The University of Lincoln is in partnership with United Nations through the Habitat UNI initiative that engages with academia and researchers. The collaboration facilitates partnerships with similar organisations and attracts research students that aspire to be the next generation of urban leaders, practitioners and researchers.

The School Architecture offers a cross-disciplinary research course (MA/MSc Settlements). This course is aimed at producing highly skilled postgraduate students suitable for employment within the United Nations or similar organisations.

The Habitat Research Group is based in the University’s School of Architecture & Design and focuses on five priority areas of the United Nations:

  • Urban Planning and Design
  • Urban Basic Services
  • Housing and Slum Upgrading
  • Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation
  • Urban Research and Capacity Development

These five priority areas are embodied in research themes led by staff with expertise and specialist knowledge in the following areas:

Disruptive urban technologies

Contact: Professor Hugh Byrd (UN Habitat Partner Focal Point)

The social and technical implications of disruptive technologies: the impacts of electricity blackouts, urban based distributed generation of electricity (DG) and its impact on urban form. Self-sufficient suburbia: solar energy, electric vehicles and smart metering

Key publications

  • Byrd, Hugh., & Matthewman, Steve. (2014). Lights Out: The Dark Future of Electric Power. New Scientist, 222 (2968), 26-27.
  • Byrd, Hugh & Matthewman, Steve (2014) Exergy and the City: the Technology and Sociology of Power Failure. Journal of Urban Technology ISSN 1063-0732, DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2014.940706
  • Byrd, Hugh and Ho, Anna and Sharp, Basil and Kumar-Nair, Nirmal (2013) Measuring the solar potential of a city and its implications for energy policy. Journal of Energy Policy, 61. pp. 944-952. ISSN 0301-4215

Impact case study

Research grants

  • British Academy: the politics of power supply in post-disaster Christchurch
  • University of Auckland: the solar potential of cities.


Urban metabolism

Contact: Prof Hugh Byrd
The relationship of urban density and infrastructure resources using the extended urban metabolism model. The provision of resources; water, power, food and processing of wastes (sewage, solid waste and CO2).

Key Publications

  • Mandal, Anindita and Byrd, Hugh (2013) Limits to Density: the Metabolism of Mumbai. Challenges of Extended Mega Urban Regions, 19-21 November, Putrajaya, Malaysia.
  • Vasquez, Victor and Byrd, Hugh (2013) Establishing an Optimal Range of Density for Sustainable Urban Form. In: Sustainable Cities: 28-30 January 2013, Consortium for Asian and African Studies (CAAS), 4th International Conference, National University of Singapore. ISBN 978-4-907877-02-6
  • Munya, Andrew and Byrd, Hugh and Haarhoff, Errol (2012) Urban agriculture as an integral part of urban growth management strategies and the implications on urban form policy: the case of Auckland NZ. In: Agriculture in an Urbanizing Society: International Conference on Multifunctional Agriculture and Urban-Rural Relations‘, 1st-4th April 2012, Wangenigen, the Netherlands.

PhD students

Anindita Mandal


Contact: Professor Hugh Byrd
Trends in migration out of cities and returning to rural subsistence lifestyles. Food and energy security in urban and rural areas.


  • Byrd, Hugh (2013) From kampong to city and back again. Magazine of the International Academic Forum (1). pp. 24-25. ISSN 2187-8935
  • Ahmad, Nur A. and Byrd, Hugh (2013) Empowering distributed solar PV energy for Malaysian rural housing: towards energy security equitability of rural communities. International Journal of Renewable Energy Development, 2 (1). ISSN 2252-4940
  • Hussain, Nur Huzeima Mohd and Byrd, Hugh (2013) Malaysia, urbanization and de-industrialization: will there be a reversal migration from city to kampong? In: Advancing innovative knowledge towards a resilient future. Victoria University, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. ISBN 9780475124111

PhD students

Nur Huzeima Mohd Hussain
Nur A. Ahmad

Informal Settlements

Contact: Professor Glen Mills
Urban design and the spatial morphology of traditional cities and informal settlements. Spatial agency and bottom up innovation in informal cities. Low income housing in the tropics. Configuration of grids: movement systems, land use patterns and urban built form.


