Future of the city centre 

This international project, funded by the AHRC in the UK, has been exploring how the city centre or urban downtown is changing and what its future could look like. In partnership with the Universities of Northumbria (UK), Newcastle (Australia), South Africa (SA) and Paraiba (Brazil), we are now extending this research to include NEW PARTNER cities, joining a Future City Centre Network.


Further details can be found on the dedicated project website –

Read more of the outcome from the initial AHRC project at:

The Future of the city centre: global perspectives (Routledge) (2023)

The future for the city centre: perspectives from the Global South – in African Journal of Geography and Regional Planning (2022)

Compacting the city centre – densification in two Newcastles – in Cities and Buildings (2021)

The future of the city centre – urbanisation, transformation and resilience – in Urban Studies (2020)




RelyMap Enhance: analytical software technology that enables improved location accuracy for GNSS receivers in complex environments, focusing initially on needs identified for the construction sector in an urban environment. The project team is being led by Envisage Space with support from the Institute for Future Cities (University of Strathclyde), Cranfield University’s Centre for Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems, and Balfour Beatty (a major construction company, and potential early adopter of RelyMap technologies).


RelyMap Enhance is being developed to function as a dynamic predictive baseline from which the intelligent selection of ‘optimal GNSS signals’ is used for location computation by the receiver.

This project builds on the successfully completed RelyMap funded under the European Space Agency NAVISP programme which allowed Envisage and IFC to deliver an innovative technical capability that predicts in Near-Real-Time (NRT) how GNSS signals interact within a complex urban environment. Further details of this can be found here.


Glasgow Urban Wetlands Project: Research and Development Opportunity

Artificial urban wetlands have the potential to help capture carbon and contribute to urban net zero targets. With funding from the UK Government’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Sustainable Innovation Fund the University of Strathclyde has been working with partners to examine the business case for using urban wetlands to help Glasgow meet its net zero goals. As a pilot project delivered in Glasgow ahead of COP26  (see link to press release) it has underlined the importance of viewing urban wetlands as part of community development alongside carbon and water management, tangible contributions to delivering SDG11 – and other SDGs.

thumbnail_Saline Ag infographic

The project has underlined how urban wetlands present opportunities to help Glasgow and other cities to achieve their net zero carbon targets, as well as regenerating land, creating local employment, increasing skills, and helping to create sustainable urban drainage – amongst many other potential benefits.

Read more about the output from this project:

INTEGRATING ARTIFICIAL URBAN WETLANDS INTO COMMUNITIES: A PATHWAY TO CARBON ZERO?” in a special issue of Frontiers in Built Environment, Urban Science

Our contribution on Artificial urban wetlands paper to the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures.

View our conference contribution to Pathways to Resilient Carbon Zero Cities held in July 2021 organised by University of Hertfordshire

You can read the initial  SBRI Urban Wetlands project press release via this link.


Sustainable Glasgow

This long-term initiative aims to make the City of Glasgow one of the greenest in Europe. Formed in 2010 by Glasgow City Council, when the Institute was involved in writing the initial report, the project has evolved into making Glasgow a world-leading centre for sustainable policy, innovation and action and to achieve a Net Zero Carbon city by 2030.

Further information about how the Institute, the University of Strathclyde and other partners are contributing to achieve this ambitious target can be found at Sustainable Glasgow – Sustainable Glasgow Charter, launched in June 2021.

Sus Glasgow logo

One element of the Institute’s contribution has been collaboration with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce exploring how the city’s businesses can do more to contribute to the circular economy. In creating a Circular Glasgow Toolkit designed for businesses with little to no knowledge of the circular economy looking for ways to transform their business, we have helped to offer the city’s business community inspiring case studies and useful resources. Information on the Chambers led Circular Glasgow initiative can be found here.


Upscaling digital health initiatives

In contrast to the successful scaling up of digital innovation  in many sectors including tourism, banking, and retail, the health sector has been slower to embrace digital health innovations (DHI) beyond the pilot stage. Such failure arises in part from a knowledge gap around what type and level of evidence are needed to convince implementers and decision makers to fund, endorse, or adopt new innovations into care delivery systems and sustainable practice. Based on interviews with key actors in DHI in Scotland, this project provides valuable insights to identify what evidence matters when making DHI adoption/scale decisions.

An innovation heuristic service readiness level (SRL) framework that captures the changing nature of the evidence base required over a project lifecycle for progression to scale. has been developed, and used to discuss ‘what evidence’ is required and ‘how data accumulate’ over time to assist project teams to build a ‘DHI case for scale’.



This research being conducted by Janette Hughes for her MPhil supervised by Dr Marilyn Lennon (Computing and Information Science) and Dr Robert Rogerson (IFC) and in partnership with the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre based at the University.

Read more about this research at:

Scaling digital health innovation – International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2021)


Community engagement and Social Capital

For several decades, cities across the world have vied to be ‘host cities’ for major sporting and other events, as part of their strategy for economic development. Less attention has been given to how such events benefit local communities, and in particular how major events can help build local social capital. Our research – building on legacy projects from the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow – has been exploring the social connections made around event volunteering. Engaging with volunteers over the last 7 years we have gained insights into how one-off volunteering can generate longer-term social legacies.


