Smarter Urbanisation and Rapid Growth

Hyderabad – new growth in India
Smarter Urbanisation and Rapid Growth (SURGe) is an experimental initiative of Dr Nicholas Falk and the new URBED Trust to transfer good practice and encourage innovation in sustainable development through support to SCAD (Social Change and Development) in Tirunelveli in Southern India. The support includes funding a project manager and the building of a number of experimental houses. This website will continue to expand, and will draw lessons from across Europe so they can be used in training courses, and provide access to additional sources of expertise.

Recent project developments

Indian Urban Futures II: How should medium sized cities grow? A second Indian Urban Futures symposium has been announced in collaboration with the Urban Design Group and Westminetsr University for the 31st of May. This symposium follows up a highly successful event a year ago, and will draw together practitioners, researchers and others with an interest in  sharing good practice with cities undergoing rapid growth. The theme this year is on ‘Going to Scale’.

Dr. Nicholas Falk hosts a workshop at the UK’s National Urban Design Conference. On the the 8th of September during the National Urban Design Conference held in Manchester, UK, Dr. Nicholas Falk will host a workshop and presentations on Asian Cities Routes to Smarter Urbanisation featuring the Urban Designer and Researcher Rowan Mackay.
Future Proofing India’s Medium-Sized Cities. SURGe director Dr. Nicholas Falk features in the latest City Observer journal, produced by Urban Design Collective – a non-profit organisation working as a collaborative platform to promote livable and sustainable cities through community engagement. The essay iterates his thoughts on the potential of action planning Garden Cities in India.
‘What Future for India’s Urban Areas?’ – Read the report on our latest symposium. The aim of the symposium was to generate interest in creating new forms of affordable housing in medium sized cities facing rapid growth in the Indian sub continent, and to draw out ideas for future work to connect Indian and British cities. Some 40 people took part, including many urban designers with Indian backgrounds or connections.

News in the field

China partners with World Green Building Council

The World Green Building Council announced a partnership with the China Green Building Council on Monday that could have significant repercussions, considering that China is the largest building construction market in the world with up to 20 billion square meters constructed annually.

Village, a Country and the Discipline: economic development in Palanpur over seven decades.

What can insights from seven decades of research in Palanpur tell us about economic development, inequality and prospects for India? This recording of a lecture at the LSE brings together experts from many LSE departments and centres to bring insights into current cutting edge research into the Indian economy.

Rising heat and humidity levels sparks concerns across South Asia  The journal Science Advances published a report stating that the ‘wet-bulb temperatures’ that provide an upper limit on human survivability are projected across South Asia by the late 21st Century under business-as-usual scenarios of greenhouse emissions. (BBC)



With Local 2030, the U.N seeks to turbocharge its engagement with cities. The United Nations leadership in July unveiled a broad and potentially far-reaching new strategy to bolster the ability of cities to implement their own sustainable development priorities. The initiative also may fundamentally reorient how the U.N. system works at the local level. (Citiscope)

The Project

Find out about why SURGe was started, the context of the problems it aims to tackle, and the organisations that will be involved.


Learn about the experimental eco-houses SURGe plans to develop in Tirunelveli, and the 7 innovations that they will utilise.


Access case studies and reports showcasing the best practice found across the world for achieving sustainable and innovative design.



Keep up with the progress of the SURGe project, learning what has been and past, and what is still yet to come.

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SURGe has been funded and supported by the URBED Trust, a newly created foundation awaiting charitable status with the goals of promoting research and the discussion of cities, urban regeneration, and urbanism. The Trust’s main aims are to promote research into city development across the world, and to act as a forum for debate and discussion.

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