Integrated Urban Infrastructure Labs

Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Strathclyde


Progress is currently impeded by insufficient understanding of the performance of new infrastructure systems and technologies in situ (at an adequate spatiotemporal resolution and scale) and, crucially, how they interact

  • with each other
  • with people
  • with other technical, environmental, governance and social systems.

UKCRIC will establish a network of interlinked urban infrastructure ‘observatories’, at sites across the UK, for the digital capture, mapping, sensing, monitoring, and testing of real urban infrastructure systems over the long term. The key objective is to capture the complex interrelations and interactions of real systems with the environment, people and society. The research will be enabled by close collaboration with local government and industrial partners.

Results will be used in combination with data from experiments on infrastructure systems and sub-systems and work in modelling and simulation to construct an urban infrastructure systems model (or a federated suite of models) that can be validated and refined as our understanding improves. Particular smart urban technologies that may be investigated include

  • decentralised low carbon energy networks and local energy storage and heating solutions
  • synthetic biology applications for decentralised wastewater treatment
  • urban flood management
  • electric vehicle networks
  • transport infrastructure corridors
  • development / exploitation of BIM (Building Information Modelling) and other information architectures.


A national network of urban laboratories. Deploying sensors across a variety of urban sites, this national ‘observatory’ will enable the digital capture, mapping, monitoring and testing of real cities and infrastructure at a variety of scales, over time.