Current funded projects within Research on Property and Planning

Find out more about current RPP projects.


  • Administrative Data Research Centre
    Funder: ESRC / HSC R&D Public Health Agency
    Duration: 31st March 2018 – 31st March 2021
    Staff Involved: Dr Michael McCord; Sean MacIntyre

    This project is part of a UK wide multi-million pound ESRC investment, known as the Administrative Data Research Partnership (ADRP). Alongside investments in Scotland and Wales, ADRC-NI in Northern Ireland is a joint investment with Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), Ulster University (UU) and the Northern Ireland Statistics Research Agency (NISRA) working together as stakeholders to strategically acquire and curate administrative data and make these available to researchers in a secure way. This project delivers approved Strategic Impact Programs (SIPs) of policy led research using available data to address major societal challenges to improve public service provision across a range of areas including education, housing and health and social care.

    The key outcomes of the project are:

    • Evidence based findings for enhancing social mobility and neighbourhood stagnation through the assessment of social mobility and community determinants of social distress
    • Evidence based findings for enhancing physical healthcare/outcomes of people with severe mental illness (SMI)
    • Evidence based findings for aging population, comorbidy and service use, examining health outcomes associated with service use for those persons age 60+. This includes examination of comorbidities, delayed discharges from hospital and attendant outcomes associated with urban/rural health inequalities (and rural pockets of deprivation and relative rural isolation)
  • Analysis system for gathered raw data (ASGARD)
    Funder: EU: H2020
    Duration: 01 September 2016 – 31 August 2019
    Staff Involved: Dr ME Haran; Dr JR Topping; Dr DJ Morrow; Prof C Gormley-Heenan; Dr M McCord; Dr PT Davis; Dr J Byrne; Dr J McCord

    ASGARD has a singular goal, contribute to Law Enforcement Agencies Technological Autonomy and effective use of technology. Technologies will be transferred to end users under an open source scheme focusing on Forensics, Intelligence and Foresight (Intelligence led prevention and anticipation). ASGARD will drive progress in the processing of seized data, availability of massive amounts of data and big data solutions in an ever more connected world. New areas of research will also be addressed. The consortium is configured with LEA end users and practitioners "pulling" from the Research and Development community who will "push" transfer of knowledge and innovation. A Community of LEA users is the end point of ASGARD with the technology as a focal point for cooperation (a restricted open source community). In addition to traditional Use Cases and trials, in keeping with open source concepts and continuous integration approaches, ASGARD will use Hackathons to demonstrate its results. Vendor lock-in is addressed whilst also recognising their role and existing investment by LEAs. The project will follow a cyclical approach for early results. Data Set, Data Analytics (multimodal/ multimedia), Data Mining and Visual Analytics are included in the work plan. Technologies will be built under the maxim of "It works" over "It's the best". Rapid adoption/flexible deployment strategies are included. The project includes a licensing and IPR approach coherent with LEA realities and Ethical needs. ASGARD includes a comprehensive approach to Privacy, Ethics, and Societal Impact respecting fundamental rights. ASGARD leverages existing trust relationship between LEAs and the research and development industry, and experiential knowledge in FCT research. ASGARD will allow its community of users leverage the benefits of agile methodologies, technology trends and open source approaches that are currently exploited by the general ICT sector and Organised Crime and Terrorist organisations.

  • Bridging the gap: Private investment in future infrastructure provision
    Funder: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
    Duration: 01 March 2018 – 31 May 2020
    Staff Involved: Prof ME Haran; Dr M McCord; Dr PT Davis; Dr D. Lo; Dr J McCord

    This research enhances understanding of the infrastructure investment landscape within six countries, namely Canada, China, India, Singapore, the UK and the US. The research explores the drivers behind the growth in private investment and places specific emphasis on investment into greenfield infrastructure projects and includes an exploration of the factors constraining project development pipelines and the implications for private investors. Through a comprehensive series of interviews with investors, developers, policy makers and advisers, the research produced an evidence base to inform the discussion on the growth of private infrastructure provision, on future policy developments and on the evolution of infrastructure as an investment asset class. Findings across the six countries highlight that improved facilitation of investment by policy makers (including more innovative exploration of partnership-based funding solutions) would relieve pricing pressures and ensure that the build-up of capital within the private investment universe is deployed, helping to close the global infrastructure investment ‘gap’. Our research has also shown that more efficient procurement and investment models for greenfield projects would also enhance private sector investment flows, which in turn would contribute to the realisation of the societal and economic benefits associated with new infrastructure provision.

  • Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM)
    Funder: EU: H2020
    Duration: 01 Feb 2018 – 31 Jan 2021
    Staff Involved: Prof M Haran; Dr P Davis; Dr M McCord; Dr D Lo; Prof S McGreal; Prof J Berry, Prof P Griffiths

    The overall objective CRREM project is to accelerate the decarbonisation and climate change resilience of the EU real estate sector by providing appropriate science-based carbon reduction pathways at property, portfolio and company level. CRREM aims to integrate carbon efficiency and retrofit requirements into investment decisions by evaluating and clearly communicating the downside financial risks associated with a low energy performance and quantifying the financial implications of stricter regulatory environment regarding carbon intensity on the building stock (so-called risk of stranded-assets). CRREM has produced clear Science Based Targets for the sector, a tool/framework to assess risk and qualitative reporting templates, which will contribute to accelerate the decarbonisation of the EU building stock to “2-degree-readiness”. CRREM will apply a sectoral decarbonisation approach to downscale EU’s carbon reduction commitments (INDCs) to the Paris Agreement to sector and building level. The project consortium comprises industry partners IIO (Austria) and GRESB (Netherlands) along with three academic partners including Ulster University, University of Alicante (Spain) and Tilburg University (Netherlands).

  • Community based comprehensive recovery (COBACORE)
    Funder:  EU: FP7
    Duration: 01 May 2013 – 30 April 2016
    Staff Involved: Prof ME Haran; Dr M McCord; Dr PT Davis; Prof WS McGreal; Dr L Galway; Prof AJ Moore

    The COBACORE project which is focused on improving collaboration between stakeholders and more effectively harnessing the resources and skills of affected communities in the event of a disaster has entered the final year of its commission. The data framework and platform developed by BERI staff in collaboration with the Computer Science Research Institute (CSRI) and Ulster University spin-out company SPATIALEST was tested and evaluated as part of a three-day 'live-exercise' which took place in Weimar Germany on the 26-28th October 2015. Organized by the International Red-Cross and Red Crescent Society in collaboration with the German and Dutch Red Cross the event involved the 'game-simulation' of a real life disaster event with more than 250 volunteer responders and community participants using the COBACORE concept in order to improve resilience and enhance the effectiveness and co-ordination of recovery and reconstruction efforts.

  • Community Participation in Planning (CPiP)
    Funder: European Union’s (EU) Erasmus+
    Duration: 01 January 2015 – 31 December 2016
    Staff Involved: Dr Gavan Rafferty

    Community Participation in Planning (CPiP) was a two-year collaborative project involving Ulster University (UK), Community Places (UK), the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and the Politecnico di Milano (Italy), exploring the concept, application and teaching of participation in planning activities. The project focused on understanding how different communities participate in planning processes, across the three case study geographies (Aveiro, Belfast and Milan), that shape how places evolve and how public services are designed and delivered. A core ambition of CPiP, aligned with the European Union’s (EU) Erasmus+ programme, was to enhance (higher) education and training activities that fostered innovative ways to engage participates in planning processes.

    The CPiP project objectives were to:

    • Develop a shared understanding of participation operating in different planning systems across the partnering European countries.
    • Explore how communities of interest, place, practice, and learning can be more meaningfully involved in planning processes e.g. local area planning and community (or integrated public service) planning.
    • Co-design and test different ways of empowering stakeholders to shape local services and place-making functions
    • Share ideas and exchange good practice and learning amongst the range of participants involved in the project – and to share this learning with others
    • Enhance the quality and relevance of the learning offered in higher education modules by informing curriculum development and innovative approaches on engagement in planning processes.
  • Community participation in planning (CPiP)
    Funder: European Union’s (EU) Erasmus+ programme
    Duration: 01 January 2015 – 31 December 2016
    Staff Involved: Mr G Rafferty

    This is a two-year collaborative project involving Ulster University (UK), Community Places (UK), the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and the Politecnico di Milano (Italy) to explore the concept, application and teaching of participation in planning activities. It is particularly interested in understanding how different communities are able to participate in planning processes that shape how places evolve and how public services are designed and delivered. CPiP is funded through the European Union's (EU) Erasmus+ programme, supporting education and training activities in order to foster quality improvements and innovation across a range of sectors.

  • Community planning and spatial planning in the Irish border region
    Funder: Special EU Programmes Body under EU INTERREG IVA
    Duration: 01 August 2014 – 31 December 2014
    Staff Involved: Mr G Rafferty; Prof G Lloyd

    This research project explores the interface between land-use planning and community planning in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – with a specific focus on the Irish border region. The purpose of this study is to provide insight on the impetus and essence of different contexts to emerging community planning approaches on the island of Ireland. This research was supported by the Cross-Border Spatial Planning and Training Network (CroSPlaN II) programme managed by the International Centre for Local and Regional Development (ICLRD), funded by the Special EU Programmes Body under EU INTERREG IVA.

