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Stadtklang: The Acoustic City


6.00 PM 14 September 2014

Arcola Theatre Bar, 24 Ashwin St, Dalston E8 3DL

Stadtklang (urban sound) is a fitting venue for a book that explores the soundscapes of the built environment. The UCL Urban Laboratory is hosting a launch event for The Acoustic City (Jovis, 2014) by Matthew Gandy and BJ Nilsen at the Arcola Theatre Bar in Dalston on the 14th of September.

You do not need to book for this event and entry is free.

Find out more
The Acoustic City is an an edited collection of cutting-edge essays on sound and the city accompanied by a specially commissioned CD with contributions from Félix Blume, Ekkehard Ehlers, Yui Onodera, Schneider TM and many other artists. Edited by Professor Matthew Gandy (UCL Geography) and the Swedish sound artist BJ Nilsen. It was completed with the support from the The Leverhulme Foundation, the UCL Urban Laboratory, and the UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities.
Location map for Arcola Theatre Bar, 24 Ashwin St, Dalston E8 3DL

The Smeed Report at fifty: will road pricing always be ten years away?

6.30 PM, 7 October 2014

Gavin de Beer Lecture Theatre, UCL Anatomy Building, Gower Street

In 1964 Reuben Smeed’s report showed that road pricing was not only technically possibly, but could provide benefits to the economy, reduce congestion and improve public health. However, apart from some notable exceptions, including the London Congestion Charge, the idea of charging to use roads has been repeatedly rejected by politicians. 

Is it time to implement the recommendations of Smeed's report fifty years after it was published, or is road pricing still ten years away from general acceptance?

Stephen Glaister (Director of the RAC Foundation and Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London) and Richard Allsop (Emeritus Professor of Transport Studies and former director of the UCL Centre for Transport Studies) will discuss the future of road pricing.

The event will start at 6.30 pm (refreshments available from 6.00 pm) with a brief introduction to the work of Reuben Smeed by UCL's Professor Allsop. Professor Glaister will speak for 45 minutes, after which Professor Allsop will respond.  There will then be an open Q&A session.  At 7.45 pm you will be invited to join us in UCL’s Garden Room for a buffet dinner.

Citizen Cyberscience Summit 2014

The 3rd Citizen Cyberscience Summit February 2014

Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities was one of the supporters for the 3rd Citizen Cyberscience Summit in February.

Original Announcement for Citizen Cyber Science

Citizen Cyberscience Summit 2014

Citizen Science, amateur involvement in science that predates professional science, is currently undergoing a renaissance.  Citizen Cyberscience is a rapidly expanding field, enabled by the Internet and a variety of affordable technology,.

Hear from leading figures in citizen science, explore public engagement and participation and see how citizen science is being used in the developing world. A series of presentations and panels will be followed by a hackday at UCL (which has seen the start of many great ideas, new collaborations and prototypes, including the Air Quality Egg)

  • Day 1 - Thursday 20th Feb @ the Royal Geographical Society, London
  • Day 2 - Friday 21st Feb @ University College London
  • Day 3 Hackday - Saturday 22nd Feb @ University College London

As you would expect for a conference that celebrates the power of using ubiquitous, powerful, networked technology for science and inclusion, the Citizen CyberScience was live-streamed, blogged and the hashtag #CCS14 filled the twittersphere with comment and pictures.

You can find out more about what happened at the conference by visiting Storify or reading Po Ve Sham - Professor Muki Haklay's blog.

UCL's interdisciplinary Extreme Citizen Science research group

ExCiteS brings together scholars from diverse fields to develop and contribute to the guiding theories, tools and methodologies that will enable any community to start a Citizen Science project to deal with issues that concern them. With an interdisciplinary research approach we aim to provide any user, regardless of their background or literacy level, with a set of tools that can be used to collect, analyse and act on information according to agreed upon scientific methods. www.ucl.ac.uk/excites

Retrofit series

Retrofit series


Event series and prize workshop from Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities and Future of London

Panel Discussion Series

In May 2014 UCL's Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities will be running a series of events focusing on non-domestic retrofit. 

When a building is no longer fit for purpose it can be abandoned altogether, demolished and perhaps replaced with a new structure. Refurbishing and retrofitting offers an alternative, using new layouts and new technologies to extend the useful life of a building.

This series focuses on the retrofit of non-domestic buildings, something which has not received the same level of attention as retrofit for homes. Ensuring a sustainable future for urban areas involves overcoming a number of challenges for the buildings that provide key infrastructure, including workplaces, warehouses, shops and hospitals.

