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Technology Enhanced Stakeholder Collaboration For Supporting Risk-Sensitive Urban Development (TRANSCEND)

Natural disasters are becoming more common as a result of climate change. Current urban development practices do not account for these risks, leaving vulnerable communities exposed to the impacts of these natural disasters. Through the collaboration between a range of academic experts, government organisations, NGOs, and marginalized communities, this project aims to transform current urban planning practices to reduce the impact of natural disasters by developing digital solutions that allow all stakeholders to participate in risk sensitive urban planning. Cutting-edge geospatial technology will be utilized to analyse, predict, and reduce the risk of disasters and mainstream-based development risks to ensure sustainable development in the face of climate change adaptation.

The TRANSCEND project aims to investigate the nature of a socio-technical system, enabled by a collaborative foresight and consensus-building virtual workspace, which can promote an adaptive governance approach across relevant organisations and support the transparent and democratic involvement of all the relevant stakeholders (including experts from local authorities, disaster management authorities, developers, poor and vulnerable communities, and humanitarian organisations) to analyse, forecast, visualize and debate disaster-risk trade-offs and choose development plans that ensure sustainability and equitable resilience, giving considerations to climate change adaptation. A systemic approach that explores various system “views” of this socio-technical system will be adopted in achieving this aim.


  • To investigate the system conditions of the sociotechnical system necessary for establishing an adaptive government approach for transforming “silo” based approach to “participatory” urban development approach that accommodate the transparent and democratic involvement of all the relevant stakeholders that promotes equitable resilience.
  • To investigate the nature of a sociotechnical system that can be effective in facilitating learning, in encouraging local knowledge creation, ownership and active participation by vulnerable communities in influencing their local development plans for an equitable future.
  • To design and implement a collaborative foresight and consensus-building virtual workspace that can support the experimentation and validation of the system
  • To establish three Living Labs in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Malaysia as an “Experimentation and Learning Environment”, involving the local organisations and vulnerable communities, to co-design and validate the above system views for establishing an adaptive governance approach for urban development which is equitable and resilient.

TRANSCEND is a 3-year research project led by the University of Salford (UK) in collaboration with University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and also involving the University of York (UK), the University of Peshawar (Pakistan), Sustainable Development Policy Institute (Pakistan), the University of Moratuwa (Sri Lanka), and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn. This project involves research, innovation, human capital development, technology, and knowledge transfer, as well as building community resilience.