The Bartlett School of Architecture


Centre for London Urban Design (CLOUD)

The Centre for London Urban Design (CLOUD) is a new research centre based at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

The Centre for London Urban Design aims:

  • to be a leading centre for research, debate, and projects that address spatial and environmental issues facing London through innovative architecture and urban design
  • to be academically rigorous, non-partisan and focused on practical application of the research being carried out

Research Agenda

  • Geographical and spatial relationships (e.g. within London; London and the rest of the UK; London’s relationship with Europe; London as a global city) 
  • Thematic areas (e.g. housing; health and wellbeing; environment and ecology; social inclusion/exclusion; fairness and social justice; regeneration; urban aesthetics)
  • Methodological innovation (e.g. design research; live projects; community participation)



Funding partners

We are seeking partners who share our interest in providing a research basis to address London Urban Design issues. Discussions are underway with organisations working in property and technology in London and internationally. Please email us if you would like to know more: peter.bishop@ucl.ac.uk

London partners

CLOUD is embedded within the internationally renowned Bartlett School of Architecture and benefits from the wider knowledge and expertise of the whole of UCL (University College London). The Centre also aims to work with organisations that share our aim of better understanding and addressing London-specific issues.

  • UCL
  • GLA
  • NLA
  • The London Society
  • Centre for London
International partners

A longer-term objective of the Centre is to exchange knowledge of London and other international cities to improve understanding among cities facing similar issues. CLOUD staff have existing relationships across a number of institutions and we will be working with these to formalise relationships with sister research centres internationally.

  • Berlin 
  • Chalmers University
  • ETH Zurich
  • TU Delft
  • Toronto
  • University of Technology Sydney

Research projects

Autonomous Vehicles – Research Proposal

The widespread use of autonomous passenger and goods vehicles presents enormous opportunity and significant challenges for our car-reliant society. A great deal of work is being undertaken on the technology and legal framework, and this will dictate how the technology is implemented. The main impacts will be felt in cities, and here too the potential benefits are greatest.

London, with its historic street pattern, increasingly dense levels of occupation, and complex and heavily used public transport infrastructure, must look ahead at the consequences and guide implementation in order to maximise the benefits. The timescale for adoption is uncertain, but is within the lifespan of currently planned developments – thus a transition from current needs to future expected scenarios must be considered.

The research project will identify the significant urban design and architectural questions and seek to inform the answers. Anticipated outputs will enable local government to guide policy as well as suggested design approaches that address the current transitional requirements and look ahead to guide future design solutions.

The Unit of the City: Vauxhall, London

To produce a theory of how London is developing today as a global city, to understand how the everyday building blocks that underpin this process are evolving and to explore the kinds of design research available to architects operating within these conditions.

Potential Future Research Topics
  • Expansion of London – under what circumstances can the Green Belt be brought into play?
  • Density and mix of uses – can one be used to unlock the other while maintaining quality?
  • Air quality – can it be affected or improved by good urban design, whether at a building, local or urban scale?
  • Technology to facilitate development – innovative design tools through to manufacturing approach to building.
  • Speed to market of – how can design improve speed to market and address need in a more targeted way?
  • Success of areas of London over time – how places become more and less successful and the design factors involved.
  • Case studies of successful development in London.
  • Technology and development – can emerging technologies facilitate greater density or improvements in quality of ‘place’? 

Invitation to work with us 

We welcome PhD proposals focusing on London and the areas of interest of the Research Centre. These may include historical research. Please contact Peter Bishop: peter.bishop@ucl.ac.uk