Urban Impacts

Impact means much more than measuring outcomes to report to funders or demonstrating value for money. An expanded commitment to impact is at the heart of what we do.


The urban matters in how we see, understand and seek to engage with the world around us. As social scientists, we are all motivated by concern that current trajectories and pathways shaping future cities are unsustainable and risk reproducing inequalities which persistently marginalise urban dwellers around the world. Our work spans critical theory development and applied, action-based interventions, with a commitment to learn from the past, understand the present and imagine alternative futures. We are also committed to decolonial, intersectional and transdisciplinary ways of working underpinned by equitable partnerships. 

We are increasingly encouraged to think about the impact of our work. But impact means different things to different people. We prefer to think of how our research and engagement matters in the world. 

We need novel or disruptive propositions that change how we think about cities. We need to ask different questions and not rely on models that have ‘worked’ elsewhere. Opening up and challenging is as valuable as finding ‘solutions’ that might relieve decision-makers of the need to think. At the same time, engagement with policy-makers matters in providing evidence for or against particular kinds of interventions or putting new ideas on the table. Experimentation and demonstration is also a form of impact – learning by doing through testing in real-time.  

Our methodologies are often a key pathway to impact, with a commitment to engagement, capacity-building and co-production.  

Some examples of our impactful work include:

Identifying low carbon actions for ordinary cities

Building networks to support early career researchers

Applying co-productive principles to local processes for decision-making or spatial planning 

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