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About the Resilient Cities Laboratory

The Resilient Cities Laboratory (ResCitiesLab) at the University of Warwick is a research grouping which co-ordinates and facilitates research into the study of future challenges facing urban areas across the social sciences. It is led by Professor Jon Coaffee, Professor in Urban Geography in the Department of Politics & International Studies (PAIS). The ResCitiesLab is integrated into the Universities’ research framework for the advancement of ‘Urban Science’ through active engagement with the Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities (WISC) and a range of international academic and business partners, espcially through it's links with New York University's Centre for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP).

As the twenty-first century is set to become the century of the city, environmental change, economic shocks and geo-political and social instability will become pressing issues for both governments and for civil society. This ever increasing urbanisation is proceeding against a backdrop of advances in digital technologies and open data which are having profound effects on the way in which future cities are planned, envisioned and function. Planning for, and mitigating against, a range of disruptive challenges and changing circumstances represents a so-called ‘resilience turn’ in urban policy and practice. There is now a focus upon how the urban environment is designed and functions as a series of interconnected systems which can be progressed and modified in order to ‘future proof’ the city, its services and its citizens, and make it more sustainable for current and future generations.

Since 2012, the University of Warwick has made a significant investment in these critical areas of research. Most notably it has established and formalised a relationship with New York University’s Centre for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) focused upon urban informatics - the acquisition, integration, and analysis of data to understand and improve urban systems and quality of life - and upon developing a fertile intersection between ‘big data’ and new social science methodologies.

We have established the Resilient Cities Laboratory, to act as a focal point of our collaborative efforts. In particular the Resilient Cities Lab will seek to:

  • Stimulate innovative and timely urban-focused research across the social sciences faculty;
  • Engage in a wide range of research on the social, political, economic, environmental and physical aspects of city life and urban resilience;
  • Develop and test new social science methodologies for the study of urban areas;
  • Act as a bridging point between social and physical sciences and encourage collaborative multidisciplinary research on future cities between social scientist and other University academics through the Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities (WISC);
  • To engage and co-ordinate, where appropriate, new and ongoing work with CUSP in New York (and with partner institutions in Toronto and Bombay/Mumbai) in which social sciences play a critical role;
  • Provide a focal point for University-wide research on the role of digital innovation on urban transformation (Smart Cities);
  • Anticipate future urban trends and provide solutions for how cities can be made more resilient to change or disruptive events.

Details of the research members of the Resilient Cities Laboratory are engaged in can be found on the research pages. The news section contains details of new research, forthcoming events and publications together with the ResCitiesLab Blog.