The Manchester Urban Institute (MUI) combines the strengths of the Spatial Policy and Analysis Laboratory (SPA-Lab) and other groupings.
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.
MUI aims to position The University of Manchester as the leading global location for urban research, with a combined focus on both the global north and global south.
Watch our video about the MUI.
Uniting the strengths of several research groupings, the Manchester Urban Institute (MUI) is the culmination of an impressive history of urban studies at The University of Manchester spanning more than four decades.
Making a difference to UK cities
Since the 1980s several research centres have been established with different urban specialisms in the global north.
The Centre of Urban Policy Studies was formed by Prof Brian Robson in 1983 to develop research on UK urban and regional policy, while in 2000 the Centre for Urban and Regional Ecology was set up to address the challenge facing the UK of steering our behaviour, settlements and landscapes towards more sustainable futures.
Both centres consisted largely of environmental scientists, geographers and planners and where the focus was on cities in the most industrialized economies.
Former colleagues such as Michael Bradford, Peter Dicken, Jamie Peck and Adam Tickell contributed to this agenda through their work on urban and regional restructuring in a globalising world.
A world of cities
The Global Urban Research Centre and the Manchester Architecture Research Centre (MARC) were each established in 2007, reflecting both the growing number of disciplines working on urban issues and the urbanizing of the global south.
Anthropologists, architects, development studies scholars, human geographers and planners, working on issues of urban design, housing, informality, inequality and planning, were researching cities in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia and Latin and South America.
Under Caroline Moser, GURC launched the interdisciplinary MSc Global Urban Development and Planning, which gave graduate students broad training in the challenges facing cities from around the world.
A research network
With the growing recognition that the future of cities and the future of the planet were the same and that the challenges posed required a move towards more multi-disciplinary teams, in 2010 the University of Manchester established cities@manchester.
This limited-life initiative brought together anthropologists, architects, economists, educationalists, engineers, geographers, historians, linguists, medics, sociologists, and many more disciplines.
It established the Summer Institute in Urban Studies. Through its value-enhancing activities, the initiative paved the way for the formation of the Manchester Urban Institute.
The Manchester Urban Institute (MUI)
In 2016, given the increasingly important role that cities are playing in addressing many of the most pressing global challenges, The University of Manchester united the strengths of the various centres and groups to create the Manchester Urban Institute (MUI).
MUI is one of the largest urban-focused research institutes and emphasises the University’s commitment to addressing global inequalities – one of the University’s research beacons of excellence.
World-leading research, engagement, impact, and training activities for current and future generations.
The vision of the Manchester Urban Institute (MUI) is to realise more inclusive and just cities that are both environmentally and socially sustainable for the current and future generations through world-leading research, engagement, impact, and training activities.
We deliver our vision by serving 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.