UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience

USAR carries out world-leading, interdisciplinary research into sustainability and resilience in the urban environment. We manage postgraduate programmes and work with industry and NGOs.


The Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience (USAR) is a multidisciplinary research and training centre based in the UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering.

Our mission is to bring about, through cross-disciplinary approaches, the new insights and true innovation required to deal with the complex, multi-faceted nature of the challenges facing our cities, particularly problems related to managing urban infrastructure and providing key services to promote wellbeing in a resource constrained and changing world.  We aim to work closely with industry to ensure the solutions we develop are practical and have the potential to provide real change.

Established in 2008, USAR manages MRes and doctoral programmes supervised by academics from across UCL. Our programmes attract students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds including planning, geography, architecture, engineering, economics and anthropology. Our industry partners come from small-to-medium sized enterprises, government and non-government organisations and multi-national corporations. We regularly host visitors and coordinate a successful conference series (see below for further details).


    Please note, some links below may be to external sites.

    Management team
    Academic members

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    D - F

    G - I

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    M - O


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    V - Z

    Industrial Advisory Committee 
    • Heather Macklyne, EPSRC
    • Geoff Darch, Anglian Water Services Ltd
    • Judith Sykes, Useful Simple Projects
    • Lizzie Babister, Habitat for Humanity
    • Kate Young, CH2M HILL
    • Nathan Baker, ICE
    • John Twigg, ODI
    • Darren Lumbroso, HR Wallingford
    • Nick Martin, Poplar HARCA 
    Industrial partners 

    A - D

    E - H

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    M - P

    Q - T

    U - Z

    Research and Teaching Fellows
    Current doctoral students
    • Thanos Bantis
    • Pola Berent
    • Silvia Bertelli
    • Vera Bukachi
    • Lucila Carbonell
    • Andrew Davies
    • Loan Diep
    • Kurtis Garbutt
    • Vivien Kizilcec
    • Athanasios Kourniotis
    • Rachna Leveque
    • Enrique Lopez Arroyo
    • Victoria Maynard
    • Sabrina Peters
    • Felipe Rivera Jofre 
    • Philippa Ross
    • Siva Sivakanthan 
    • Margaret Stephenson
    • Lewis Sullivan
    • Berill Takacs
    • Loretta Von der Tan 
    • Zhengyue Wan 
    • Fizah Zainudin

    Research training and teaching

    Are you looking for a supervisor?

    You can view the research interests of all UCL academics via UCL Iris.  See our People section above for academics currently supervising projects within USAR.   

    USAR welcomes applications for the following degree programmes and courses:

    Urban Sustainability and Resilience MRes

    Students will learn about the research process and research methodologies and gain an understanding of policies, processes, technologies and materials available to shape future urban environments. Students can specialise by selecting modules from across a wide range of different topics and disciplines.

    Visit the Urban Sustainability and Resilience MRes programme page.

    Urban Sustainability and Resilience EngD

    This programme provides students with the opportunity to tackle a challenging research problem identified by industry as critical to improving our urban environment and our wellbeing. The programme includes a taught element that focuses on technologies and methodologies that will both increase the resilience and support the sustainability of our urban systems and infrastructure.

    Please note, this is a four-year programme. Students undertake the MRes in year one followed by the three-year engineering doctorate in years two to four.

    Visit the Urban Sustainability and Resilience EngD programme page.

    Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering MPhil/PhD

    Students undertaking the MPhil/PhD programme in the multidisciplinary environment of the Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience benefit from working within a vibrant community of researchers. This programme can be studied full or part time and though there is no compulsory taught element, students may choose to audit modules that would support their research. If your research interests align with those of the centre please mention in your personal statement if you would like to study with us.

    Visit the Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering MPhil/PhD programme page. 

    CPD and Distance Learning

    We are currently developing CPD modules based on our world class teaching and research. More information will be available soon.

    USAR conference series 

    The Urban Sustainability and Resilience conference series brings together international experts from industry, government and academia across a wide range of science, engineering and social science disciplines. It provides an opportunity to address some of the most significant issues faced by humanity in this Anthropocene period. Such challenges have to be resolved urgently in order to secure sustainable lifestyles and resilient urban systems for future generations. To date, there have been three conferences in this series, the most recent of which took place in 2017 at the Building Centre in London, UK.

    2017 Conference themes

    • Achieving both sustainable and resilient cities
    • Resilient infrastructure
    • Green infrastructure
    • Urban recovery post-disaster
    • The circular economy

    2017 Conference links 

    2017 Conference keynote speakers

    • Professor Jon Coaffee (Resilient Cities Lab, PAIS/WISC University of Warwick, CUSP New York University). 
    • Robert Muir-Wood MA Ph.D. (Chief Research Officer at Risk Management Solutions).

    2017 Conference panel debate 

    How do we accommodate urban population growth in a sustainable and resilient way in future cities?

    2017 Conference panel debate abstract 

    Given current projections of an additional 2.5 billion people living in cities globally by 2050 (UN DESA, 2014), what does a sustainable and resilient future city look like?  Whose vision is the right one and how do we decide?  Is it a smart-city, an eco-city or a healthy city, for example?  How do these multiple visions of future cities combine to produce cities that are both sustainable and resilient?  How will this play out in the global south compared to the global north?  What do these visions of future cities mean with respect to poverty, inequality and informality?

    2017 Conference panel members
    • Mr Aaron Burton, Director of Policy and Innovation, Waterwise;
    • Dr Tom Herbstein, Programme Manager, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership;  
    • Mr Dan Ringelstein, Director of Urban Design and Planning, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Inc.;
    • Dr Jo Williams, Senior Lecturer, Bartlett School of Planning, UCL;  
    • Chair: Professor Sarah Bell.