Smart cities and communities

Informing and influencing the development of our cities

Sustainable development of urban areas is a challenge for our society. This challenge requires new, efficient, and user-friendly technologies and services. We need to find integrated approaches for developing and deploying advanced technological solutions. These approaches need to be environmentally sustainable and ensure the wellbeing of communities.

Our research focuses on the following areas:

Research centres

The team of computer and data science specialists in our Data Science Research Centre (DSRC) works with businesses, organisations and other researchers to help them gain insights from their data. DSRC recently published groundbreaking research into artificial neural networks (ANNs), which are used to calculate, interrogate and analyse vast amounts of data at high speed. Their discoveries could have implications for everything from medical technology to transport planning and even personalised streaming accounts or virtual assistants.

Our Environmental Sustainability Research Centre comprises a multi-disciplinary team which works closely with other leading institutions, charities, governments, international non-governmental organisations and industry leaders. We confront issues relating to sustainability and influence national and international debate on the subject. Our research on climate change, for example, is helping to develop strategies for the sustainable management of our environment.

We have pioneered research in the field of nature connectedness, working with a range of nature conservation organisations to explore the benefits of improving people’s connection with nature. The work of our Nature Connectedness Research Group is being used by the National Trust to inform its engagement activities. We have also developed a wellbeing app to promote awareness of urban nature.

The Centre for Supply Chain Improvement is a centre of excellence for operations and supply chain management in advanced research and industry partnerships. The work we produce is led by industry needs. We address some of the most critical challenges that organisations are currently facing in the design, management and improvement of their supply chains and internal operations. One example of our impact is our work on lean logistics and tackling the inefficiencies of road transportation, in which we investigated whether lean manufacturing principles, methods and tools could be applied to improve logistics and road transport operations.

The Centre for Business Improvement focuses on sustainable business and the green economy. We are collaborating with the Carbon Trust and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to propose strategies to support green or low-carbon business innovation. We work with a variety of businesses to enable improved networking and collaboration, sharing our expertise and tapping into that of other businesses.

The Data Science Research Centre, the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre and the Nature Connectedness Research Group are part of our College of Science and Engineering The Centre for Supply Chain Improvement and the Centre for Business Improvement are part of our College of Business, Law and Social Sciences.

Our latest smart cities and communities research news

Crayfish pictured in natural habitat

PCR test used to detect presence of crayfish species through water samples as it becomes harder to find creatures through conventional means.

Person walking or jogging through a park

More diverse activity programmes which suit individual needs are needed to enable more people to improve their health.

Picture of Covid 19 stats chart

Richard Self, recently ranked the UK's second most influential technology academic, criticises the data model used to analyse coronavirus pandemic information. 

A man in a sports hoodie wearing a facemask

International review of research concludes that wearing a face mask while exercising is safe, including for those undergoing rehabilitation for respiratory conditions, such as Covid-19.

Research programme funded by the Economic and Social Research Council will involve studies in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Read all our research news