The City Observatory Research platfOrm for iNnovation and Analytics (CORONA) brings together a team of internationally recognised researchers and stakeholders to deliver early research outputs from the £8m UKCRIC Urban Observatories (UOs) equipment grant.

CORONA aims to demonstrate how Urban Observatories can provide new understanding about urban processes, and their interactions across sectors and scales to improve engineering and planning decisions. The research outputs from the first wave of UKCRIC cities (Newcastle, Bristol, Sheffield) will include: (a) A common framework for observation and experimentation for infrastructure and cities; (b) Protocols for deploying and managing Observatory equipment and infrastructure; (c) A strategy and technology service options (TSOs) for implementing a city data infrastructure and digitally enabled collaborative platforms; and, (d) Agreements on methods for data storage, management, governance and access to data. These outputs will be essential in informing the second wave of UKCRIC UOs and overall UKCRIC research objectives.

Buses on Blackett Street
CCTV video wall
CORONA consists of the following themes:
  • Technology and urban data architectures – Assimilation of best practice from research activities in the themes of data storage and communication infrastructure.
  • Observational framework for urban observatories: people, organisations, procedures, standards, infrastructure, governance – A review of best practice in human and organisational processes to develop a comprehensive manual to support cities developing UO platforms. A data governance policy/metadata protocol will be developed and relevant standards assessed.
  • Experimentation within the city – Development of guidance for appropriate urban baselines, temporal and special scales, experimental design, reproducibility and provenance.

Informing these themes are three place-based societal city case studies, all of which are generating value from UKCRICs capital grants programme:

For more information, contact Phil James.

This project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The network of observatories forms one of the three strands of UKCRIC.

Sheffield Urban Flows Observatory Mobius Vehicle

National urban observatory facility

CORONA is enabling knowledge sharing, accelerated learning, and supporting the development of the second-wave observatories in Cranfield, Birmingham and Manchester.


Newcastle image By Hans Peter Schaefer, [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Glasgow image By Macieklew (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Bristol image By Joe D (Own work by original uploader) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Cranfield image by Chris [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Geograph.
Birmingham image courtesy of University of Birmingham.
Manchester image by Pete Birkinshaw [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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