Resources, Infrastructure Systems and built Environments

Department of Civil & Structural Engineering

Population, Growth, and Energy Demand: a Look at Scaling Effects and Agglomeration in the Northern Powerhouse


The recent drive to boost economic growth in the North of England rests upon the premise that through agglomeration effects achieved via better transport infrastructure and connectedness, the 15 million people of the “Northern Powerhouse” could begin to rival London’s economic performance. This, however, raises an immediate challenge: how much energy/infrastructure is required to drive and maintain the growth to achieve this level of economic performance? Understanding the practical feasibility and probable side effects of such large scale economic and infrastructural growth in terms of the energy required to drive and maintain the growth is therefore a crucial area of research. The strategies developed so far for the NPH mainly target the transport infrastructure as means to both boost economic output of the region and increase transport system efficiencies through improving travel times and ease of mobility.

This project investigates the city performance for the local authorities of the Northern Powerhouse versus that of the Greater London Area exploring the effects of aggregation of the LAUs of the NPH in the form of the combined authorities and city regions of the North as well as the suitability of potential strategies, namely, densification and improvements of the transport network, for increasing performance balance in each LAU and city region. This utilizes models developed based on the recurring power-law scaling of numerous urban characteristics, e.g. economic output, energy consumption, infrastructure volume and size, etc., against urban population.

This project was funded by Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)


Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)

Research area(s)

Project dates

Start date: 
June 2016
End date: 
July 2016