How, in growing austerity and in facing mounting inequality and resource challenges, can cities plan and organise in participatory and effective ways?

The Young Foundation is involved in the Urban Living Pilot – Leeds: Transformational Routemapping for Urban Environments (TRUE) research project. This is an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRSRC) funded, transdisciplinary project which aims to support a better understanding of city complexity and urban infrastructural planning.

Bringing together a range of stakeholders to review and diagnose city complexity, the aim is to develop an online planning tool which speaks to ways to get different groups involved in problem identification and solution. It also aims to strengthen local capacity to respond to this complexity through collaboration, social enterprise and institutional development.

Through the mobilisation of a multi-sector consortium, the project will support a variety of partners from different sectors in Leeds to identify the key challenges confronting their city. Working with a range of knowledge and expertise, the project will apply a sociotechnical systems approach to a selection of priority ‘breakthrough projects’, addressing multiple challenges through a holistic and multidisciplinary approach.
The tool, which will be available through an open digital platform and disseminated through activities including trainings and a national conference, will provide urban policy makers and communities with an innovative framework to guide the design of integrated city-wide solutions.

The consortium is led by the University of Leeds in partnership with Leeds Beckett University, Arup Group Ltd, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, Future Cities Catapult, Leeds City Council, Leeds Community Foundation, Open Data Institute, Together for Peace T4P, Voluntary Action Leeds, West & North York Chamber of Commerce and the Young Foundation.

The Young Foundation is leading the community ethnography work which focuses on understanding how ordinary people perceive and experience city complexity and planning.

For more information on the Young Foundation’s role, please contact Dr Mary Hodgson, Director of Research on