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Malaysian and UK universities come together for future cities

Sunway University and Lancaster University establish Future Cities Research Institute to progress the development of sustainable cities.

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Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, one of the Sunway Group's integrated townships. Picture: Sunway Group
Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, one of the Sunway Group's integrated townships. Picture: Sunway Group

Sunway University in Subung Jaya, Malaysia, and Lancaster University have established a new research institute to advance work on sustainable cities.

 

The Future Cities Research Institute (FCRI) is a joint collaboration, that seeks to build on existing strengths and research collaborations between the universities over the past 15 years.

 

Sustainable urban environments

 

According to the universities, the institute will complement the work of the Jeffrey Sachs Centre on Sustainability Development, and capitalise on Sunway’s leadership in developing sustainable urban environments in Malaysia as well as Lancaster’s track record and international reputation for research in “cities and surrounding hinterlands”.

 

The FCRI said it intends to develop an “innovative and agile portfolio of research, responding to the intractable challenges facing urban environments, and deliver critical step-changes relevant to their context”.

“The joint Future Cities Research Institute will focus on one of the biggest challenges facing mankind, namely, how to make cities more livable and sustainable in the future”

FCRI reports the “high quality” of interdisciplinary research will be leveraged to examine new areas of inquiry that may include: design for healthy living; people-based infrastructure; night-time urban environments; and urban food security.

 

“We are now taking the Sunway Lancaster partnership into a new phase as we extend the collaboration very firmly into the area of research,” said professor Graeme Wilkinson, vice-chancellor of Sunway University.

 

“The joint Future Cities Research Institute will focus on one of the biggest challenges facing mankind, namely, how to make cities more livable and sustainable in the future.”

 

He continued: “It is predicted that by 2050 more than 80 per cent of the population in Europe and North America and more than 60 per cent of the population in Africa and Asia will live in cities, totaling around 6.7 billion people. It is therefore entirely fitting for us to choose the challenges of urbanisation to be the focus for our first joint research institute.”

 

The FCRI claims the multi-disciplinary research it conducts will meet many of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

 

“Our efforts at Sunway are driven by our recognition that realising the SDGs is not the sole responsibility of governments. It requires the commitment of all sectors of society – the private sector, academia, civil society, and, of course, every single individual. We are all in this together,” said Tan Sri Dr Cheah, founding chairman of the Sunway Group, an urban community master planner in Malaysia.

 

Sunway Group has developed more than 5,000 acres of integrated township across Malaysia which include Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, Sunway City Ipoh, and Sunway Iskandar.

 

As part of its plan, FCRI researchers will utilise Sunway City Kuala Lumpur as a living lab. Sunway City is the group’s 800-acre township which has been transformed from a mining wasteland and is the first sustainable township certified by the Malaysian Green Building Index.

 

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