Read our contributions at:

Using major events to increase social connections – in Journal of Policy Research in Leisure, Tourism and Events (2019)

Chapter 27: Creating a social legacy from event volunteering in the new Routledge Handbook of Volunteering in Events, Sport and Tourism (2021)

Creating an event volunteering legacy: the 2014 Host City volunteer initiative in Event Management (2021)


Other recent projects making a difference to people’s lives:

We seek to use academic research and understanding to help find innovative solutions to issues faced by cities making them better places to live, work, learn and invest. And in turn we work with local partners to help ensure that this research has an impact on people living in cities. We do this through research and partnerships with commercial organisations, local and national government, and with citizens, covering subject areas and from across the world. Some recent examples include:

  • Circular economy Glasgow – a project with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
  • Big data analysis and predictive crime – using street lighting to reduce crime; an ESRC transformative grant supported by Community Safety Glasgow and Police Scotland
  • Predictive future tourism – using data search engines to predict when and where; a collaboration between Dept of Computing and Information Sciences, Glasgow Convention and Marketing Bureau and Glasgow Life.
  • Getting inactive people active – shaping health policy to improve wellbeing – a study funded by Spirit of 2012 Trust and Scottish Government.
  • Sensing the city – a joint project developing mobile air quality monitoring systems between IFC and CENSIS (the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems) funded by Datalab
  • Inclusive tourism, low skills and smart cities –  working with the University of Philippines Diliman, and funded by the British Council/Newton Fund, this multi-disciplinary project has encouraged new ways of narrating the role of inclusive tourism in the smart city.

If you are interested in details of other projects not highlighted or working with us please contact us.

Future of the City CentreFuture of the City Centre

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Female entrepreneurship and waterFemale entrepreneurship and water

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Kolkata smart new townKolkata smart new town

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Private: Using digital government to build citizen trust and participationPrivate: Using digital government to build citizen trust and participation

Using digital government to build citizen trust and address inequalities


The potential for digital government to enhance the quality of life of all citizens remains latent. Whilst the delivery of services and the internal organisation of local government have been transformed through the use of ICT globally, the desire to bring citizens closer to and within public policy makings remains patchy. Mexico ‘s experience is no exception, with barriers to such citizen participation including corruption and the lack of transparency, as well as a culture of disengagement by community organisations  and social inequalities. This project draws on the experience in the UK’s future city demonstrator city, Glasgow, to research and demonstrate ways in which these barriers might be overcome and to identify the benefits which could accrue through more active citizen participation.


The adoption of digital or e-government has been global, helping to generate more efficient and effective delivery of services, public management and administration. Investment in new technology and infrastructure, the reorganisation of local government structures and the growing provision of open data have all been components of this transformation.  But increasingly e-government us also been viewed as a means to increase transparency, openness, citizen engagement and participation. Globally, the adoption of digital technology and the provision of open data to improve e-democracy and mobilise citizens and community organisation to help address social inequalities has been difficult (Norris and Reddick, 2013; Fountain, 2014).

The experience of the use of digital government in Mexico is no exception to this. Although Mexico has become a frontrunner in making government data publicly accessible but has yet to see this make a substantial impact economically and socially (OECD, 2016). Whilst the release of data marks an important initial stage towards effective e-governance, there remain major challenges in engaging citizens in using this open data and in working effectively with local government to generate new ways to resolve local social, environmental and economic challenges.  The national policy envisages open data being used not only to improve public service delivery and efficiency, but also to build trust with citizens in order that the objectives of fighting corruption and increasing public engagement can be achieved. Whilst emphasis has been placed in Mexico on the utilisation of smart technology to help transform the overall quality of government and the efficiency of service delivery, much less attention has been given to the use  digital government to build trust with citizens and address social inequalities.

Given the global struggle to make inroads on addressing social inequalities through digital and e-government, this project seeks as a first step to transfer and extend knowledge and insights from the UK’s future city demonstrator city – Glasgow- to enhance e-participation of citizen within Mexico City’s digital government programme and enhance transparent policy decision making.  Digital Glasgow forms part of the city council’s strategy to develop innovative ways to develop dialogue with community and third sector organisations alongside other public and private sector bodies. It has combined development of infrastructure and skills to help ensure that there are strong local social and environmental  benefits as well as enhance competitive advantages for the city.



The proposal seeks to generate new research collaboration between the two researchers to develop a research programme which seeks to explore and assess the contrasting and similar ways e-government initiatives are impacting on inequalities within Mexico City and Glasgow, and in particular how metrics can be developed which evaluate the shared goals of greater social equity – especially in terms of citizen involvement in political decision making, in digital inclusion, and in enhancing citizen municipal trust.

STEP UP Sustainable Cities projectSTEP UP Sustainable Cities project

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