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Centre for Digital Built Britain completed its five-year mission and closed its doors at the end of September 2022

This website remains as a legacy of the achievements of our five-year foundational journey towards a digital built Britain

Our Challenge

We share and create more data than ever before, and businesses have already taken advantage, piecing together insights about our individual shopping habits, lifestyles and interests. But what if we could use data to create similar insights into buildings and infrastructure, and how we interact with them, so that they become the stage upon which our societies and families flourish? What if the built environment was designed to serve our best interests and the best interests of the generations that follow us? Realising CDBB’s vision of a future, in which infrastructure was a platform for human flourishing, was a long journey, with many challenges along the way. But CDBB focused on supporting the transformation of the industry to one that is resilient and efficient and also created a built environment that is better for everyone.

Our Solution

To secure a future where data is used to develop a built environment for the public good, CDBB hosted an interdisciplinary research programme across UK institutions that were exploring issues around society, policy, housing, the economy, nature, value and many other issues that touch the daily lives of people in a digital built Britain.

Projects within this theme

Projects within this theme Lead researcher

Analysing the social context to transforming construction through digital innovation

Analysing the interactions between technology and digital innovation and the different stakeholders, including local government, planners, financiers and insurers/warranty providers, to understand their role in enabling the transformation of construction through digitisation.

Dr Gemma Burgess

Stakeholder Engagement in Smart Cities and Digital Infrastructure Projects

Considering effective stakeholder engagement in Smart Cities and Digital Infrastructure projects, including individuals, communities, interest groups, local authorities, universities, businesses and other users of the built environment.

Dr Gemma Burgess

Facilitating the digitisation of off-site manufacturing

Gathering evidence from successful and unsuccessful use cases to measure outcomes and benefits of innovation, while trying to understand challenges and learning valuable lessons across sectors.

Dr Mohamed Zaki

Smart Hospital of the Future: Digital technologies, service innovation, and hospital design

The project focuses on how new technology, in particular, telemedicine and AI which is transforming how Moorfields’ services are being provided to visually-impaired patients at the organisational frontline.

Prof Michael Barrett

Co-Creating a City-Scale Digital Strategy and Framework: A Systems and Co-production Approach

Investigating how collaboration between public authorities, private business and other city stakeholders can enhance the benefits of ‘smart’ digitally enabled infrastructure and other built assets for the benefit of urban populations.

Dr Ges Rosenberg

Housing Digital Built Britain Network

The Housing Digital Built Britain Network brought together academics, practitioners, policy makers and government to facilitate dialogue and determine key areas of inquiry. Priority research areas were identified, including using digital innovations to meet the housing and care challenges of an ageing population; developing digital innovation and better use of data in the planning system and digitising housing production through off-site housing manufacture.

Dr Gemma Burgess

Building Interactive Smart Acoustics into Buildings and Clothing

Building multiple microphone sensors and ways to interrogate the acoustic environment into wearable technologies for hearing-impaired users, including children in schools. Making the built environment more accessible by increasing the flexibility of auditory feedback loops between buildings and hearing aids.

Dr Anurag Agarwal

The Uptake of Digital Tools, Standards and Processes in Innovation in the UK House Building Industry: opportunities and barriers to adoption

Defining the barriers and opportunities for adopting BIM in the UK housing sector and highlighting its great benefits.

Dr Gemma Burgess

The local governance of digital technology – implications for the cityscale digital twin

Understanding governance for digital twins and the ways in which it is generalisable to successfully transfer knowledge and best practices among different cities within the UK and beyond. Includes the development of a digital twin prototype for the Cambridge area.

Dr Timea Nochta

Designing Safe Complex Environments

Creating a VR environment that reduces usability issues in order to test virtual built environment designs with users who have a balance or sensory impairment. This will ensure the built environment is designed with neurodiversity in mind.


Dr Thomas Stone

Network - Pedagogy and Upskilling Network (PUN)

A research network aiming to define the capacity gaps and propose a transitional roadmap for education and upskilling to address the current digital skills gap and building capacity required for the UK to benefit from digital built Britain.

Prof. Jason Underwood

Urban Planning and BIM

Understanding the extent to which the UK planning system is engaging with BIM at different spatial scales (e.g., individual building, development scheme, city, region). Exploring how the planning system could better help deliver BIM and inform local and national policy actors.

Prof Phil Allmendinger

Future Cities and BIM

Investigating how European cities are adapting to BIM and what awareness there is of BIM in future city thinking and strategies. Identifying what tools and policies are being used to take forward BIM in city development, as well as existing barriers.

Dr Franziska Sielker

Building Impulse: A novel digital toolkit for productive, healthy and resource-efficient buildings

Creating a toolkit for capturing occupant satisfaction with their environment in buildings in order to feed the next generation of smart buildings with a more holistic set of metrics for comfort and enjoyment of a space. 

Dr Mauro Overend

Visualising the Future: Big Data and the Built Environment

Examining the future use of big data in the built environment, this report builds on four years of material generated by the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and Environment. Experts from academia, government and private companies were invited to join monthly discussions and big data within cities was a recurring theme.

Prof Paul Linden