Marianna is a Senior Lecturer at the MA Architecture & Urbanism and registered Architect (ARB).

Her research on cities, adopts a holistic view to exploring how a city is perceived, operates and delivers the truly smart vision. A truly smart vision underpins the design for the urban context, the policy design, and adopting caring practices within and for the city, having people at the heart of the conceptualisation. Additionally, her research has a clear focus on the international agendas, minimising the inequality, implementing decolonisation into designing for different contexts and responding to local cultures and challenges and taking in consideration the international agendas (SDGs, climate crisis, global health).

She is part of the 'Caring-with cities' team, a British Academy funded project, where she worked on the Lancaster case along with Lancaster City vision, exploring the policy design for caring practices beyond the institutional care. She has been part of EPSRC projects (Liveable Cities, Assessing the Underworld, EPRSC IAA Impact Acceleration Fund-Green Infrastructure Corridors), collaborated with the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure in Cities UKCRIC and organised workshops (Smart Cities Alliance, Birmingham). She has published in journals as well as conferences and she has been invited to speak about her research at events and Universities (University of Birmingham, UK; University of Liverpool, UK; University of Coventry, UK; DongHua University, Shanghai, China; Nottingham University, Ningbo, China; University of Xi’an Jiaotong, Suzhou, China).

Prior to her academic career, she was involved in large urban development projects in China -Twin Cities-of 3.5 million square meters, Kunming (also Shanghai and Xiamen). Also, worked at the Al Falah project, a 12.5 million square meters development for local populations in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Before her international experience, she worked at architectural organisations in the UK (ATKINS) and other architectural practices in the UK. 

Academic and professional qualifications

  • Fellowship of the HEA (FHEA) Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice PG CAP.
  • Scholarship of Practice an Academic Curriculum Enquiry (SPACE) “Decolonising the Architectural Curriculum”.
  • PhD Civil Engineering 2019 University of Birmingham, UK
  • PG Dip Architecture (International) RIBA II 2008 Huddersfield University, UK. Higher Commendation
  • BA Hons Architecture RIBA I 2005 Huddersfield University, UK
  • BA Hons Interior Design 2001 De Montfort University, UK

Previous Employment

  • Lecturer, Urban Design Policy – Lancaster School of Architecture, UK. 2020-2023
  • Research Fellow. University of Birmingham, UK, Department of Civil Engineering.Strategic Placement for Cities Impact: Birmingham City Council.“Monitoring Birmingham's metabolism as it 'goes for gold' 2022”. 2018-2019
  • Research Associate ‘Liveable Cities’ EPSRC (EP/J017698)of Birmingham, UK, Department of Civil  Engineering. 2007-2008
  • Lecturer BA  Interior Design Raffles Design Institute, 东华大学, Donghua University Shanghai. 2012-2014
  • Senior Architect, GDG Ltd Shanghai, China. 2011-2012
  • Project Leader in Twin Cities, Architecture, CADI, Kunming, China. 2010-2011
  • Architectural Designer, GHM Ltd Abu Dhabi, UAE, RIBA I &II. 2009-2010
  • Architectural Designer, ATKINS, Leeds, UK, RIBA I. 2008-2009

Postgraduate teaching

Prototype Urbanism Studio Lab Lead: we are using digital technologies, AI, and computational urbanism to implement liveable solutions in the urban context. 

Cities and Urbanism: Ideologies and Futures Unit Lead: This unit explores contemporary urban practice and reflects existing theories aiming to approach today's and future global urban complexities.

Prizes and awards

  • First Prize – Award in Sustainability (Peter Stead Award, Civic Society, Huddersfield) 2008 Huddersfield University, UK
  • Higher Commendation PG Dip ArchIitecture (International) “Workers’ Library in Al Shindagha, Dubai” 2008 Huddersfield University, UK

Editiorial Board membership

  • Associate Editor Institute Engineering Technology IET Smart Cities Journal
  • Reviewer ‘Smart Infrastructure’ Institute of Civil Engineers Journal
  • Reviewer Behaviour & Information Technology’ journal Taylor and Francis
  • Reviewer ‘Journal of Urban Technology’ Routledge Taylor and Francis

Membership of professional associations

  • Architect ARB Registered, Membership number 098038B
  • Architect TEE Hellenic Chamber of Architects Registered, Membership number 134720
  • Member of the International Society for Urban Health ISUH



Cavada, M., Hunt, D., Rogers, C., 2017. 'The Little Book of Smart Cities', ImaginationLancaster.

Book Chapters

Cavada, M., 2023. 'Designing policy for smart cities'. In Smart Cities and Digital Transformation: Empowering Communities, Limitless Innovation, Sustainable Development and the Next Generation, pp. 181-186.

