In order to transform our cities to deliver individual and societal wellbeing within the context of low-carbon living and resource security, we must take into account the economic, social, and political contexts and systems in which we operate.

This includes a deep understanding of our aspirations, quality of life and everyday mobilities (such as the movement of objects, people and ideas). Some of these factors may be in conflict with what urban designers and engineers are currently developing to promote a low-carbon, resource-secure lifestyle.

Their success or otherwise is dependent on society’s response and the degrees to which they deliver an acceptable quality of life (within the norms of wellbeing), do not dilute aspirations and do not disrupt the mobilities of people and objects. However, a mere understanding of this context is not enough: for decision-makers to implement ideas it is necessary to translate that understanding into criteria, guidelines, engineering and design briefs. This process of translation is critical to the success of urban design and engineering projects and has been identified as a deficiency in our ability to achieve success in the past, especially in the infrastructure and built environment of our cities.

Therefore, a most urgent challenge for our urban environments is to reconsider how we define cities, neighbourhoods and places, and to embrace an approach that balances conflicting demands.


Research Videos

Wellbeing in the Cities - Christopher Boyko

Wellbeing and Energy - Milena Buchs

Sharing in the City - Claire Coulton

City Aspirations and Wellbeing - Helene Joffe

Cycling - Cosmin Popan

Aspiration for Social Connection in the City - Victoria Zeeb

Research Theme Team

Rachel Cooper Rachel Cooper
Co-investigator Lancaster University
Jane Falkingham Jane Falkingham
Co-investigator University of Southampton
Hélène Joffe Hélène Joffe
Co-investigator UCL
John Urry John Urry
Co-investigator Lancaster University
Christopher Boyko Christopher Boyko
Researcher co-investigator Lancaster University
Milena Büchs Milena Büchs
Researcher co-investigator University of Southampton
No picture available Stephen Clune
Researcher Imagination Lancaster
No picture available Mamusu Kamanda
Researcher University of Southampton
Katerina Psarikidou Katerina Psarikidou
Researcher Lancaster University
Nick Smith Nick Smith
Researcher Formerly UCL, now the University of Westminster
Claudia Peñaranda Fuentes Claudia Peñaranda Fuentes
PhD Student Formerly UCL, now with Transport for London
Cosmin Popan Cosmin Popan
PhD Student Lancaster University
No picture available Victoria Zeeb
PhD student UCL
No picture available Claire Coulton
Project Officer (Wellbeing and Future Visions) Lancaster University

Expert Panellists

No picture available Alan Bain
JMPConsultants Limited
No picture available Scott Bernstein
Centre for Neighbourhood Technology
No picture available Harbinder Birdi
Cary Cooper Cary Cooper
Manchester Business School
No picture available Andrew Dobson
Lancaster City Council
No picture available Jim Eyre
Wilkinson Eyre Architects
No picture available Denny Gray
CAG Consultants
No picture available David Lawson
Lancaster City Council
No picture available Lucia Marquart
Lancashire County Council
No picture available Steve Skippon
Transport Research Laboratory
No picture available Paula White
IBM Software Group
No picture available Anna Woodeson
Wilkinson Eyre Architects
No picture available John Worthington
Academy of Urbanism

Expert Panellist Report on Wellbeing & Aspirations

This brief report summarises a series of discussions between RC2: Wellbeing researchers and Expert Panellists, held between March and April 2013. The discussions related to three themes:   Aspirations Aspirations and cities Aspirations and low-carbon Measuring aspirations Managing aspirations   Current and future issues facing cities ...

Liveable Cities Informational Flyer

Liveable Cities Informational Flyer

A4 flyer briefly describing the ambition, vision, research and programme rationale. ...

Birmingham nearly finished!

Birmingham nearly finished!

Mobilities and wellbeing focus groups are done, now to complete built environment audits

On 23 April 2014, Chris Boyko, Claire Coulton and Katerina Psarikidou were in Birmingham for the last of four focus groups about mobilities and wellbeing. We have now collected data in two very different wards (varying on density...

Helene Joffe, this year’s Lloyd’s Science of Risk winner

Helene Joffe, this year’s Lloyd’s Science of Risk winner

This year’s Lloyd’s Science of Risk winner revealed some fascinating “fatalistic” attitudes to earthquake risk.

The prestigious Science of Risk prize received some excellent submissions from a line-up of esteemed academics in 2013. Amongst them was a lead convening author for the fifth IPCC impact report, Professor Neil Adger, a runner-up...

Built environment audits started!

Built environment audits started!

Researchers collecting data on condition of built environment features of neighbourhoods

This week, Christopher Boyko and Claire Coulton began auditing the built environment within one neighbourhood of Birmingham as part of the RC2: Wellbeing Research Challenge. Armed with the Irvine-Minnesota Inventory 2.0 -- an app comprising 70-items that ask raters to assess...

Job opportunity: Research Associate (Part-time), Sociology

‘Low Carbon Innovation in China – Prospects, Politics & Practice’ aims to investigate different models of innovation and their role in low-carbon transitions in the key socio-technical and (geo-)political context of a rising China.

Salary:   £25,504 to £29,541 (pro rata) Closing Date:   Monday 23 September 2013 Interview Date:   October 10th, 2013 Reference: ...

The ‘art’ of urban design: does objectivity constrain imagination?

To be published in Urban Design and Planning themed issue: the ‘art’ of urban design

Christopher Boyko, Joanne Leach, Rachel Cooper and Chris Rogers are leading a paper that has been accepted for a 2014 special issue of the academic journal Urban Design and Planning.  This paper builds upon the work...