  • Holistic approach to resilience and systematic actions to make large scale urban built infrastructure secure (HARMONISE)
    Funder: EU: FP7
    Duration: 01 June 2013- 31 May 2016
    Staff Involved: Dr PT Davis; Dr I Haran; Dr KE Boyce; Dr M McCord; Prof ME Haran; Dr TJ Hyde; Prof WS McGreal; Dr F Browne; Dr R Bond; Prof Hui Wang; Dr L Galway
    This project involves an international consortium of academics, research organisations, large industrial partners and SME's. It aims to address urban resilience challenges, specifically focusing on enhancing the resilience of large scale built infrastructure. HARMONISE will seek to develop comprehensive, holistic resilience enhancement of projects at the planning and design stages right through to ensuring the resilience of established infrastructure. Ultimately, HARMONISE aims to improve the design and planning of urban areas, increasing their security and resilience to new threats.
  • House price, rents and affordability
    Funder: Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE)
    Duration: 01 January 2016 - 31 December 2018
    Staff Involved: Prof WS McGreal, Prof AS Adair, Dr M McCord, Dr M Hinch

    This project has six main themes all related to different aspects of the Northern Ireland housing market. The first concerns analysing the performance of the private housing market based on sale prices achieved. The key data requirements are price type, age, size, location and other property characteristics. Output is in the form of a quarterly report, The Northern Ireland Quarterly House Price Index. The second aspect is the production of a parallel report based on the asking price of dwellings in Northern Ireland. For the index based on the asking price of dwellings, the research draws on properties advertised through propertynews.com. The key underlying data requirements are the asking price of property, property type, location and other characteristics which reflect those for the index based on sale price. The third aspect of the study is an index of rents in the private rented sector across Northern Ireland which has resulted in the production of a half yearly report on the rental market. Affordability issues are at the forefront of the fourth and fifth strands of the study namely an affordability index based on the ratio of sale prices to incomes and in the rental markets affordability based on the ratio of private sector rents to income. The final element of the study is a GIS mapping tool and a visualization of spatial aspects of the analysis in conjunction with Spatialest.

  • House prices, rents and affordability
    Funder: NIHE
    Duration: 04 April 2019 – 03 April 2022
    Staff Involved: Dr Michael McCord; Dr John McCord; Dr Martin Hinch; Dr Peadar Davis; Prof Martin Haran; Mr Sean MacIntyre

    This 3-year research project funded by the NIHE provides key and strategic data and data analytics and reporting for examining the performance of the NI housing market. This encompasses various dimensions including housing market performance, the performance of the private rented sector (PRS) and insights into housing market affordability in the homeownership and rental markets which takes account of the deposit gap that home purchasers need to bridge and how that impacts on ability to access the housing market. This project provides the NIHE and wider audiences with transparent evidence of market performance, the basis for NIHE to align their strategic housing need assessments and housing monitor and investment plans. It is also provides key national governmental departments such as the ONS with data for producing the development of macro-economic indicators for NI and contributes to the UK official statistics such as the determination of gross family expenditure statistics, a number of official inflation measure statistics (IPHRP, CPI and CPIH) for Northern Ireland and evidence based benchmarks and directly for informing social policy setting providing direct evidence for determining Local Housing Allowance analysis and housing benefit in private sector, social rents and valuing social dwellings and policy for directing social housing investment and development.

    The following key outcomes for the project are as follows:

    • The production of a NI wide quarterly house price performance index
    • The production of NI wide half-yearly rental performance index
    • The production of an NI wide annual housing market Affordability index
    • The production of an NI wide annual rental market Affordability index
    • The production of an NI wide annual Asking price performance index
  • Impact of extreme weather on critical infrastructure (INTACT)
    Funder: EU: FP7
    Duration: 01 May 2014 – 30 April 2017
    Staff Involved: Dr M McCord; Prof ME Haran; Dr PT Davis; Prof NJ Hewitt; Prof WS McGreal; Dr WJ Rodgers; Dr J Liu; Dr R Bond; Prof Hui Wang; Dr I Haran

    Resilience of Critical Infrastructure (CI) to Extreme Weather Events (EWE) is one of the most demanding challenges for both government and society. Extreme Weather (EW) is a phenomenon that causes severe threats to the well-functioning of CI. The increased frequency and intensity of EWEs can cause a range of complex challenges to the operational resilience of CI. The economic and societal relevance of the dependability and resilience of CI is obvious, infrastructure malfunctioning and outages can have far reaching consequences and impacts on economy and society. The cost of developing and maintaining CI is high if it is expected to have a realistic functional and economic life (50+ years). Hence, future EWEs must be taken into account when considering protection measures, mitigation measures and adaption measures to reflect actual and predicted instances of CI failures. The INTACT project addresses these challenges and brings together innovative and cutting edge knowledge and experience culminating in the INTACT decision support system that facilitates cross-disciplinary and cross-border data sharing as well as providing for a forum for evidence based policy formulation.

