Ulysses Sengupta is a Reader in Architecture at the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) a collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and The University of Manchester (UoM). He is the founder of Complexity Planning and Urbanism (CPU), a research centre and related Masters atelier at the Manchester School of Architecture. CPU uses a complexity framework to develop new digital tools, computational thinking and urban theory addressing future ICT disruptions and spatio-temporal dynamics in urban processes. The research is transdisciplinary and spans Future Cities, Smart Cities, the Internet of Things, agile governance and cities as complex adaptive systems. CPU research engages with planning for evolutionary and emergent city systems, digital participation and inclusion, data platforms for resilient cities and urban simulations for sustainable future scenarios. Sengupta is also a founding member of Data and Cities as Complex Adaptive Systems (DACAS) an international ESRC Strategic Network researching transdisciplinary approaches to urban transformation. CPU and DACAS are part of ComplexUrban.

Ulysses also heads Advanced Digital Design (ADD) at the Manchester School o fArchitecture and has collaborated on the EmTech course at the Architectural Association.

Previously Sengupta has been unit leader/master at the University of Nottingham (8 years) and lecturer at the University of East London. He is also Director of Softgrid Limited an architecture and urban research focused internationally networked design practice with previous work in India and China. Sengupta balances a parallel discourse between practice and theory on the subjects of architecture, urbanism and planning through teaching, practice and research.


1. ESRC Strategic Network: Data and Cities as Complex Adaptive Systems (DACAS)

Despite increasing attention on the application of new information flows to the design and development of ‘smart’ cities, there is still limited understanding of the interconnections in urban areas between ‘hard’ infrastructure and economic, ecological and social systems. Strategic Network: Data and Cities as Complex Adaptive Systems (DACAS) seeks to promote a more holistic approach through the integration of a wide range of data sources. By bringing together an international group of researchers from a range of different fields, the project will support the development of an innovative and cross-disciplinary set of tools to gather and interpret emerging data sources. These outputs will be supported by capacity development and dissemination activities, including a number of public events and multi-stakeholder workshops. The findings will benefits policy-makers, academics and other actors seeking to develop evidence-based responses to urban issues through the use of open data sources.


Association of Greater Manchester Authorities
Future Cities Catapult
Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

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3. H2020 : Synchronicity

SynchroniCity represents the first attempt to deliver a Single Digital City Market for Europe by piloting its foundations at scale in reference zones across 8 European cities, involving also other cities globally. It addresses how to incentivise and build trust for companies and citizens to actively participate, in finding common co-created IoT solutions for cities that meet citizen needs and to create an environment of evidence-based solutions that can easily be replicated in other regions.

SynchroniCity starts and ends in cities and their citizens. The innovation ecosystems in cities constitute the pillar upon which all the activities in the project will rely. Through a strategy adapted to the reference zones, they will identify, engage and support the different stakeholders, including citizens and communities. The latter ones will help to identify the problems to be solved in the city and to validate the solutions.

While an agreement on technology assumption is crucial for the emergence of a single digital market, the right environment for impactful citizen centred services to emerge must support it. A key element is to empower (local) ecosystem participants with guidelines for co-creation around the marketplace and provide a flexible regulatory and policy environment for experimentation with potentially disruptive technologies. The reference zones chosen in the project and the pilots will derive best practices that can be shared with other ecosystem participants as blueprints, increasing the acceptability of emerging solutions by citizens and regulatory business environment.

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Archaeology Museum Ningxia, Invited Competition

Shortlisted, New Western Xia Archaeology Museum Ningxia, China. 2012

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Canada Water Development

320 unit high rise development. UK. 2003

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Canning Town Framework Masterplan

Urban Design Consultant for Erick Van Egeraat Associates.
Canning Town Framework Masterplan London, U.K. 2010

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Cui Hu Masterplan Competition

2nd Prize, Cui Hu Masterplan Competition, Cui Hu/Beijing, China. 2011

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Ecological Farm Scientific Institute

Research and design project using hydrological studies to inform ground forming as a basis for Eco-Farm Masterplan & Major Buildings Zhenjiang, China. 2010

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Ecological Hotel, Oman

Bandar Khayran, Luxury Eco Hotel Muscat, Oman. 2010

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Horley Bluefield Studies

Eco/Flood Homes, 102 unit zero energy community 'Flood Plain' development exemplar. UK. 2006

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Hotel Complex Tianjin

500 room Luxury Spa Eco Hotel Tianjin , China. 2008

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IIT University Campus Jodhpur

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur, sustainable strategic masterplan guidance for new university campus in a desertified environment, for a population of 30,000. India, 2010

