UCL Urban Laboratory



UCL Urban Laboratory is a cross-disciplinary centre for critical and creative urban thinking, teaching, research and practice, based at University College London

UCL Urban Laboratory is one of UCL's best known and longest-established cross-dsciplinary research centres, formally established in 2005 by geographer Matthew Gandy as a platform for collaboration between urbanists across faculties. Since then it has significantly enhanced the national and international profile of urban teaching, research and engagement at UCL and continues to develop its distinctive contribution to urban debate, policy and practice within and beyond the academy.  

Our activities build on the full spectrum of urban research across the arts, humanities and sciences, with an emphasis on critical, creative, independent and interdisciplinary engagement and dissemination. We experiment with innovative research methods across disciplinary boundaries, practices and professions, providing a laboratory in which to address difficult urban challenges through new modes of collaboration and invention. We invite participation from diverse audiences, and share the knowledge our work produces widely.

We showcase and promote urban research at UCL which draws on a rich heritage of pioneering ideas evidenced in the work of experimental thinkers, communicators and practitioners who have taught and studied at UCL, including Patrick Abercrombie, Reyner Banham, Peter Cook, Ruth Glass, Peter Hall, Derek Jarman, Otto Königsberger, Eduardo Paolozzi and Walter Segal.

UCL Urban Laboratory builds on this heritage to make an authoritative and critical contribution to urban debate and the design and planning of contemporary cities, underpinning our interventions with rigorous analysis, historical insight, and particular attention to the social, cultural and political dimensions of urban life. Based in London, we engage with this city, and the communities that inhabit it. Drawing on extensive networks across the globe, we also attach great importance to the internationalisation of urban debate, focusing on cities across Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe.


Audience members clapping at the EDGE: Periphery symposium at Here East in October 2017. Credit: Jacob Fairless Nicholson

Activity reports

View the activities reports published by the UCL Urban Laboratory 

Cities Methodologies 2014, 'Market Top Trumps' by MSc Urban Studies students, photo by Karolina Sobel


Find out more about the institutional history of the Urban Laboratory

Lewis Biggs, Liza Fior and Amica Dall on stage at the EDGE: Periphery symposium at Here East in October 2017. Credit: Jacob Fairless Nicholson


We work with a range of organisations within and beyond the academy

Hoardings on site at UCL East

UCL East

We are playing a leading role in the new UCL East campus

Jordan Rowe, Jennifer Robinson and Clare Melhuish on stage


Find vacancies and opportunities to work with us

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