A new collaboration between the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) and University College Dublin’s (UCD) Centre for Irish Towns (CfIT) has been set up to explore the past, present and possible future for towns in Ireland and Scotland.

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.

Nations of Towns

"Their collaboration launched in March 2021 through a joint webinar with speakers from both institutions as well as people who work in design practice and local government in both nations. Their second event will be held online on the mornings of 25 and 26 November 2021."

Nations of Towns are inviting colleagues from UCD and University of Edinburgh to take part in the event and to contribute to the interactive session on the second day which will involve academics, practitioners, stakeholders and policymakers in generating ideas for cross-border, trans-disciplinary research and knowledge exchange projects. Day one will be an update on the Nations of Towns initiative followed by presentations on funding and policy context. Day two will be an interactive workshop in small groups with a range of stakeholders. Attendees can join for both or either of the days.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the event with a member of the team then please contact Iain Scott: Iain.scott@ed.ac.uk.

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