Urban Automation and Robotics

Innovation in automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) presents challenges and opportunities for cities. Across multiple sectors – including healthcare, transportation, food production and security – automated urbanism is changing our interactions within, and experiences of, the city.

Opportunities to support urban living, manage services more efficiently and respond to ecological turbulence are set against issues of morality, trust, control and widening social disparities.

The programme undertakes conceptual and empirical work to understand how innovations in automation, robotics and AI are shaping urban experiences, decision-making and infrastructures.

Research Questions

– Can urban automation and robotics be understood as a distinctive socio-technical field and what are their potential urban implications?
– How are experiments in automation, robotics and AI shaping decision-making and processes in different domains of urban life?
– What forms of humanmachine interactions are developing and how do they shape our capabilities and experiences?
– How is non-human decision-making creating more adaptable and/or centralised logics of urban control?

The team

Director: Aidan While

UI members: Simon MarvinRachel Macrorie | Andy Lockhart | Mateja Kovacic

Associates: Desiree Fields | Pauline McGuirk | Noor Ahmad Basri | Bei Chan


Papers and reports



Research projects