The Urban Institute was established in 2016 bringing together a group of economists, sociologists, geographers, planners and urban designers under the Directorship of Professor Mark Stephens.

We aim to generate and share through research and teaching knowledge that contributes to creating sustainable, resilient and just cities.

Our research falls into four themes:

  • Housing systems and real estate
  • Planning, infrastructure and urban design
  • Urban inequalities and poverty
  • Health and Wellbeing

Our research is supported by a wide range of funders including UK Research Councils, charities including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Nuffield Foundation, government departments and agencies, and other bodies such as the British Council.

More information about our research can be found on our News page.

Information about our staff can be found on our Staff page.

The Urban Institute is part of the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, and has an active collaboration with the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

The Urban Institute hosts editorships of Urban, Planning and Transport Research, Critical Housing Analysis, the UK Housing Review and Cities and Health.

We have a lively community of research students.

The Urban Institute provides an undergraduate degree in Urban Planning and Property Development which is accredited both by the RTPI and RICS. More recently we have established two rapidly growing Geography programmes, run jointly with the University’s Lyell Centre, one which is oriented towards physical geography and the other towards human geography.

Our post-graduate offerings include an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning, and MSc in Real Estate and Planning, which are also accredited by the RTPI and RICS. Other courses include Sustainable Urban Management, Real Estate Investment and Finance and Real Estate Management and Development.

We also offer an MSc in Urban Strategies and Design run jointly with the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

More information about these programmes can be found on our Teaching page

The Institute also supports the student-run Urban Society of Heriot-Watt.

You can follow The Urban Institute on Twitter @HWU_TUI