Why do we need SHIFT now?

More people are living in urban centres than ever before and the pressure on cities continues to mount. It’s a global trend, and challenge, that shows no signs of abating.

Over half of the world’s population live in urban areas. In the UK that number is 83% and rising. But towns and cities are coming under increasing pressures – from rising living costs, the effects of climate change and negative impacts on health and wellbeing.

Too often, it is the poorest communities in these areas that are disproportionately affected. And it is only going to get worse. These problems are too big for one individual or organisation to tackle on their own. We must act collectively now and in ways we haven’t before if we are going to stem the tide.

The big questions for us:

Climate Adaptation

Man wiping his brow in hot city

Exploring ways to increase resilience and adaption to climate change within urban areas, as well as mitigating the impact that climate risks can have on city and business operations, food security, health and livelihoods.


Woman running through city park

Improving physical and mental health outcomes with innovation focused on the urban built environment and green space, increasing provision for walking, cycling and active living as well as reducing pollution, water and soil contamination and urban heat island effects.


Busy traffic in London's financial district

Testing and proving new ways of moving people and things. Leveraging greener technologies and new thinking in urban planning, we will inform new strategies and improvements in future mobility, traffic management and infrastructure.

Open for business

We need more brilliant entrepreneurs, investors, and commissioners to join us in a spirit of collaboration and creativity, exploration and experimentation: To deliver more amazing projects. To share our approach to inclusive innovation. To shift the balance and shape the future of our cities and citizens.

Join us