UNSW Cities Institute

Cities Institute Logo
Parramatta square at night lights
High-rise towers of Parramatta city CBD in Sydney WEst - aerial view towards city CBD.
Walking down Parramtta

Today, the role of cities is more pivotal than ever. It is estimated that by 2050, more than two thirds of the global population will build their lives in urban centres. The Cities Institute offers a new way of working with academic research to create real change. Our work confronts challenges and collaborates with stakeholders to identify and deliver strategic, cities-focused projects that cannot be achieved by existing centres, schools or institutes.

Cities and communities are complex, interconnected and require a systemic approach and understanding. By harnessing UNSW’s trademark disciplinary excellence across the built environment, design, economics, climate science, engineering, energy, health and social sciences, we offer holistic, commercially viable solutions that embrace a comprehensive and long term perspective.

We leverage, extend and accelerate research across all faculties within UNSW and beyond; Ensure that research is accessible and impactful, ultimately used to adjust policy, shape opinion and affect change to governance; Develop creative pathways to solutions through conversation and collaboration; Foster ongoing relationships with government, community and industry partners; Fast track innovation and productivity around public infrastructure; Are informed by a Country Centred approach; Pilot real projects that show the shift in our thinking and exemplify change in our urban environments; Include lived experiences as a source of knowledge.

Cities have been the epicentre of civilisation for millenia. Crowded, complex and rich in humanity, they have driven prosperity, inspired innovation and embodied our diversity.

A century ago, just 10 percent of the global population lived in cities. By 2050, around tho thirds of the world will seek to build their lives in urban centres.

The Cities Institute proposes a better future for people by bringing together innovative thinking around people, place and culture.

"Our real world approach gives us capacity for enquiry, passion for engagement and the technical skills to anticipate and prepare for change"

– UNSW Cities Institute

News & events

Our go-to destination for staying informed and engaged with the latest happenings! Here, we curate a dynamic collection of news articles and upcoming events to keep you in the loop on the topics that matter most.


The Institute is based in Parramatta and led by Director Professor Peter Poulet, who was appointed to this inaugural position in February 2023. Peter's leadership will guide the Institute’s delivery as an independent entity working with government and industry to reinvent cities for sustainable, healthy, prosperous, and socially just urban futures.

An architect with 35 years of experience in the private, public and the university sector and a practicing and exhibiting visual artist, Professor Poulet brings industry, government, academic and creative capability to the role. His extensive professional background includes his current role as Central City District Commissioner for the Greater Cities Commission, delivering the NSW Government’s vision for Sydney’s future and his previous appointment as NSW Government Architect from 2012 to 2018. 

The Institute has a commitment to knowledge transfer through education and innovation. We are developing a suite of educational products from a Master of Cities, Graduate Certificates, Diplomas and micro-credentialled short courses for city leaders across the globe.

Professor Claire Annesley, Dean, UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture

Collaborate with us

UNSW Cities Institute
Parramatta Innovation Hub
Parramatta NSW 2150

In the spirit of reconciliation, the UNSW Cities Institute acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, waters and community.