Global Report

Unleashing sustainable cities of the future

How we build cities will determine humanity's future. The UN estimates that 68 per cent of the world's population will live in cities by 2050. The unprecedented scale, form and pace of 21st-century urbanisation means the need to create cities that are sustainable, inclusive and liveable for all their people has never been greater. PEAK Urban's approach to urban enquiry and action offers a powerful way forward.

Our Global Report

A new approach to seeing and shaping cities is essential to our future in a highly interconnected world, we need global participation, to achieve the change required. To help make the world's new urban areas sustainable and inclusive, policymakers and practioners need locally relevant, transdisciplinary evidence.

PEAK Urban provides an approach for understanding individual cities, and for generating new insights and tools to inform optimum practice and policymaking for sustainable urban development worldwide.

Our Global Report profiles the PEAK disposition (how we think about cities) and the PEAK approach (what we do to improve them). 

In this report we draw on highlights from our pool of over 40 research projects, and outline key lessons from our five-year programme, before demonstrating how PEAK is helping shape the global urban agenda in the 2020s and beyond.

PEAK Urban's Approach

PEAK Urban's approach centres around four central pillars that guide research across radically different contexts:

Prediction - What can we now forecast about cities?
Emergence - What types of urban structures and systems are emerging?
Adoption - How do cities adopt new ideas and technologies?
Knowledge - How can we create and share knowledge globally and locally?

The PEAK approach has shaped over 40 innovative research projects during our five-year programme, exploring five key urban themes: city governance, health and wellbeing, sustainable cities, economic growth and migration.

This approach is designed for ongoing use by researchers, policymakers, practitioners and funders seeking to shape sustainable, inclusive cities of the future.

Theory of Change

Our Theory of Change outlines three clear pathways to impact:

  1. Conceptual advancement results pathway: High-quality academic insights underpin real-world impact.
  2. Research into use pathway: Research findings are shared with key stakeholders who make urban policy, practice and investment decisions.
  3. New ways of working pathway: Researchers and urban actors collaborate effectively, taking a panoramic perspective and addressing urban issues in a challenge-led way.
Sustainable Urban Development
A New Narrative

The PEAK Urban approach emerged from diverse global academic practice and feeds back into it, in a recurrent and iterative process, which sees urban contexts as sites for reconsideration of transdisciplinary sustainability sciences.

By using the PEAK approach, urban actors can unleash a wide range of tools to predict urban trends, understand how city systems interact and emerge, and design evidence-based interventions to promote sustainability in individual urban contexts. The approach identifies the appropriate operational space in the city to intervene, from urban acupuncture in small neighbourhoods, to city sovereignty or national regulation.