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London House

Oak hill way, Contemporary House London, U.K. 2008

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Mixed Use Housing, London

New End, Mixed use and Housing development London, U.K.2009

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Softgrid Limited (Researcher/Collaborator/Developer)
Web-Tool SCARCITY.is for SCIBE
(Scarcity and Creativity In the Built Environment)
with Jeremy Till/ The University of Westminster. UK. 2013

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Taiwan Conceptual Tower Design Competition

Merit Award for Taiwan Conceptual Tower Design Competition, Taichung, Taiwan. 2011

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University of Kent at Canterbury

New Gateway Registry & Reception Buildings, University of Kent at Canterbury. UK. 2003

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Urban Regeneration Lian Ping

Town Regeneration and Museum Spa Hotel Lian Pin, China. 2011

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Watford Junction

New Urban Quarter 2800 units, station, hotel, retail and commercial. UK. 2006

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Winchester Road

Design competition winner, contemporary residential and mixed use development 60 units. UK. 2005

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Sengupta, U., Iossifova, D., Imai, H., Atanasova, M., Kempski, D., Kowalska, P., Muresan, D., Tosheva, I., Walker, M., Weinmann, L., 2016. [61] Harmonica Alley, The Grosvenor Gallery, 8/2/2016 - 19/2/2016.

Sengupta, U., Hyde, RJ., 2014. 'Transdisciplinary Tools for Urban Change', Venice Biennale, Italy, 1/11/2014.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, P., 2013. Seamless: The Digital in Design, Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana, Slovenia., 19/9/2013 - 3/11/2013.

Sengupta, U., 2011. Unplannable City - Approaches for Urban Emergence & Complexity, Studio X Mumbai (Columbia University, GSAPP), 3/9/2011 - 30/6/2011.

Sengupta, U., 2009. Mega-City vs. Identity - Territory, Architecture, Culture in Istanbul, Istanbul Metropolitan Planning, 1/7/2009.


Iossifova, D., Sengupta, U., 2016. '[61] Harmonica Alley, Yokohama', Softgrid Limited.

Book Chapters

Ulysses, S., 2017. 'Complexityscience'. In Lossifova, D., Doll, CNH., Gasparatos, A. (eds.) Defining the Urban, pp. 249-265, Routledge.

Sengupta, U., 2017. 'ICT, Open Data and the Internet of Things: Potential future trajectories in urban planning'. In Yamu, C., Poplin, A., Dewisch, O., De Roo, G. (eds.) The Virtual and the Real in Planning and Urban Design: Perspectives, Practices and Applications, pp. 69-90, Routledge.

Sengupta, U., 2013. 'Acknowledging Complexity in Continuous Urban Change'. In Iossifova, D. (eds.) Times of Scarcity: Reclaiming the Possibility of Making the City, 35-39, Primedia e-Launch LLC.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, E., 2013. 'Acknowledging Complexity in Continuous Urban Change'. In Iossifova, D. (eds.) Architecture and Planning in Times of Scarcity: Reclaiming the Possibility of Making the City, pp. 221-229, Softgrid Limited, London.

Sengupta, U., Iossifova, D., 2012. 'Systemic Diagramming: An Approach to Decoding Urban Ecologies'. In Goodbun, J., Till, J. and Iossifova, D. (eds.) Scarcity: Architecture in an Age of Depleting Resources, 44-51, Architectural Design, Wiley.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, P., Pick, J., 2012. 'Urban Resilience: A Potential Approach based on Complex Ecological Patterns'. In mat.zine #11 resilience, mat.zine, London.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, E., Wong, L., Matsuda, N., Lynch, J., 2011. 'Urban Morphology: Incorporating Complexity & Variation'. In Mironowicz, I. (eds.) Urban change: the prospect of transformation, pp. 180-189, UN-HABITAT & Wroclaw University of Technology, Nairobi/Wroclaw..


Cheung, P., Sengupta, U., 2017. 'Journey Sustainability Analysis Report', MMU: Manchester School of Architecture.

Sengupta, U., Doll, C., Gasparatos, A., Iossifova, D., Angeloudis, P., da Silva Baptista, M., Cheng, S., Graham, D., Hyde, RJ., Kraenkel, R., Luo, J., Oren, N., 2017. 'Sustainable Smart Cities: Applying Complexity Science to Achieve Urban Sustainability - [United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability , Policy Brief]', United Nations University, Tokyo, Tokyo.

Cheung, E., Sengupta, U., 2016. 'Analysis of Journey Planner Apps and Best Practice Features', MMU, Manchester, UK.

Cheung, E., Sengupta, U., 2016. 'Occupancy / Emissions Sustainability Metric Matrix', MMU: Manchester School of Architecture, Manchester, UK.

Sengupta, U., Hyde, R., 2014. 'Convergent City: Imagining Planning in a Digitised Future', RIBA.

Internet Publications

Sengupta, U., Cheung, E., Pick, J., 2012. 'Urban Resilience: A Potential Approach based on Complex Ecological Patterns', Mat.zine, http://matzine.org/2012/08/04/resilience-11-out-now/.

Journal Articles

Sengupta, U., Tantoush, M., Bassanino, M., Cheung, E., 2020. 'The Hybrid Space of Collaborative Location-Based Mobile Games and the City: A Case Study of Ingress', Urban Planning, 5 (4), pp. 358-370.

Sengupta, U., Rauws, WS., de Roo, G., 2016. 'Planning and complexity: Engaging with temporal dynamics, uncertainty and complex adaptive systems', Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 43 (6), pp. 970-974.

Sengupta, U., Iossifova, D., 2012. 'Systemic Diagramming: An Approach to Decoding Urban Ecologies', Architectural Design, 82 (4), pp. 44-51.

Conference Papers

Solomou, S., Sengupta, U., Oredein, O., Hyde, RJ., 2018. 'A Strategic Planning Problem: Examining the unpredictability of urban transformation based on the changing temporal order of planned projects', 16th meeting of the AESOP Planning & Complexity group. Theme: Adaptive Planning for Spatial Transformation, Department of Spatial Planning and Environment, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, the Netherlands, 23/5/2018 - 25/5/2018.

Zigure, S., Solomou, S., Sengupta, U., 2018. 'Developing Scenarios for Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) enabled sustainable future cities', AUM 2018, The University of Cambridge, 27/6/2018 - 29/6/2018.

Cheung, P., Sengupta, U., 2018. 'Enabling sustainable mobility: an ICT approach to enabling landscapes for bottom-up processes', Adaptive Planning for Spatial Transformation, 16th meeting of AESOP Planning & Complexity, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands, 23/5/2018 - 25/5/2018.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, P., 2017. 'Keynote Lecture: Digital Tools for Urban Transformation', Digital Tools for Urban Challenges, Workshop in Wuhan, China, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, 18/4/2017 - 21/4/2017.

Iossifova, D., Sengupta, U., 2017. 'Urban transformations in China: Linking soft and hard urban systems', 2017 International Conference on China Urban Development, London, 5/5/2017 - 6/5/2017.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, P., Iossifova, D., Hyde, R., 2016. 'Data and Cities as Complex Adaptive Systems', 2016 DACAS conference on Future City Systems, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, 1/2/2016 - 3/2/2016.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, P., Iossifova, D., 2016. 'Extrapolating Future Cities: combining hard & soft data', DACAS ICTP-SAIFR workshop on modelling urban systems, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 20/6/2016 - 24/6/2016.

Sengupta, U., 2016. 'Extrapolating Future Cities: Combining hard and soft urban data', Smart IoT London: Urban IoT Showcase, ExCeL, 12-13 April 2016.

Sengupta, U., cheung, P., iossifova, D., Hyde, R., 2016. 'Gamifying 'Smarter' Planning: Adaptive and resilient future cities', AAG Annual Meeting: Smart + Sustainable, San Francisco, 29/3/2016 - 2/4/2016.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, E., Hyde, R., Iossifova, D., 2016. 'Gamifying ‘Smarter’ Planning: Adaptive and resilient future cities', 2016 AAG Annual Meeting: Smart+sustainable, San Francisco, MArch 29 - April 02 2016.

Sengupta, U., 2015. 'Participation, Governance and Resilience in the Age of Big Data', Planning & Complexity - 13th meeting: Complexity and digitalization of cities - Challenges for urban planning and design, Tempere, Finland, 5/1/2015 - 6/1/2015.

Sengupta, U., Chattopadhyay, B., 2014. 'Convergent City: Extrapolating a Digitised Urban Future', Urban Futures-Squaring Circles: Europe, China and the World in 2050, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Lisbon, Portugal, 10/10/2014 - 11/10/2014, in http://www.ufsc2050.ics.ul.pt/.

Sengupta, U., 2014. 'Future Cities, Extrapolation and Resilience', Manchester School of Architecture and RIBA Future Cities Roundtable, Manchester School of Architecture, 16/6/2014 - 16/6/2014.

