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The Sustainable Places Research Institute was open between 2010 and 2021. This page shows the Institute’s past work. It is not monitored or updated.

We are providing a new basis for sustainability science, pushing the boundaries of traditional sustainability research and finding solutions to the challenges of diminishing resources and a changing climate.

The Institute operates across all three Colleges of Cardiff University. Bringing together researchers, we work to find solutions to real sustainability problems. Working with stakeholders, including local community groups, public authorities and academic partners, we support methodological innovation for research into sustainable place making.

Our current work

Our distinctive and unique research profile is recognised both locally and globally. We work to develop place-based responses and solutions to issues including climate change and resource depletion – this is being done on the specific requirements of individual places. Our research focuses on the complex and dynamic interrelations between ecosystems, society and economy at different spatial scales.

Engaging in theoretically led, integrated and place-based research, we act as a hub across a number of academic disciplines and institutions.  We examine the interdependencies and trade-offs between key resource sectors, such as energy, food, water, and waste, and combine place-based community, business and governance interests, to derive solutions that can progress sustainable transitions.

Our focussed research programmes


Sustainable rural-urban communities

Many fundamental aspects of sustainable place-making depend on where and how people live.


Co-evolving, interactive systems

This programme explores the relationship between system properties and sustainability across different temporal and spatial scales.


Health, infrastructure and well-being

Place is important for population physical and mental health, well-being and inequalities.


Food, land and security

This programme is working on developing new thinking about place-based food interactions that take whole system interactions into account.

Power station

Risk, place, identity and sustainability

Risk is increasingly central to a variety of academic disciplines and spheres of public and industrial life.


Cities and sustainable places

This programme provides an independent hub to help address specific urban issues and concerns.