Collagen is highly conserved across species and has been used extensively for tissue regeneration; however, its mechanical properties are limited. A recent advance using plastic compression of collagen gels to achieve much higher concentrations significantly increases its mechanical properties at the neo-tissue level. This controlled, cell-independent process allows the engineering of biomimetic scaffolds. We have evaluated plastic compressed collagen scaffolds seeded with human bladder smooth muscle cells inside and urothelial cells on the gel surface for potential urological applications. Bladder smooth muscle and urothelial cells were visualized using scanning electron microscopy, conventional histology and immunohistochemistry; cell viability and proliferation were also quantified for 14 days in vitro. Both cell types tested proliferated on the construct surface, forming dense cell layers after 2 weeks. However, smooth muscle cells seeded within the construct, assessed with the Alamar blue assay, showed lower proliferation. Cellular distribution within the construct was also evaluated, using confocal microscopy. After 14 days of in vitro culture, 30% of the smooth muscle cells were found on the construct surface compared to 0% at day 1. Our results provide some evidence that cell-seeded plastic compressed collagen has significant potential for bladder tissue regeneration, as these materials allow efficient cell seeding inside the construct as well as cell proliferation. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.