Cranfield Urban Observatory is part of a network of observatories funded through UKCRIC for rapid trialling of solutions at scale and gathering/curating large volumes of diverse data about current and proposed infrastructure.



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Cranfield is one of six universities receiving UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) funding to establish Urban Observatories as platforms for research into future infrastructure, technology and governance across the social, economic and environmental domains. Cranfield Urban Observatory is a key component of the Cranfield University living laboratory and is one of the ‘second wave’ of Urban Observatories being funded from April 2019.

At the heart of Cranfield’s Urban Observatory is a £1.05 million state-of-the-art campus-wide sensor network with associated IT infrastructure. The network harnesses the latest sensor technology and includes environmental and infrastructure sensors to monitor behaviour and factors such as air and noise pollution, customer satisfaction and water usage. The data, analytics and visualisations provided by the network can be used to view and compare infrastructure and environmental performance, quality of life and wellbeing, allowing the investigation of healthy and sustainable environments and the effects of planned change in a dynamic way.

Unlike other city-based Urban Observatories, Cranfield offers a unique combination of infrastructure including our global research airport and other near-industrial scale facilities such as our wastewater treatment works and Multi-User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation (MUEAVI), all entirely controlled by the University. Our semi-rural, peri-urban location at the centre of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc also provides an unparalleled research and learning opportunity.