Busy street of cars and pedestrians in Nairobi, Kenya

Future Cities Research Institute

Tackling the challenges of global urbanisation

Future Cities Research Institute Overview

This new joint research institute between ܽƵ and will be based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It builds on existing strengths in Sunway and Lancaster. The Future Cities Research Institute (FCRI) complements the work of the , and capitalises on Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah’s pioneering leadership in developing sustainable urban environments.

The Institute will maximise the impact of the wide variety of relevant, world-leading research undertaken at ܽƵ, and build on existing research collaborations between the two institutions.

The FCRI will create an innovative, interactive platform for collaborative research, training, education and engagement across the future cities' agenda. Its interdisciplinary approach to research will support international collaboration to tackle global challenges and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Alan Milburn and Tan Sri Dato Seri standing on a podium shaking hands
The Rt Hon Alan Milburn and Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah at the opening of the FCRI.
A busy Hong Kong street at night, full of pedestrians, buses and neon signs

FCRI Vision and Purpose

Our Vision is to become the go-to urban research centre that shapes the global agenda and trains the next generation of truly international & interdisciplinary researchers across the Global South and Global North.

Our Purpose is to make a major contribution to the global conversation on sustainable cities, in their broadest terms, helping to tackle major global challenges associated with rapid urbanisation which will bring together the Global South and Global North.

International challenges demand huge answers. For us, it starts with bringing together expertise from across disciplines and organisations, reaching across the world to collaborate, co-design and connect. It gives us the power to rise to the challenge of achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals in the UK, Malaysia, the Southeast Asian Region and beyond. Together, we can unlock more fulfilling lives. The world we want to be part of, we can build together.

Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves, FCRI Co-Director at ܽƵ, September 2021


We believe that we all have the right to live in cities that cater for the environment, promote health and wellbeing, protect us from natural and human-made disasters and make use of the latest digital technologies to serve humanity. Therefore, will be working towards the development of cities that are: Sustainable, Liveable, Resilient and Digital.

Digital Cities: Under this theme we shall be exploring new ways of exploiting technology in the cities of tomorrow, but at the same time seeking to understand their possible social impact.

Sustainable Cities: Research under this theme focuses on how to improve life for those living in cities today and how to reduce the impact they have on the areas around them.

Liveable Cities: this theme will explore how to prevent disease and enhance urban health as well as ageing well, at the same time seeking to understand what it means to live well in the city.

Resilient Cities: will be focusing on how to make cities as well as communities and citizens more resilient, agile and adaptable to climate change and other global challenges, such as future pandemics.

LICA Design Show - two women looking at a design

Our Values:?

Take the unconventional perspective: We believe that if we do today what we did yesterday we will end up with the same results. That is why for us, making sustainable change requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone, exploring new ways of working. Co-developing solutions with all our stakeholders is the only way to implement solutions that are feasible, acceptable and sustainable.

Push the boundaries: Our current complex issues can no longer be solved with pre-set responses. They require, more than ever, creative and future-oriented solutions that anticipate (not only problems but envisioned opportunities) rather than react to problems, going beyond, co-developing better futures which are inclusive, respect diversity, and fair.

Learn from everyone: Innovation happens at the boundary of disciplines and global challenges require us working together with all stakeholders and fields. We believe this is the best way to solve wicked-problems’ and to learn from past mistakes.

Take a global perspective and do what is right:Global challenges require local answers. Protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity is everyone’s business, no matter where we were born or live, our race, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs or socio-economic status. That’s why, for us taking a global perspective starts from looking into contexts locally, and doing what is socially responsible and fair, is the perfect vehicle for addressing some of the biggest issues facing billions of people across the world.

Mutual exchange and collaborations - International challenges demand huge answers. For us, it starts with bringing together expertise from across disciplines and organisations, reaching across the world to collaborate, exchange, co-design and connect.