King's and Warwick to establish Centre for Urban Science and Progress

18 Jun 2014 | Network Updates | Update from University of Warwick
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King’s College London and the University of Warwick, in partnership with New York University, plan a major initiative in collaboration with the GLA and Southwark Council to launch 'CUSP London', a branch of NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress to be based at Canada Water from 2018.

The announcement was made today by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, at an event organised by Bloomberg to mark the start of London Technology Week.

London will be the first city to build upon the success of CUSP in New York, which was launched in April 2012 by Mayor Bloomberg and of which Warwick is an academic partner. In developing CUSP London, the partners will benefit from the experience in New York City, where CUSP is now established as a leader in the new field of urban science and informatics.

CUSP London will bring together researchers, businesses, local authorities and government agencies to apply urban science to improving public health and wellbeing. It will draw on the real experience and ‘big data’ available in cities, thereby using the cities themselves as living laboratories to tackle their most significant issues. CUSP London will complement the MedCity initiative which the GLA recently launched with King’s and other academic partners, and the Mayor of London’s Smart London plan.

Experts at CUSP London will use data to develop deeper understanding and practical solutions to a wide range of challenges affecting people’s everyday lives. The international partnership will also train a new generation of postgraduate and PhD level urban scientists with the skills and knowledge to benefit London and other major UK and global cities.

CUSP London represents an integral element of King’s ambitions to develop an academic and enterprise hub as part of a wider regeneration agenda in Canada Water. In October 2013 King’s purchased the former Mulberry Business Park site and received planning consent to develop 770 student residences, 4,500 sqm of offices, 33 affordable homes, a health centre and retail units.

The long term aspiration for Canada Water is to work with the Southwark Council and British Land to help create an academic environment within a new town centre at Harmsworth Quays, adjacent to the existing King’s development. CUSP London would be located on the redeveloped Harmsworth Quays site.

It is anticipated that CUSP London would generate around 180 construction jobs for two years, and once fully operational, to accommodate around 100 researchers and 500 students. CUSP London will seek development funding from public, industry and philanthropic sources.

Professor Sir Richard Trainor KBE, Principal of King’s, commented: ‘If we are to tackle the increasingly complex challenges facing London and other cities, we need initiatives like CUSP London. It will train a new generation of urban scientists, and harness expertise, research insights and big data from across the public and private sectors in order to enhance health and efficiency in increasingly populated and fast changing cities.’

Professor Nigel Thrift, Vice-Chancellor of Warwick added: ‘I welcome the launch of CUSP London, both as a researcher of the dynamics of cities, and as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick which is a partner both in the CUSP London initiative and the original CUSP in New York.  CUSP London will be a significant engine of applied urban science research, innovation and education that will work with London as a living laboratory applying research to the needs of our capital and to other great cities.’

Steve Koonin, Director of New York University’s Center for Urban Science & Progress, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome London to the CUSP family.  We are honored by their strong support of our work and the steps taken to build on our successes in New York City.  Our New York team stands ready to work with Kings College and the University of Warwick as the CUSP model is expanded abroad.’

Nigel Webb, Head of Development at British Land said: ‘British Land as a major investor in the Canada Water area and owner of Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and the adjoining former Daily Mail Print Works, welcomes today’s announcement. The potential location of CUSP at Canada Water could be an exciting new addition to the master plan British Land and the London Borough of Southwark are preparing, and be a further catalyst for employment and growth in the area. We look forward to continuing to work with King’s College London on the proposal.’

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