The Nations of Towns research group brings together academics from the two institutions to address challenges such as collecting useful data on towns, sustainability, poverty, polarisation, home building for different groups, the role of community, and the identity of towns.
In Ireland approximately two-thirds of the population live in or are dependent on a town (CSO and NIRSA, 2011), and in Scotland 70% live in towns and rural areas (2016 mid-term Census). Scotland and the island of Ireland also have comparable populations and the nations are closely bonded by shared histories, cultures, challenges and potential.
UCD and University of Edinburgh signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) in 2018 to develop closer collaboration between both universities, and Nations of Towns aims to be recognised as a new focus under this existing MoA. The team will consider the cultural, social and economic life of both nations, and how towns could be part of a just transition to a post-pandemic, post-carbon and post-Brexit future. They aim to work on shared challenges, through pooling of knowledge and experience, joint funded research projects, pedagogy and training.