Submitted by Emily on
PEAK Impacts
Influencing policy: a pathway to sustainable cities

Achieving sustainable cities requires a step change in the capacity of urban actors to anticipate and plan for the challenges and opportunities of the future. PEAK Urban’s vision is that such a step change leads to future policy, practice, and investment decisions which enhance the development of ‘inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities’ (SDG11). To contribute towards this outcome, our Theory of Change commits to share research with external stakeholders and engage with decision makers around the implications of research.

Policy engagement and influencing were therefore built into the PEAK programme from the outset. The emphasis on policy engagement has already demonstrated some early impacts which point to more inclusive and equitable development.


​​​​​​​Researchers have shared accessible, multidisciplinary research outputs with non-specialist audiences; built relationships with external stakeholders at all stages of the research process; and contributed to policy planning processes at local, national, and regional levels.​​​​​​​

  1. In Colombia, PEAK researchers at EAFIT University, Medellin, influenced thinking on how utility subsidies are awarded to consumers, to ensure these reach people on the lowest incomes.
  2. At local level in Colombia, low-income resident women of the municipality of Itagüí, together with researchers from the Universities of Oxford and EAFIT, influenced the district plan to better reflect local needs.
  3. In India, The Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS) has contributed to post-COVID economic planning by sharing urban research and analysis with India’s Finance Commission.

The PEAK Urban programme uses a framework with four inter-related components to guide its work.

  1. The sciences of Prediction are employed to understand how cities evolve using data from often unconventional sources.
  2. Emergence captures the essence of the outcome from the confluence of dynamics, peoples, interests and tools that characterise cities, which lead to change.
  3. Adoption signals to the choices made by states, citizens and companies, given the specificities of their places, their resources and the interplay of urban dynamics, resulting in changing local power and influencing dynamics.
  4. Finally, the Knowledge component accounts for the way in which knowledge is exchanged or shared and how it shapes the future of the city.
Influencing Policy - a pathway to sustainable cities