester which bring academics and practitioners together in co-creation partnerships. The Greater Manchester Local Interaction Platform is hosted by UPRISE’s SURF group and builds on 10 years’ work examining the processes of urban knowledge production, circulation and reception. A key focus is on processes of inter- and trans-disciplinary working between academics and urban professionals, urban knowledge exchange and co-production in cities.  @mistraurbanfut

Disaster Resilience and European Critical Infrastructures (EU-CIRCLE)

EU-CIRCLE is a Horizon 2020 project (2015–2018) which aims to move towards infrastructure networks that are resilient to today’s natural hazards and prepared for future climate change. Given the interconnected and interdependent nature of modern infrastructure, the project aims to reduce the incidence of ‘cascade failures’ by developing a Climate Infrastructure Resilience Platform. This will assess impacts of climate hazards, develop resilience indicators and support cost-efficient adaptation measures. The project has over 20 European partners and builds on CDR’s years of experience in disaster resilience.

Impact Analysis of City Infrastructure Disaster Event (INCIDENT)

Infrastructure facilities such as transportation, telecommunications, healthcare, water supply and electricity are deeply embedded within social systems in cities. Intense disasters can cause systemic failures of infrastructure due to the strong interconnections between its components. INCIDENT took this complexity of the networked infrastructure into account to prepare an exploratory structural model that captures the cascading impacts and consequences due to disaster events at a city scale. The exploratory project, funded by global engineering consultancy Arup, provided the basis for a more comprehensive failure analysis study to be performed in the future.

Climate Impacts in Malaysia (CLIMATISE)

Climate-induced extreme weather events, such as floods, landslides and soil erosion, vary in cause and effect across the globe. In Malaysia it has been revealed that an increase in temperature due to climate change has multiplied the intensity and frequency of storms and rainfall. This project, funded by the British Council Newton Institutional Links programme, will develop built environment specific strategies for the adaptation and mitigation of climate-induced extreme weather events through a national and international collaboration of academics, practitioners and professional bodies. CLIMATISE provides an ideal platform to further the links between UK and Malaysia in creating a safer built environment and to conduct knowledge exchange and knowledge transfer at an institutional level. 

Evaluating Pilots in Health and Social Care

Greater Manchester is often seen as a site for piloting initiatives and learning about their effectiveness, prior to being rolled out in other localities across the UK. One example is the Community Risk Intervention Team (CRIT) initiative for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), which is the first such service in the UK and is being piloted in Greater Manchester. Working alongside both the North West Ambulance Service and Greater Manchester Police, the CRIT approach provides both response call-outs (such as cardiac arrests and falls) and preventative services (such as installing grab rails and providing lifestyle advice). Our project involves an evaluation of a pilot to understand the experiences of GMFRS staff, and professionals working in health and social care in delivering the service, coupled with the experience of individual users.

Social-ecological Resilience in Cities

Social-ecological urbanism suggests a new model for sustainable urban development in accordance with social-ecological principles. We contribute to this growing area of enquiry and practice through our collaboration with the Biospheric Foundation/ Studio in Greater Manchester. Supported through funding from Mistra Urban Futures and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, this work is developing an integrated live action research platform to support learning and innovation around socio-ecological resilience in cities.

Urban Food Systems

There is increasing interest in the resilience of the food system, in the context of ecological threats affecting food production and distribution, as well as social and political issues around food poverty. Urban agriculture is seen by some to offer a response to these issues within the context of the broader local food system. In addition there is increasing interest in the relationship between gardening, urban agriculture and public health, mental health and wellbeing. Our work in this area spans the globe, from the Geelong Food Hub, Australia, to work on the evidence base for and governance implications of food policies in Greater Manchester.

Governance and Policy for Sustainability

This comparative study examined urban governance and decision-making processes in the UK, Sweden and South Africa, funded by Mistra Urban Futures. Case studies in Greater Manchester, Gothenburg and Cape Town were co-produced between academics, policy-makers and practitioners in each city-region, focusing on the challenges, solutions and effectiveness of policies for urban sustainability. This enabled real-time reflection and action on the extent to which existing urban trajectories contribute to greater environmental justice in different parts of the globe. 

Smart Cities, Sustainable Cities

The concept of the Smart City is widely popularised in the current era, with many cities across the world seeking to embrace technology, innovation and knowledge-based growth as mechanisms for urban growth. UPRISE researchers focus on smarter cities which are inclusive, resilient and sustainable. We embrace the potential of technology – for instance, through innovative partnerships with the digital innovation ThinkLab, to explore how data and intelligence can improve urban decision-making processes. With our partners in Mistra Urban Futures, we have created a digital portal for sustainability in Greater Manchester, Platform. Smart cities need smart citizens – hence our work also engages with issues concerning lay knowledge and community expertise in the knowledge society. @On_the_Platform 

This multi-partner European project has sought to identify the modes through which energy security is defined and managed at the European, national and local scales, focusing on energy transition towards a low carbon society. A key outcome is to validate the economic and social value of community-led energy transitions through elaborating quantitative and qualitative models and scenarios for the evolution of energy security within and outside the EU. These models take geopolitical tensions, economic factors, social cohesion, technological options and environmental issues into account. @MILESECURE2050

Culture, Heritage and the Built Environment

Socio-cultural shifts are required alongside socio-technical transitions to develop more sustainable environments. Drawing on a pilot study supported by Mistra Urban Futures, researchers are now working on a project on culture, heritage and the built environment, with a particular focus on music festivals (‘CHIME’), funded by the AHRC and JPI Heritage Plus (2015-2017). The work will produce a set of policy-facing insights for local authorities and other stakeholders to effectively value their intangible and tangible cultural heritage. @CHIMEproject

Coping with Flooding

Over recent years flooding has become a regular occurrence in the UK. Researchers are working with small and medium sized enterprises and local authorities to develop strategies for adaptation and recovery in the face of these extreme-weather events. Examples include projects in Cockermouth in Cumbria, North Devon and developing partnerships with organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses. Researchers from CDR also represent the University on the Salford Strategic Flood Forum, a multi-stakeholder partnership to mitigate and adapt to flooding in Salford.

Falling Over

People fall over for many reasons, often due to a combination of factors (such as medication and poor lighting) yet we know very little about the role of the built environment in both causing falls, and in preventing falls. We take a multi-disciplinary approach in working with academics, practitioners and those who fall / have a fear of falling, to suggest how better design of the built environment – including our homes and outdoor spaces can potentially reduce both risk and injury. Further information can be found at

Sustainable Return on Investment

Through combining social and environmental methodologies to value regeneration, researchers have developed and piloted an evaluation technique called ‘sustainable return on investment’ (SuROI). This has been applied to a number of cases, including projects for City West Housing, Irwell Valley Communities Living Sustainably project and for private sector clients including Goldman Sachs and the Cathedral Group. PhD students will be supported to work on this theme through the EU Horizon 2020 RISE programme called ‘MAPS-LED’ which focuses on smart specialisation for local economic development.