Human City Institute

Investigating Exclusion, Promoting Solutions, Building Futures


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Welcome to the website of the Human City Institute. We are a research think-tank based in Birmingham. We hope that the website opens a door onto our work and engages those who share our goal of creating more ‘human’ cities, towns and villages. You may be interested in our ‘Supporting HCI’ section. Should you wish to provide feedback, please use our ‘contact form’. Many thanks and we hope you find the website informative and stimulating.


Founded in 1995/96 by largely Christian academics at Westhill College, HCI has a recognised history of research into ‘human city’ issues, and management of community projects. David Clark was appointed as HCI’s first Director, and three administrative staff were later employed plus a number of Human Neighbourhood Project workers. Funding for these posts came from a wide range of grants, but largely from the Community Fund of the National Lottery Charities Board and Government departments.

Three former HCI Chairs

From 1995 to 2000, HCI’s main endeavours were its Bulletin, its Future Papers, its public Hearings, its Human City Sites programme, and its Human Neighbourhood Project (operating in Bradford and Swindon as well as Birmingham). From 2000 to 2006, the Human Neighbourhood Project came very much to the fore. A small Human Schools Project and a project involving the police, both focussing on Birmingham, were also undertaken.

Dame Pauline Green, Chief Executive of Co-operatives UK, launching the HCI-founded Commission on Co-operative and Mutual Housing

In 2007, after a period of reappraisal, HCI was re-launched as a research-based agency which sought to influence debates about urban, housing, health and community policies. The idea was to develop a virtual ‘thinktank’ which would not be top-heavy with staff but would operate through coalitions and partnerships.

Lord Best chairing a HCI round-table on mutualism

New Horizons

Alongside the development of an updated Constitution and new Corporate Plan, HCI’s place in a contemporary setting was completed in 2010. HCI is now building upon its legacy and unique contribution to revitalisation of discussions about the nature of ‘human’ communities.

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National Housing Federation Chief Executive David Orr presenting ideas for the future of housing associations at HCI’s 2015 annual lecture

HCI Today

HCI today is an independent research agency with a well-developed, thematic programme of work funded mainly via sponsorship, partner agencies and grants.

In recent times, HCI has produced a range of reports, books, summaries and articles, while running ten media campaigns to highlight key policies relating to creating more ‘human’ communities.

A round-table with senior West Midlands’ housing and local government stakeholders in 2016 with West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Chief Executive Martin Reeves discussing the future of housing in the conurbation

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