Challenges include efficient use of resources, increased resilience, ensuring comfort in a changing climate and meeting the changing needs of the buildings' users. These are challenges that cannot be solved entirely, or even mainly, through the construction of new buildings, retrofit of the existing stock has a very important role to play in ensuring a sustainable future.

Ensuring successful retrofit depends on a number of factors, including available technology, current policy, making a business case and understanding human behaviour.

Join us for three panel discussions which will explore these issues in relation to  three different drivers for retrofit: the environment, heritage, and health.

You can register for the panel sessions on Eventbrite

Retrofit for...
   7th May 5.30-7pm
Eventbrite - Retrofit for... Environment - Panel Discussion at UCL
Retrofit for...
   13th May 5.30-7pm
Eventbrite - Retrofit for... Heritage - Panel Discussion at UCL
Retrofit for...
   Postponed - new date will be announced soon
Eventbrite - Retrofit for... Health - Panel Discussion at UCL


Retrofit series 2014Retrofit-for-environment-thumbnailRetrofit for heritage poster thumbnailRetrofit Series QR code

You can register for the panel sessions on Eventbrite

Prize Workshop

A prize workshop will be held in June. The participants in the workshop will prepare proposals for cross-disciplinary retrofit research.

Details of the application process coming soon.


London 2062 Book Launch

Imagining the Future City: London 2062 published November 2013

Imagining the Future City: London 2062

A book based on the London 2062 work, edited by Sarah Bell and James Paskins, will be published in November 2013. You are cordially join the discussion about London's future on Monday the 18th of November as we launch Imagining the Future City: London 2062.


6pm, 18th November
G04 Chadwick Building, UCL

  • UCL’s Grand Challenges—Prof. David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research)
  • Imagining the Future City—Dr Sarah Bell, Co-editor
  • Future of London—Jennifer Johnson, Programme and Research Lead-Future of London
  • Governing London in 2062: The City of Any Dreams?–Prof. Mike Raco, Chair of Urban and Regional Governance, Bartlett School of Planning

  • Gazing into the Crystal Football–Dr George Myerson, Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Life Writing Research, King’s College London & Prof. Yvonne Rydin, Chair of Planning Environment and Public Policy, The Bartlett School of Planning

  • Networking with refreshments
  • Copies of book for sale


Sustainable Resources Conference

Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities

from GCSC & Institute for Sustainable Resources

9.00 5th November to 12.00 6th November 2013

Location: UCL

Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities Conference Page

sustainable resources sustainable cities logo

Cities or, more broadly, urban areas - densely packed, complex, built systems - are home to over half the of world’s population. With this trend of increasing urbanisation worldwide, urban sustainability has been identified as a key area of societal relevance, an area in which a solid research base can inform policy and practice. 

The Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities (GCSC) exists to initiate and support cross-disciplinary research into urban sustainability. Sustainability in the urban context is inextricably linked to resource flows. Among the minimum requirements for a city’s population are housing, food, safe water, waste disposal, and energy for heating and cooling. 

Cities must draw on global resource networks to provide the raw materials to build new infrastructure, maintain current systems and retrofit existing buildings. Cities also generally rely on a ‘hinterland’ to supply the energy, food, water and other resources they require. Sustainable cities rely on the sustainable provision and use of resources, and this reliance provides a clear link between GCSC and the work of the Institute for Sustainable Resources. 

The symposium specifically looked to address the challenges around provision of resources for growing urban populations, with regard to the physical built environment, infrastructure, transport and water.  It aimed to address the question of how cities can continue to meet their present needs without compromising the future of the city, the region or the planet.


In addition to the symposium itself, a number of activities were funded to further research into sustainable cities across UCL. Details of these activities and outputs fro the symposium can be found below:

Thinking Across Boundaries: Planning Dilemmas in the Urban Global South

The notion of the ‘urban global south’ looms large in contemporary debates about urbanisation, development and globalisation. UCL's Development Planning Unit (DPU) is critically reflecting on this dominant theme. It convened a panel discussion at the 2013 Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference in London and commissioning a video featuring the DPU in conversation with key actors in the debate.

Thinking across boundaries considers three main questions:

  1. Why call it the urban global south?
  2. What kind of practice does it require?
  3. What kind of theory is required for the urban global south?

DPU Thinking across bounderies: Planning Dilemmas in the Global Urban South from Development Planning Unit on Vimeo.



