The Urban Living Partnership

The Urban Living Partnership, a first-of-its-kind investment by the seven UK Research Councils and the government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, brought citizens together with university researchers, local authorities and over 70 partners from business and the third sector in five multidisciplinary pilot initiatives aimed at rewriting the blueprint for the evolution of our city living.People living in the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle & Gateshead and York benefitted from a new approach to urban research that put them in the driving seat to help improve health, wellbeing and prosperity in their cities. Taking a ‘whole city’ approach the initiative brought together a unique body of expertise cutting across over 20 disciplines including civil engineering, computer science, planning, psychology, management, arts and humanities, the creative industries and health sciences.
While each project faced distinct challenges, they also share common goals – such as empowering citizens to co-design their future cities, and finding ways to turn grand challenges into mutually beneficial business opportunities, leading to greater health, wellbeing and prosperity. A key feature of these projects was their diversity, spanning disciplines and sectors. The Newcastle partnership, for example, includes among its partners Newcastle City Council; The Royal Society for Arts North East; Tyne and Wear Urban Traffic Management Centre; TechCity; the Federation of Small Businesses; the Newcastle Schools Forum; Northumbrian Water; and IBM Europe’s Intelligent Operations and Resilience programme – which provides data visualisation and deep analytics to help city agencies enhance their efficiency and planning.

There were five Urban Living Pilot projects sitting within the UT portfolio: