Urban Institute Ireland is a centre for the development of new technologies, policies and ideas designed to improve the quality of the working and living environment. From embryonic beginnings just four years ago, the institute is already established as an important centre internationally for research on Urban and Development issues. The initial concept for Urban Institute Ireland was to be a centre for research on sustainable urban development, bringing researchers on infrastructure together with researchers on policy, planning and design. This has evolved over the past three or four years and the institute now carries out research on a broader range of topics that encompass rural as well as urban development. Our vision is to be the national centre for the development of new technologies, policies and ideas designed to improve the quality of the working and living environment. This is encapsulated in our mission. Our research outputs can be measured in numbers of research postgraduate students, publications and research income. The distinctiveness of the institute comes from its unique mix of disciplines and resources.