Research Methods and Tools

 Research at its most fundamental level is the systematic exploration of one’s curiosity. The questions that research addresses here at the Future Cities Laboratory are also, indeed, based on this basic sentiment of a researcher which he or she builds upon in a methodical manner.


Chiselling away on their research questions researchers require tools and approaches that are right for the job. It ranges from customizing and fabricating equipment that push the edge on current application and limits, to developing digital models and visualizations that can give them new insights into complex systems. It also includes developing maps and mapping techniques to accurately capture the phenomena they are interested to study, to building physical representations of the problem they hope to address.


Considerable effort is put into selecting the best way to deal with problems research throws in their path – and more often than not, it’s the uniqueness of the solution they develop that lights the way forward. This exhibit showcases a flavour of the wide palette of methodologies developed and employed by researchers at FCL to address the challenges of our Future Cities.


Researching the real world and developing applications for it – in the form of new technologies or policy proposals, in essence involves developing robust strategies, tools and approaches. This allows for identification and observation of processes of interest, collection of relevant data and extraction of information previously difficult to obtain or obscured.


This exhibit showcases the diversity and depth of methodologies applied and developed within FCL, broadly categorised into four groups.


  • Fieldwork – the real groundwork to inform the research, and keep it grounded in reality.
  • Mapping explores data patterns and with it, information over larger scales can be gleaned.
  • Modelling, either as visualisation of space or simulation of processes, can be powerful tools for understanding and creating current and future scenarios.
  • Lab-work allows for controlled observation and testing.

Together, these methodologies form the foundation on which research into the complex problems facing our cities can be structured.






household coord


M3 - Analysing urban land stock