UCLTI Town Hall Meeting

UCL Transport Institute Town Meeting

4.30–6.00 p.m. Monday, 20 May 2013

Roberts G06 Sir Ambrose Fleming LT

A town hall meeting was held on Monday 20 May to discuss plans for UCLTI (UCL Transport Institute). The event featured talks from a range of speakers, including:

  • Dr Nicola Christie Director, UCL Centre for Transport Studies (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) 
  • Professor Peter Jones Chair of Transport and Sustainable Development (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering)
  • Professor Alan Penn Dean of The Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment
  • Deirdre O'Reilly Head of Social and Evaluation Research Department for Transport
  • Andreas Markides Chair of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation's Learned Society & Technical Board
  • Dr Louise Atkins UCL Psychology
  • Dr Jenny Mindell  UCL Epidemiology and Public Health

The town meeting was followed by a networking reception.

GCSC is working with Dr Nicola Christie to create a pan-UCL Transport Institute.

Find out how the UCLTI plans to harness expertise across UCL and show how our research addresses safety, culture, health, wellbeing, accessibility, economic growth, and security.

Objectives of the UCL Transport Institute

  1. Provide a centrally located transport hub to coordinate transport-related research across UCL’s ten faculties
  2. Develop a new web portal which will act as a platform to create collaborative research bids
  3. Create a community of interest by developing a public engagement programme of seven seminars themed on research related to the values of transport entitled ‘Mind the gap’—translating research into practice 
  4. Use EPSRC Impact Acceleration funding to disseminate and promote the policy relevance of our research for practitioners, public and policy makers via briefing notes and published papers to be made available via the UCLTI web portal
  5. Develop a new MSc in Transport, Health and Policy
  6. Develop income generating CPD and consultancy activities
  7. Hold a number of interdisciplinary research bid ‘sandpits’ based on key challenges

Launch of Urban Pamphleteer

Launch of Urban Pamphleteer

6.30 pm Friday, 26th April

Join Ben Campkin, Rebecca Ross and Guglielmo Rossi for the launch of Urban Pamphleteer issue #1, ‘Future & Smart Cities’. Each illustrated pamphlet in this series collates and presents expert voices, across disciplines, professions, and community groups, around one pressing contemporary urban challenge. The intention is to confront key contemporary urban questions from diverse perspectives, in a direct and accessible tone, drawing on the history of radical pamphleteering.

Small Grants Showcase and Reception

Small Grants Showcase and Reception

28th – 30th January 2013

The Grand Challenges held a showcase in the South Cloisters between the 28th and the 30th of January 2013. The event featured posters from the interdisciplinary collaborations that have been made possible with Small Grants funding.

Festival of Chinese Film and the Body

Festival of Chinese Film and the Body

Festival of Chinese Film and the Body

In the lead up to Chinese New Year 2013, the UCL China Centre for Health and Humanity will be showing four recent Chinese films. 

These will be related to the UCL Grand Challenges themes:  

Global Health, Intercultural Interaction, Sustainable Cities and Human Wellbeing. 

This event is curated by Patrizia Liberati, PhD candidate at Peking University.

The screenings will be presented by three film specialists: in Chinese film, the history of medicine in film, and film and intercultural interaction respectively. 

They will also feature a Q&A session with some of the directors in China. 

Admission is open and free of charge to all members of UCL and registered Friends of UCL CCHH.

The full programme is on the Festival webpage.

The Festival forms part of the new CCHH course Chinese Film and the Body.

Tuesday 15th January 2013
Festival of Chinese Film and Body


London 2062—London’s Energy Future

Executive Suite, Front Engineering Building, University College London

19 March 2012

London’s demand for energy resources comes from three primary activities: heating buildings, transport and electricity. London has always imported most of its energy as coal, gas, oil and electricity. Renewing London’s energy infrastructure will be vital for maintaining our position as a ‘world city’ over the next 50 years as the centres of global economic activity shift eastwards. This event brought together sector specialists to debate the technological and policy challenges facing practitioners in the coming years to ensure that London has a forward looking energy strategy, that is resilient to major global shifts. Chair: Andy Deacon, Head of Local Delivery, Energy Saving Trust


  1. Prof. Paul Ekins, Professor of Energy and Environment Policy, UCL Energy Institute
  2. Peter North, Senior Manager – Programme Delivery (Sustainable Energy), GLA
  3. Prof. Bob Lowe, Professor of Energy and Building Science, UCL Energy Institute
  4. Bob Fiddik, Team Leader - Sustainable Development & Energy, LB Croydon

Download presentations

London 2062—London’s Housing Challenge

4 April 2012

Executive Suite, Front Engineering Building, University College London

Chair: Will McKee (Chair, Mayoral Outer London Boundary Commission)


  • Dr Ben Campkin (UCL Urban Lab and UCL Bartlett School of Architecture)
  • Sofie Pelsmakers (UCL Energy Institute)
  • David Lunts (Interim Executive Director for Housing, GLA)
  • David Baptiste (Head of Housing Supply, LB Ealing)

The future continued growth of London will expose sharper housing differentials in the decades ahead. In 2031, London’s population is expected to be 10.1 million inhabitants which implies a need for about 1.6 million new houses and 1.5 million replacement houses. Numbers and space requirements are but two of the issues here; there will also be new demands and pressures caused by accessibility and the liveability of individual places. This event will bring together leading academics and practitioners to debate how we overcome the immediate financial and delivery challenges facing the housing sector to meet these larger long term challenges for London.

