About Urban Lab

Urban Lab is a quantitatively oriented research program that was formed at the end of 2019 and is run as a collaboration between the Department of Economics and IBF. The main funders are Uppsala Municipality and Uppsala University. Uppsala Municipality has decided to support the research financially with SEK 12 million during the years 2020–23, and Uppsala University finances Urban Lab with SEK 9 million during the years 2020–22. The program is also funded by external research funds.

The purpose of Urban Lab is to create an active and multidisciplinary research environment for quantitative studies of issues related to cities and urbanisation processes. The research combines methodological competencies from different disciplines with access to the large amount of geocoded microdata available in IBF's database GeoSweden.

The ongoing and planned research within Urban Lab contains broad questions: Why do some cities grow while others shrink? Why do some areas within cities have a positive development and others a negative one? How do urbanisation and neighbourhoods affect different outcomes in terms of, for example, economic inequality, the health of individuals and the future of children? What role does local politics play in local development?

Urban Lab organises its activities around different types of meetings. The researchers who participate in Urban Lab meet regularly and discuss ongoing research projects, new research ideas and different types of methodological issues. They represent different disciplines (economics, geography, economic history, statistics and political science).

Urban Lab also co-arranges regular meetings with Uppsala Municipality, where researchers are given the opportunity to present ongoing and planned research and discuss these with municipal officials, who in turn have the opportunity to present their ongoing and planned projects. In addition, Urban Lab arranges seminars with external speakers.


  • Why do some cities grow while others shrink? What explains the migration processes? What significance do local labour markets have, and their change, for this understanding?
  • Within cities, why do some areas see a positive development while others deteriorate? What are the determinants of: Gentrification of neighbourhoods? Segregation in the housing market (in terms of income, education and ethnicity)? Population composition in small geographical areas? The workings of local housing markets (prices, construction, et cetera)?
  • How does urbanisation affect economic inequality?
  • How does urbanisation affect the health of individuals?
  • What is the significance of the geographical location during childhood for future outcomes?
  • What role does local politics play in local development?
  • How do different shocks (like closing of national borders, terrorist attacks, and pandemics) affect individuals’ mobility and location choices?


Director: Matz Dahlberg
Steering group: Matz Dahlberg, P-A Edin and Che-Yuan Liang 
External advisors: Nils Hertting and Olof Åslund

Last modified: 2022-06-07