  • Inspiring citizens participation for enhanced community policing actions (INSPECT)
    Funder: EU: H2020
    Duration: 01 May 2015 – 30 April 2018
    Staff Involved: Prof ME Haran; Dr JR Topping; Dr DJ Morrow; Prof C Gormley-Heenan; Dr M McCord; Dr PT Davis; Dr J Byrne; Dr J McCord

    A cross-faculty research collaboration between the Built Environment Research Institute (BERI) and the Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRISSS) contributed to the highest ranked Horizon2020 proposal within the Secure Societies Programme in 2014. The INSPEC2T project ranked 1st out of total of 150 applications across the secure societies domain. The project scope centres on the development of a sustainable framework for community policing that effectively addresses and promotes seamless collaboration between the police and the community. Special emphasis will be placed on the use of social media with INSPEC2T serving to consolidate and modernise bidirectional communication between stakeholders.

  • Northern Ireland quarterly house price index
    Funder: Progressive Building Society
    Duration: 01 January 2016 - 31 December 2018
    Staff Involved: Prof WS McGreal, Prof AS Adair, Dr M Hinch

    This is a co-related project to the grant from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on house price, rents and affordability. At the core of the project is the performance of the private housing market in Northern Ireland based on sale prices achieved. The key data requirements are price type, age, size, location and other property characteristics. Output is in the form of a quarterly report, the Northern Ireland Quarterly House Price Index.

  • Quarterly Northern Ireland House Price Index

    Funder: Progressive Building Society
    Duration: 01 January 2019 – 31 December 2021
    Staff Involved: Dr Martin Hinch; Dr Michael McCord; Dr John McCord; Dr Peadar Davis; Prof Martin Haran; Mr Sean MacIntyre

    This is a co-related project to the grant from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on house price, rents and affordability. At the core of the project is the performance of the private housing market in Northern Ireland based on transacted sale prices which helps risk assessment, monitoring and automated valuation processes.

    The following key outcomes for the project are as follows:

    • The production of a Northern Ireland Quarterly House Price Index
    • The provision of data for stress-testing models and commercial lending
  • Residential Property Measurement Practice – Evidence from World Regions
    Funder: RICS
    Duration: 25 September 2014 – 4th August 2016
    Staff Involved: Dr Lay Cheng (Jasmine) Lim, Dr Lesley Hemphill

    This report focused specifically on the residential market considering the IPMS Residential standard (published in September 2016).  In particular, it focused on the residential apartment market as this is where the majority of investment activity takes places, but where relevant parallels were drawn with residential single dwellings.  It identified the measurement practice in a selection of 10 countries which represent each of the main global regions (namely - Americas, Asia/Middle East, Europe – Mainland, Europe – UK and Oceania).  The research initially provided a strategic overview to the current measurement standards used across the global regions.  In particular, the research investigated how these standards influenced local measurement practice and reporting within the global regions.  Furthermore, an attempt was made to determine the extent of measurement variation within the local residential markets and how this differed depending on property type (e.g. detached dwelling or apartments).

    The research fulfilled three key objectives which are as follows:

    • To investigate the regulatory environment governing the measurement of residential buildings across world regions
    • To identify and evaluate the divergence in residential measurement practice across world regions
    • To quantify the extent of residential measurement variance and the typical inclusion/exclusion inconsistencies evident across world regions.
  • The Role of International and Local Valuation Standards in Influencing Valuation Practice in Emerging and Established Markets
    Funder: RICS
    Duration: 01 March 2012 – 01 September 2013
    Staff Involved: Dr Lay Cheng (Jasmine) Lim, Dr Lesley Hemphill, Professor Alastair Adair, Professor Stanley McGreal, Professor Neil Crosby (University of Reading)

    This study provided a strategic overview to global valuation standards identifying who sets and regulates the property valuation profession within four case study areas.  These case study areas were selected to reflect emerging and established economies, with Brazil and China representing the emerging economy perspective and the USA and the UK representing the established economy perspective.  Furthermore, the study investigated not only what valuation standards were prevalent within these economies, but also how these standards influenced local valuation practice.  This study therefore determined the appetite across the 4 case study areas for harmonisation of global valuation standards and the extent to which the transparency of the property markets and valuation practice was impacting upon investor confidence.  Focus Groups and structured interviews were undertaken in each of the case study countries to fully investigate the local differences in the standards, the valuation approach, reporting styles and the methods used to value property.

    The following key objectives were linked to the project:

    • To evaluate the regulatory and professional practice framework governing valuation practice in the four case study areas
    • To investigate the interaction between international and local valuation standards and country specific property market practice
    • To determine the linkages between international and local valuation standards, market fragmentation and investor confidence