Over the past 200 years, the number of people living in cities has increased dramatically – from less than five percent, to almost half of the world's population. And as cities are directly responsible for rising rates of environmental degradation, the need for sustainable urban living has never been greater. Our Sustainable Urbanism research looks at ways of developing urban resilience – the ability for people, businesses, communities and systems within a city to adapt in the face of global challenges.
Humans are now a major environmental force – particularly since the industrial revolution – and today, our cities are responsible for almost 80% of all CO2 emissions. With estimates suggesting up to 70% of the world will live in a city by 2050, that figure is set to rise even higher.
People change the environment by consuming energy, resources and land. In turn, the polluted environment affects people — particularly their health. Cities need to adapt in order to minimise our impact on the planet, while maintaining the growth needed to support an increasing population.
We explore the models, technologies and policies that can guide governments and planners to develop sustainable cities. Our work is used by governments to guide policy decisions on strategic planning and re-naturing strategies.
Our research is regularly published in journals such as the International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, Journal of Urban Design, Landscape and Urban Planning, and our staff regularly present their research at international conferences.
Our research focuses on the following topics
- Re-naturing cities
- Green infrastructure
- Urban morphology
- Urban models
- Urban resilience
- Environmental performance
- Advanced technologies
- Healthy cities
- Public space
We use quantitative research methods, such as experiments, statistical analysis, GIS mapping and computational modelling, and qualitative approaches including interviews, grounded theory, practice-based methods and case studies.
Partnerships and funders
We collaborate with academic and non-academic institutions that are involved in shaping urban futures, including AECOM, the City of Portsmouth, Atkins and RICS.
Recent research funders include the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the British Academy, and Portsmouth City Council. In March 2018, we received £149,673 from the ESRC, and have recently run two Newton Fund projects with budgets in the region of £46,000 each.
Recent project highlights
Discover our areas of expertise
Sustainable urbanism is one of 8 areas of expertise in our Architecture, Interiors and Urbanism research – explore the others below.
We're planning cities that can be both liveable for humans, while not resulting in further decline to the planet's ecological vitality.
We're studying the integration of digital technology and new technologies in architectural planning, urban planning, and sustainability – and how they can impact future design processes.
Through our research, we're re-thinking the way we build cities, to better react to environmental issues and challenges, such as climate change.
We're looking at how architecture, community and creative technologies can play a role in enhancing historic environments.
We're investigating how architects and designers might rethink the way they approach interior spaces, by exploring how buildings are used by people.
Interested in a PhD in Architecture, Interiors & Urbanism?
Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Architecture, Interiors & Urbanism postgraduate research degrees page.