UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Urban Observatories

Assessing the roles of 'urban observatories' in policy, in partnership with University of Melbourne, UN Habitat and GCRO in Johannesburg

About the project

Urban observatories can play critical roles in decision-making, providing research and analysis relevant to addressing pressing urban issues, such as those flagged in UN Habitat’s New Urban Agenda. This work, which is a collaboration between UCL and the Connected Cities Lab at the University of Melbourne, aims to catalogue and analyse activities of a diverse range of existing observatories with a view to understanding factors for effectiveness in different operating settings. While urban observatories are catalogued through activities such as the UN Habitat Global Urban Observatory (GUO), there is little centralised detailed information globally regarding the way in which these observatories operate. 

Hillbrow At Sunrise, Johannesburg by Paul Saad

This research project will catalogue existing urban observatories, and create an up-to-date database of their partners, output types and methodologies employed. Through the development of case studies and dissemination of research findings, this project aims to form an ongoing consultative and support network around the community of interest.

This project is conducted in collaboration with UN-Habitat and the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), a research agency that exists as a collaboration between two local universities and the Gauteng Provincial Government, South Africa.