The Max Lock Centre is an international, multi-disciplinary research and consultancy organisation focused on international sustainable development in all parts of the world, including:

  • public policy and professional practice in urban and regional planning
  • poverty reduction
  • management and governance in the built environment
  • community empowerment and building resilience  
  • the creation of sustainable livelihoods at neighbourhood, city and regional levels

The Max Lock Centre:

  • Offers research, policy advice, technical consultancy and training in sustainable development at neighbourhood, city and regional levels
  • Engages in environmentally and socially sensitive planning and design in politically challenging and data sparse contexts
  • Carries out projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as the UK and Europe with local and regional partners, including the Max Lock Consultancy Nigeria and the Max Lock Centre Delhi in India
  • Works with all actors to eliminate poverty through sustainable livelihoods and overcome the barriers to equitable and sustainable access to human, physical and natural resources for all
  • Offers technical support on effective resource use, data management and mapping and managing regional, municipal and community assets
  • Focuses on understanding the features of the local political economy and supporting participatory and coordinated urban and regional governance
  • Analyses and advises on risk and uncertainty in the urban and regional context
  • Helps to assess the capabilities and vulnerabilities of communities and build adaptive resilience to cope with hazards and mitigate and adapt to climate change

The Max Lock Centre is committed to the principle of ‘Planning by People’. Drawing on the concepts of civic diagnosis, community participation and sustainable development, the Centre continues the tradition of multi-disciplinary grassroots planning, developed over the last 50 years by the Max Lock Group both in the UK and overseas.

The University holds the Max Lock and John Turner Archives, from which the Centre draws its inspiration. From the mid 1930s the Max Lock philosophy sought to articulate the needs of a community in focused and participatory investment programmes to achieve affordable and environmentally sustainable solutions. The Centre has been developing and renewing this tradition.

Drawing on the Centre’s work and cumulative experience, staff members established a Masters programme in International Planning and Sustainable Development in 2008.