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Retrofit 2050: Re-Engineering the City 2020-2050 - Urban Foresight and Transition Management


Vision: To deliver a 'step change' in current knowledge and capacity to underpin the transition to urban sustainability, by working with key stakeholders to illuminate challenging but realistic social & technological options and pathways for systemic retrofitting of two core UK city regions (Greater Manchester and Cardiff/SE Wales).

Team led by Professor Eames of The Welsh School of Architecture (WSA) in collaboration with Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD), Centre for Sustainable Urban & Regional Futures (SURF) and Cambridge University Engineering Department Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD).

Aims To develop the knowledge and capability to overcome the separation between the "what" and "how" of urban scale retrofitting in order promote a managed socio-technical transition in built environment and urban infrastructure.


i. Explore and advance both theoretical and practical understandings of processes of systems innovation and transition in an urban context;

ii. Analyse through case studies, modelling and international comparison, the technical and social processes underpinning such transitions;

iii. Identify and characterise prospective disruptive technologies and systems innovations which will underpin a transition to sustainability in the built environment (over the period 2020-2030);

iv. Articulate and appraise regionally specific visions and prospective pathways for urban scale retrofitting of the built environment.


Improved societal understanding of long-term transitions (energy, water & waste) for sustainable urban retrofitting;

Mobilise expectations around clearly articulated roadmaps, pathways & scenarios for prospective disruptive technologies and systems innovations;

Integrated urban scale modelling and evaluation tool to support improved decision-making and implementation;

Practical knowledge exchange framework cities can apply to drive forward systemic retrofitting;

National & internationally leading centre on future of urban retrofitting.   

Re-engineering the city 2020-2050 urban foresight and transitional management

The Retrofit Newsletter for Spring 2014 is now available.