The Alliance is built on interdisciplinarity and on maximising the benefits to be gained from working at a range of scales and approaches. We explore places and spaces over the whole life cycle, from planning, through design, construction and usage. Together, we investigate the social, economic and political factors which shape our world and the impact that our built and natural environments have on our health, wellbeing and resilience, our ability to understand our past and to plan our sustainable futures.

From strategy to live projects: We have a joint Alliance Research Committee to foster excellence in research and support a range of techniques and approaches to enquiry. We have strategy-formulating away days and focused meetings for the early exchange of information on particular research themes, including our key areas of investigation and expertise:

  • Global Cities, Spatial Planning and Place
  • Health, Wellbeing and Environment
  • Place-Making with Older Adults
  • Social Inclusion and Urban Governance
  • Housing and Property – Planning, Design and Market Operation
  • History and Heritage
  • Construction Technology and Project Management
  • Environmental Sustainability and Low Carbon
  • Design and technology

Our research booklets provide details of projects under these themes.

We are dedicated to developing the talent of postgraduate research students and early career researchers. Opportunities range from working on large, multi-institutional, Research Council-funded studies to taking a leading role on our Kick Start projects. Announced in 2011, the Kick Start programme was developed to stimulate innovative research between architects, engineers, scientists and surveyors, with one criterion being that each project had to involve both Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt researchers (preferably early career or emerging).

Carpinelo 2 in Medellín. Photo: Harry Smith.