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.

Sheep on grass in front of skyscrapers.

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.

Join us

Want to join USAR? Send a short CV and a brief description of your current research, plus a brief outline of why you want to join USAR, to h.titheridge@ucl.ac.uk. Applications should be no longer than two sides of A4.


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

    Management team
    Academic members

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    D - F

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    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
    • Darren Lumbroso, HR Wallingford
    • Nick Martin, Poplar HARCA 
    Current industrial partners 

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    E - H

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    Research and Teaching Fellows
    Current doctoral students
    • Thanos Bantis
    • Pola Berent
    • Silvia Bertelli
    • Vera Bukachi
    • Lucila Carbonell
    • Andrew Davies
    • Loan Diep
    • 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 themes

    The Centre is currently focusing on the following areas in particular: 

    • Upscaling and downsizing – ensuring the successful transfer of urban solutions to small and medium-sized settlements globally.
    • Informal and temporary settlements – improving the wellbeing of all those living in informal, temporary and humanitarian settlements through more sustainable and resilient service and infrastructure provision.
    • Resource constrained cities – achieving equitable management of constrained resources within urban communities to meet human needs and improve quality of life, focusing on the food-transport-water-energy nexus.
    • Global to local and local to global – minimizing the effect of global service or supply chain disruption and change on local communities, and reducing the impact of local disruption on global systems.

    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.