Cities Research Centre

The Cities Research Centre research brings together scholars across all School of Geography and Planning research groups and other departments at Cardiff University concerned with the changing nature of cities as environmental, economic and socio-cultural systems.

We develop the School’s ‘cities’ research in a number of cross-cutting themes and specific urban challenges.

These themes include:

  • social and spatial justice
  • alternative urbanisms (alternative social and economic practices in the city)
  • urban metabolism and environmental change
  • pluralism and urban life
  • comparative urbanism
  • advancing urban theory and urban ‘thought’

Specific urban challenges include:

  • initiatives on social/material infrastructure change and the South Wales Metro
  • the post-welfare city
  • urban ecosystem management and climate change
  • smart cities, energy and sustainability
  • informality and fragile cities
  • designing public space for social inclusion

Our work contributes to the understanding of the changing nature of cities across the realms of academic research, policy, and practice.

Selected publications

Project nameFundedInvestigator(s)
The Nexus of Smart Cities and Energy: A Scoping Survey of Urban Strategies School of Geography and Planning, £2,000 Golubchikov
Comparative Study on European Public Space Design Programs with Social Cohesion in mind Cardiff University, £2,500 Aelbrecht, Gale, Bridge
Prosperous cities at the top of the urban hierarchy Cardiff University, £2,000  DeVerteuil


Gary Bridge Profile

Professor Gary Bridge

Professor of Human Geography

+44 (0)29 2068 8681

Academic staff

Dr Geoff DeVerteuil

Dr Geoff DeVerteuil

Senior Lecturer of Social Geography

+44 (0)29 2087 6089
Dr Oleg Golubchikov

Dr Oleg Golubchikov

Reader in Human Geography

+44 (0)29 2087 9310
Aptricia Aelbrecht

Dr Patricia Lopes Simoes Aelbrecht

Lecturer in Urban Design

+44 (0)29 2087 5735

Visit the School of Geography and Planning Events page if you're interested in related topics.

The City of the Future: Productive, Inclusive and Resource-Efficient?

This half-day seminar brought together leading academics and external stakeholders to examine how the development of ‘smart cities’ and related tools such as big data, connected sensors and cognitive computing can help to understand and tackle urban challenges and how they might make the city of the future more productive, resource efficient and inclusive.

Presentations from leading academics looked at definitions of smart cities and the practical, ethical and political issues around applying digital technology.

  • Duncan Wilson, Professor of Connected Environments, at UCL CASA drew on applied projects he had done and showed how understanding of how and why to apply digital technology in the urban environment had matured.
  • Chris Rogers, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, University of Birmingham defined the smart city as a sustainable city, explained value-capture in that context and presented decision-making frameworks for urban interventions.
  • Elena Simperl, Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton, examined crowd-sourcing as a tool for understanding cities and interacting with them.
  • Presentations from Wendy Tipper, Associate Director Transformation, Arup and Isabelle Bignall, Chief Digital Officer, Cardiff Council set out how business and city administrations were using ‘smart’ solutions to urban problems and how their sectors could collaborate more effectively with academia.
  • A panel discussion, including the presenters and Professor Peter Madden of Cardiff University, looked at barriers to collaboration between business, government and academia and how to resolve them, and explored some of the ethical, social and political debates around smart cities and pervasive digital technology.
  • Rob Huggins, Professor of Economic Geography at Cardiff University concluded by explaining how the presentations and discussions would inform the priorities of the University’s Cities Research Centre.

Their presentations can be found in related downloads.

Planning for the Just City

Professor Susan S. Fainstein is a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University. She presented an event based on her new book ‘The Just City’. Neoliberalism approaches to urban development have prioritized economic growth rather than justice. Increased inequality and diminished access to amenities and welfare for the already disadvantaged have resulted.

The use of justice as a governing principle - defined by the criteria of equity, diversity, and democracy - would require that policies be evaluated in terms of their outcomes rather than simply the quality of the planning process. Arguments for giving priority to justice in planning are presented, and policy examples from New York, Amsterdam, and Singapore are used to illustrate different planning approaches and their consequences for more just cities.