Disasters: the edge conditions

Contact: Rosie Elvin
The negative chain reactions that occur following natural and man-made disasters with a focus on Palestine and Nepal.


  • Elvin, Rosie (2012) Edge condition: tracing the negative chain reaction resulting from the construction of the wall in Qalqilya, Palestine. In: Theoretical Currents II: Architecture and its Geographical Horizons, 4-5 April 2012, University of Lincoln
  • Elvin, Rosie (2014) Phase II planned for Lincs2Nepal shelter

Socially Responsible Design: Linking Research with Practice

Contact: Dr Primali Paranagamage

Housing: resettlement of slums and shanty dwellers, mixed income communities, the social and cultural production of the home

Key publications:

Paranagamage, Primali (2013) Changing boundaries and meanings of middle class houses in Sri Lanka. Journal of the International Society for the Study of Vernacular Settlements, 2 (4). pp. 1-21. ISSN: 2320-2661

Paranagamage, Primali (1997) Chelta Neighbourhood Project. Sri Lanka Architect, 102 (3). – create a link to working paper here on Synthesis of two approaches and pics

Bailey, Nick and Haworth, Anna and Manzi, Tony and Paranagamage, Primali and Roberts, Marion (2006)Creating and sustaining mixed income communities. Chartered Institute of housing. ISBN: 1905018193

Research Projects :

Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2006: http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/9781905018314.pdf

Sri Lanka Institute of Architects winner of competition for Neighbourhood and Master plan design for resettlement of canal Bank dwellers in Sri Lanka 1996


Lakshman Alwis, Past president Rotary Club Sri Lanka  http://rotarysrilanka.org/

Vidura Sri Nammuni Past president Sri Lanka Institute of architects http://www.slia.lk/ 

Social Sustainability & Social Capital

Urban design & social capital, walkable neighbourhoods, assessment of social sustainability. 

Key publications:

Khandokar, Fahmida and Price, Andrew and Austin, Simon and Paranagamage, Primali (2009) User-perspective on walkable neighbourhoods. Proceedings of the ICE - Urban Design and Planning, 162 (DP4). pp. 155-158. ISSN: 1755-0793

Paranagamage, Primali and Austin, Simon and Price, Andrew and Khandokar, Fahmida (2010) Social capital in action in urban environments: an intersection of theory, research and practice literature. Journal of Urbanism, 3 (3). pp. 231-252. ISSN: 1754-9175

Paranagamage, Primali and Price, Andrew and Austin, Simon and Khandokar, Fahmida (2010) Impact of urban design on social capital. Loughborough University. ISBN 9781897911365

Paranagamage, Primali and Price, Andrew and Khandokar, Fahmida and Austin, Simon (2014) Urban design and social capital: lessons from a case study in Braunstone, Leicester, UK. In: The Third World Construction Symposium 2014: Sustainability and Development in Built Environment: The way forward, 20-22 June 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Research Projects

Sustainable urban environments http://www.sue-mot.org/ - Engineering and Physical sciences research council


Braunstone New Deal for communities: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/New-Deal-cash-helped-improve-Braunstone-estate-Leicester/story-12031000-detail/story.html

Design for Health & Wellbeing


Older people's wellbeing in demographic chance, rehabilitation of street children.

Research Projects

Developing Housing prototypes for the wellbeing of older people in Lincolnshire — Research Investment Fund University of Lincoln in 2013

Street children exhibition - Google Books


Street Children exhibition: Pratt Institute Brooklyn:  Professor Stephan Marc Klein

Lincoln Institute of Health:  http://lih.lincoln.ac.uk/people-groups/#groups-and-centres

AGE UK Lincoln, CEO Michele Seddon http://www.ageuk.org.uk/lincoln/

LACE housing, CEO Nick Chambers http://lacehousing.org/  

Lincolnshire Police: Mr John Manuel http://www.lincs.police.uk/

Lincoln School of Architecture & Design. University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln. LN6 7TS
e-mail: unilincolnarts@lincoln.ac.uk
tel: +44 (0)1522 837437