Cavada, M., 2023. 'The Governance of Smart Cities'. In The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures, Springer Nature.

Cavada, M., Cooper, R., 2022. 'A Smart Health Approach in Cities'. In Urban Health and Wellbeing Programme. Urban Health and Wellbeing., Springer Singapore.

Cavada, M., 2022. 'Understanding Urban Engineering'. In The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures., Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. eBook Packages Springer Reference Earth & Environm. Science Reference Module Physical and Materials Science.

Cavada, M., Tight, M., Rogers, C., 2019. 'A smart city case study of Singapore--Is Singapore truly smart?'. In Smart City Emergence Cases From Around the World, Elsevier.

Cavada, M., Tight, M., Rogers, C., 2019. 'Smart Singapore case study: Is Singapore truly smart?'. In Smart City Emergence Cases From Around the World, Elsevier.

Journal Articles

Rogers, C.D.F., Grayson, N., Sadler, J.P., Chapman, L., Bouch, C.J., Cavada, M., Leach, J.M., 2023. 'Delivering sustainable, resilient and liveable cities via transformed governance', Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, 5.

Cavada, M., 2023. 'Evaluate Space after Covid-19: Smart City Strategies for Gamification', International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 39 (2), pp. 319-330.

Cavada, M., Bouch, C., Rogers, C., Grace, M., Robertson, A., 2021. 'A Soft Systems Methodology for Business Creation: The Lost World at Tyseley, Birmingham', Urban Planning, 6 (1), pp. 32-48.

Hargreaves, A.J., Rogers, C.D.F., Cavada, M., 2020. 'Briefing: Engineering for the far future: Rethinking the value proposition', Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Engineering Sustainability, 173 (1), pp. 3-7.

Cavada, M., Rogers, C.D.F., 2020. 'Serious gaming as a means of facilitating truly smart cities: a narrative review', Behaviour and Information Technology, 39 (6), pp. 695-710.

Leach, J.M., Lee, S.E., Boyko, C.T., Coulton, C.J., Cooper, R., Smith, N., Joffe, H., Büchs, M., Hale, J.D., Sadler, J.P., Braithwaite, P.A., Blunden, L.S., De Laurentiis, V., Hunt, D.V.L., Bahaj, A.B.S., Barnes, K., Bouch, C.J., Bourikas, L., Cavada, M.,, 2017. 'Dataset of the livability performance of the city of Birmingham, UK, as measured by its citizen wellbeing, resource security, resource efficiency and carbon emissions', Data in Brief, 15, pp. 691-695.

Boyko, C.T., Clune, S.J., Cooper, R.F.D., Coulton, C.J., Dunn, N.S., Pollastri, S., Leach, J.M., Bouch, C.J., Cavada, M., De Laurentiis, V., Goodfellow-Smith, M., Hale, J.D., Hunt, D.K.G., Lee, S.E., Locret-Collet, M., Sadler, J.P., Ward, J., Rogers, C.D., 2017. 'How sharing can contribute to more sustainable cities', Sustainability (Switzerland), 9 (5).

Cavada, M., Hunt, D.V.L., Rogers, C.D.F., 2016. 'Do smart cities realise their potential for lower carbon dioxide emissions?', Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability, 169 (6), pp. 243-252.

Conference Papers

Cavada, M., 2022. 'De', International Conference on Evolving Cities, Southampton, UK, 22/9/2021 - 24/9/2021, in

Kwon, N., Jacobs, N., Mullagh, L., Cavada, M., Markovic, M., Walnwright, B., Chekansky, K., Cooper, R., 2022. 'Designing Physical and Virtual Walkshop Methods for Speculative Internet of Things Research', Advances in Design and Digital Communication III: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Design and Digital Communication, Digicom 2022, November 3-5, 2022,, Barcelos, Portugal, 3/11/2022 - 5/11/2022, in

Cavada, M., Dalton, R., Rogers, C., 2021. 'A Smart System Approach for Urban Engineering', Urban Assemblage: The City as Architecture, Media, AI and Big Data, University of Hertfordshire - AMPS - Onile, 28/6/2021 - 30/6/2021, in

Cavada, M., Hunt, D., Rogers, C., 2017. 'The role of infrastructure in Smart cities', International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure, ISNGI, London, UK, 11/9/2017 - 13/9/2017, in

Cavada, M., Hunt, D., Rogers, C., 2014. 'Smart Cities: Contradicting Definitions and Unclear Measures', The 4th World Sustainability Forum, Virtual, 1/11/2014 - 30/11/2014, in Proceedings of The 4th World Sustainability Forum.

Research project details