Sengupta, U., 2014. 'Future Urbanisms: Technology, Science Fiction and Extrapolated Cities', XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Facing an Unequal World: Challenges for a Global Sociology, Pacifico Yokohama, Japan, 14/7/2014 - 19/7/2014.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, P., 2014. 'My Data My City: Gamification and Participation with Projected Urban Futures', 12th meeting of Planning & Complexity Group, AESOP, Manchester School of Architecture, 16/1/2014 - 17/1/2014.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, E., 2012. 'Designing in Potential – Understanding and Incorporating the Inherencies of Complex Spatial Patterns into Urban Futures', Complexity Science and Social Science at the Interface to the Real World, University of Surrey, September 2012.


Sengupta, U., 2016. 'Modelling for Emergence - Architectural Association', Architectural Association, London, 17 February 2016.

Sengupta, U., 2015. 'Smart Cities - TMRW Conference', TMRW Conference, Manchester Central, 20 May 2015.

Sengupta, U., 2014. 'Big Data & Open Government: Structural Shifts in Urban Governance', Invited Lecture, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo University. Japan, 14 July 2014.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, E., 2013. 'Complexity Thinking: Computational Tools to Temporality & Self Organisation', Out of the Box: Diverse Tools for Planning, SCUPAD (Salzburg Congress on Urban Planning and Development). Salzburg), May 2013.

Sengupta, U., 2013. 'Why Complex Adaptive Systems?', Self-organization and Spatial Planning: In-Depth Analysis, AESOP: Aveiro, May 2013.

Sengupta, U., 2012. 'Informal patterns', Cities to be Tamed?, Politecnico di Milano, November 2012.

Sengupta, U., 2012. 'Loose Fit: A Spatio-temporal Approach to Incorporating Bottom up Behaviours', Complexity and the Collaborative Rationale to Planning - 10th meeting of Planning & Complexity group AESOP, University of Groningen, November 2012, in http://www.aesop-planning.eu.

Sengupta, U., 2012. 'Planning for Unknown Futures & Constant Urban Change', Rethinking Cities: Framing the Future, Barcelona Congress Center, at the Fira de Barcelona, October 2012, in http://www.urbanknowledge.org/urks6.html.

Sengupta, U., Cheung, E., 2011. 'Digital Tools - Flux Territories', Self-Organizing and Spatial Planning - 9th meeting of Planning & Complexity, AESOP, Istanbul, 2011.

Sengupta, U., Cheung,, E, Wong, L., Matsuda, N., Lynch, J., 2010. 'Urban Patterns & Spatial Memory', Complex Urban symposium, United Nations University (IAS) Yokohama, 2010, in http://videoportal.unu.edu/408.

Other Outputs

Sengupta, U., Hyde, R., 2017. 'Funding: H2020 (IoT) - Large Scale Pilots, (£217,719 of EUR 20M), PI, 'Synchronicity'.'.

Sengupta, U., Iossifova, D., 2016. 'Smarter Data Use & Future City Models', Lecture at Gensler Los Angeles, USA.

Sengupta, U., 2014. 'Complexity & Simulation for Urban Futures', GOV.UK, Department for Business Innovation & Skills, Foresight: The Future of Cities.

Sengupta, U., Hyde, R., 2014. 'Convergent City: Imagining Planning in a Digitised Future', Digitised Planning System: RIBA Roundtable Meeting.

Sengupta, U., 2013. 'Addressing Complicity & Helplessness: Urban Design & Spatial Planning Between Theory & Practice', The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL, London.

Sengupta, U., 2013. 'Change and Resilience: Combining Research & Practice', Shanghai Xiandai (Contemporary) Design Institute, Shanghai, China..

Sengupta, U., 2013. 'Moving Towards Level 4 Systems: Experimental & Evolutionary Design Tools', Space Syntax, London, UK.

Sengupta, U., 2012. 'Gamification – SIM City 4 and BBB Generator', EUSS/AESOP Summer School, London, UK.

Sengupta, U., 2012. 'Pattern Morphology – New Techniques for Continuous Urban Change', EUSS/AESOP Summer School, London, UK.

Sengupta, U., 2011. 'Report on Aternative Urban Policy Approaches', Report on alternative policy approaches for 5 year urban development plan, Jingdezhen, China..

Sengupta, U., Verma, A., 2011. 'Report on urban and environmental strategies for a new campus IIT', Report on urban and environmental strategies for a new campus (Indian Institute of Technology) in a desertified location, Jodhpur, India..

Sengupta, U., 2010. 'Critique of 5 year urban development plan Jingdezhen', Critique of 5 year urban development plan Jingdezhen, China..