Skip to main content

Centre for Economic Performance:
Daniel Sturm awarded major grant to study the economics of cities

22 April 2021

Professor Daniel Sturm, director of the Urban Programme at the Centre for Economic Performance, has been awarded a major research grant by the European Research Council (ERC) to study the economics of cities.

Daniel Sturm, Professor of Economics at London School of Economics and Political Science, will receive an ERC Advanced Grant with a budget of 1.86 million Euros (£1.6m) for the project: Quantitative Models of Cities.

The project, which will run from 2021-2026, builds on research by Professor Sturm and his co-authors to develop economic models of how firms and residents compete over limited space in cities and how this competition shapes the productivity and residential amenities of city neighbourhoods and the flow of commuters.

The ERC grant will enable Professor Sturm and his team to combine this modelling approach with extremely detailed data for cities to address key questions of urban policy. 

These include:

* how new transport infrastructure affects employment patterns and city productivity

* the costs and benefits of restrictions on building heights

*  the optimal allocation of space to different land uses in cities 

Professor Sturm said: “The majority of the world’s population already lives in cities and this share is increasing rapidly throughout the developing world. This makes it imperative to improve our understanding of the agglomeration forces that pull people into cities. 

“Understanding how cities work and how they are affected by urban policy choices has been made even more urgent by the Covid-19 pandemic. The very generous funding from the ERC will enable us to bring our understanding of the forces that shape cities to an exciting new level.”

The European Research Council, set up by the European Union in 2007, is the premier European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. The Quantitative Models of Cities project is funded under its Advanced Grants scheme which aims to support excellent researchers who are already established research leaders.