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School of Environment, Education and Development


By the middle of the 21st century three in four of us will live in cities. However, what has been labelled “the new urban age” is not just about cities, but about a new mode of organising space and society that is shaping the world in which all of us live.

The University of Manchester has positioned itself as a key hub for urbanism research, with networks reaching out across continents, and extending beyond the academy into the world of policy making. Through a range of projects that transcend academic disciplines, SEED is increasingly well positioned to make a key contribution to understanding the future of cities. Our urbanism research can be grouped in the following way:

Theoretically informed

SEED staff and researchers work on advancing post-colonial, post-Marxist and post-structural agendas, as they relate to the studying of cities.

Methodologically robust

SEED research is produced using a range of methods, such as discourse analysis, ethnography, GIS, participant observation, semi-structured interviews and videoing.

Empirically grounded

SEED staff and students undertake research in the six continents of the world, using this geographical variety to interrogate assumptions that pervade academic and policy making literatures.

Impact focused

SEED’s research on cities has a strong practitioner and policy-making focus, aimed at influencing and shaping the agendas of local, regional, national and international agencies.

A multidisciplinary approach

Construction cranes in Manchester, UK

Our research on cities and the urban milieu is of a multidisciplinary nature. It is organised and delivered through the Manchester Urban Institute, which consists of a number of research groups.

Manchester Urban Institute

The Manchester Urban Institute (MUI) combines the strengths of give research groups: the Cities, Politics, Economies Research Group, the Collaboratory for Urban Resilience and Energy, the Global Urbanism Research Group, the Manchester Architecture Research Group, and the Spatial Policy and Analysis Laboratory. 

The mission of MUI is to serve as a leading academic urban institute that generates world-class research, achieves high levels of engagement and impact with non-academic stakeholders and trains the next generation of urban activists, decision-makers, researchers and scholars.

By bringing together work from across the arts and humanities, the social sciences, business and health we are committed to an increased understanding of the global urban condition - past, present and future - and to studying and changing the world through engaging with a range of global, national and local stakeholders.

World poverty

The Global Development Institute (GDI) undertakes research on poverty and destitution across the globe, and includes programmes specifically focusing on climate change within urban environments.