London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one of the foremost social science universities in the world. On top of its wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, LSE researchers bring together a range of disciplinary expertise to tackle the biggest policy and societal challenges of the day.

The School is a world centre for advanced research. In the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise carried out jointly by the four funding councils for higher education in the UK, the School had the highest percentage of world leading research of any UK university, topping or coming close to the top of a number of rankings of research excellence.

LSE has a number of dedicated research centres, including the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, chaired by Professor Nicholas Stern, I G Patel Professor of Economics and Government at LSE. Professor Stern is chairing the Economic Advisory Panel of the Global Commission which will carry out an expert review of the New Climate Economy work. 

LSE Cities is another of the research centres that contribute to LSE’s broad social science research. In spearheading the Cities work programme for the New Climate Economy project, LSE Cities will be building on and extending its global research on the economics of green cities. 

LSE Cities carries out research, education and outreach activities in London and abroad. Its mission is to study how people and cities interact in a rapidly urbanising world, focussing on how the design of cities impacts on society, culture and the environment. Through research, conferences, teaching and projects, the centre aims to shape new thinking and practice on how to make cities fairer and more sustainable for the next generation of urban dwellers, who will make up some 70 per cent of the global population by 2050. LSE Cities is one of a small number of research centres that contribute to LSE’s reputation as one of the foremost social science universities in the world. With the support of Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, the centre builds on the interdisciplinary work of the Urban Age Programme, an international investigation of cities around the world that since 2005 has studied the social and spatial dynamics of metropolitan areas such as Istanbul, São Paulo, Mumbai, Johannesburg, New York City and London.

Given that cities are becoming spatially more fragmented, environmentally more destructive and socially more exclusive, LSE Cities interest as a centre is to better understand the consequences of these changes on urban society and the environment.  This problematic has shaped a set of questions which drive the research and outreach efforts of the centre:

  • What are the effects of major shifts in patterns of urbanisation and urban change on patterns of social cohesion, economic well-being and environmental equity?
  • In what way can measurement, description and understanding of socialinequalities and disruptions in cities inform urban policy, especially in the areas of urban design, social well-being, environmental efficiency and urban governance?
  • How do underlying physical attributes of cities (density, typology, integration, infrastructure, accessibility, functional distribution) affect the social, economic and environmental performance at the macro and micro level of cities and the people who live in them?


LSE Cities’ research falls under three overarching strands: Cities, Space and Society; Cities, Environment and Climate Change; and Urban Governance.

Current and past research, under the Cities, Environment and Climate Change strand, includes:

  • The Economics of Green Cities: Case Studies of Green Economy Leaders. An investigation into the economic rationale for cities to undertake early-action green policies, and, identifying the most promising programmes, institutions and tools that allow urban policy-makers to implement, measure and monitor green city policies.
  • Going Green: City Survey and Case Study on Green Policy and Sustainable Growth. This project is based on a survey of 100 cities and eight case study cities and addresses key questions on how city governments and other actors are engaging with policies that promote the green economy.
  • United Nations Economy Programme (UNEP) Green Economy Report. The Green Economy Report (GER) sets out a macro-economic case for increasing public and private investments in the ‘green sectors’ and LSE Cities was commissioned to coordinate the research and delivery of two main chapters and supporting and technical reports on Green Buildings and Green Cities.
  • Intelligent Cities: New Urban Mobility. Based on a large representative household survey this research will establish the first international categorisation of new urban living and mobility life-style groups and segments in London and Berlin, offering a more detailed demographic and behavioural perspective on potential markets for new urban mobility.
  • Reconciling Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development for Cities (RAMSES). This EU-FP7 funded, 5-year research collaboration aims to identify quantified evidence of the impacts of climate change and the costs and benefits of a wide range of soft (e.g. land use planning) and hard (e.g. infrastructure alteration) climate change adaptation measures.
  • Cities and Energy: Urban Morphology and Residential Heat Demand. This research investigated the impact of basic building configurations on a modelled, theoretical heat energy demand for the most dominant residential housing typologies in London, Paris, Berlin and Istanbul.
  • Randstad/South East England Seminar Series and Research Project. A two-year study of sustainability at a regional scale – comparing the multi-centred Randstad region in Holland with the mono-centric model of London and the South East of England.

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