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14 December 2020

CUSP London Urban Lab partnership wins Royal Geographical Society award for Excellence in Local Government

The work of students and researchers at CUSP London in using data to improve Londoner’s lives has won the 2020 Geography in Government Awards.

CUSP group
Group photo taken in 2018 at the official signing of the Statement of Intent between CUSP London and Westminster City Council.

The Centre for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) London ‘Urban Lab’ partnership with Westminster City Council (WCC) and UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) focused on launching a series of initiatives, which identified opportunities for London students to be involved in urban dataset projects which are of mutual benefit to WCC.

The Geography in Government awards celebrate excellence in geography across the public sector. Through a combination of student work placements, consultancy work, secondment opportunities and more than 20 MSc and PhD research projects, the Urban Lab partnership has generated indispensable insights and invited new perspectives to shape evidence-based policymaking. Such outcomes include:

  • Identifying distribution of and influencing factors for unauthorised short-term lets and related strategy
  • Using leisure centre data to identify and engage least physically active residents to improve health outcomes
  • Developing a Green Infrastructure Index to locate areas with high demand for green infrastructure benefits
  • Measuring footfall to help understand and inform night-time economy strategy
  • Conducting research into West End noise complaints to inform WCC’s Street Entertainment management of busking
  • Developing an app for the voluntary Soho Angels service run by WCC to support vulnerable people out at night

Commenting on recognition of the Urban Lab partnership with CASA and WCC, Dr Rita Borgo (Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at King’s Department of Informatics) said:

This is an amazing recognition for CUSP London. Beside the prestige carried by being within the few entries shortlisted for the award, it is a testimony to the hard work of the CUSP London team.

Dr Rita Borgo

The Urban Lab partnership was also recently shortlisted in the ‘Future Places’ category of the prestigious Local Government Council (LGC) awards. This award category recognises councils that have worked creatively with technology to make the area they serve more prosperous, ‘liveable’ and resilient in the face of likely social, economic, demographic, political or environmental trends.

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Rita Borgo

Head of Human Centred Computing Group