Sustainable housing at Priddy's Hard, Gosport


Explore our work in sustainable urbanism, one of our 8 areas of expertise in Architecture, Interiors and Urbanism

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
  • Eco-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.

Green infrastructures

We're planning cities that can be both liveable for humans, while not resulting in further decline to the planet's ecological vitality.
A view of Portsmouth from Catherine House looking towards Spinnaker Tower
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Digital design and new technologies

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.
3d printer model of a new building and city
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Environmental analysis and design

Through our research, we're re-thinking the way we build cities, to better react to environmental issues and challenges, such as climate change.
Skyscraper with plants growing up the facade, Sydney
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Architectural and urban history and theory

Our research in this area of expertise is bridging the gap between the technical and humanistic aspects of architectural and urban history and theory.
Press & Media; Portsmouth locations; 15th July 2019
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Historic environments and conservation

We're looking at how architecture, community and creative technologies can play a role in enhancing historic environments.
Portsmouth Guildhall exterior
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Interior design theory and practice

We're investigating how architects and designers might rethink the way they approach interior spaces, by exploring how buildings are used by people.
Retro Chair, Bike and Cabinet
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Design education

We're researching issues related to teaching and learning within creative and design disciplines, focusing on pedagogy, curriculum, student engagement, and learning theories.
Close-up design alphabet
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Research groups

Cluster for Sustainable Cities
We're improving cities through sustainable urban development that meets today's social and environmental needs.

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.