Download Presentations

London 2062—The Future of London's Economy

20th April 2012

Executive Suite, Front Engineering Building, University College London


  • Mark Kleinman, Assistant Director for Economic and Business Policy, GLA
  • Michael Edwards, The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL
  • Jurgen Essletzbichler, Geography, UCL
  • David Fell, Director Brook Lyndhurst

London’s position as a centre of global trade and finance is at once a source of resilience and vulnerability. London’s economy has shown itself to be diverse enough to absorb major shocks so far, but the future of the financial sector is highly significant to the future of London. The future of London’s finance sector depends on the recovery of the global economy and the development of the Asian economies, which may increasingly attract financial as well as manufacturing industries. Past investments in infrastructure and human capital provide a strong foundation for maintaining a position of global strength, though by no means secure it. This event will explore the key actions that need to be undertaken to maintain, grow and diversify London’s economic strength in the years ahead.

Download Presentations

London 2062—The Future of London's Transport

23rd April 2012

Executive Suite, Front Engineering Building, University College London

Download mp4 version (compatible with most mobile devices)

Chair: Brian Collins (Chair of Engineering Policy, UCL Faculty of Engineering Science)


  • Prof. Sir Peter Hall, UCL Bartlett School of Planning
  • Dr Robin Hickman, UCL Bartlett School of Planning
  • Richard Di Cani, Director of Transport Strategy and Planning, Transport for London
  • Ian Lindsay, Director of Land and Property, Crossrail Ltdg

Alongside increases in population size and economic activity, demand has risen for all modes of transport across London. Congestion currently occurs on the radial routes into the city, on the orbital routes around the city, and at key points where long distance and short distance commuting traffic intersect in outer London. Air traffic and the use of London’s five airports have also increased. In 2003, the Department for Transport reported that air traffic had increased six fold between 1970 and 2002, to some 200 million passengers per annum. By 2020, the figures are projected to double again. This event will explore the range of potential, modal, technological, and policy responses to these trends to ensure that London develops a sustainable transport system in the years ahead.

Download presentations

Shaping Cities for Health (Lancet Report)

Transport and the Olympic legacy: driving innovation

6.30–9.00pm 11 September 2012

UCL Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1
Blurred bus

Extra pressure on London's transport systems during the Olympics is forcing both the public and private sectors to try innovative ways to spread demand and use the road and rail networks more efficiently, from new delivery patterns to greater use of the web and twitter. This event will look at some of the successful innovations which ensured that the goods were delivered and that people got around during the Olympics, and that can be built upon to improve ways in which transport is delivered in London in the future.

Chaired by Prof Peter Jones (UCL Transport & Sustainable Development)

Presentations and Panel discussion:

  • Dr Andy Chow, (Lecturer in Transport Studies, UCL Centre for Transport Studies)
  • Dr Jon Reades, Research Associate, UCL Centre for Advanced Spacial Analysis

Followed by a drinks reception in the UCL South Cloisters   

Event video


The Long Legacy: London 2062

6.30-9.00pm 13 September 2012

UCL Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1 
St Pauls and Millennium Bridge

What will London be like 50 years after the Olympics? The London 2062 project has asked UCL academics, students and partners from other organisations to look at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. This event is the public culmination of a series of workshops and symposia addressing different aspects of the future of London (organised by Dr Sarah Bell @sarahjaynebell and Prof. Mark Tewdwr-Jones @profmarktj).

The panel will be chaired by Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost Research, and will include eminent speakers who have contributed to the London 2062 project, including:

(Dis)Comforts of Home: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Domestic Energy Use

13-14 September 2012

Picture of terraced housing

(Dis)Comforts of Home was a two-day symposium held at UCL that explored how comparative cultural perspectives on the concepts of ‘home’ and ‘comfort’ can help us understand, learn from, and influence the behaviour that drives domestic energy consumption.

Contributors to the symposium included:

  • The School of European Languages
  • Culture and Society
  • The School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)
  • Geography
  • Anthropology
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • The UCL Energy Institute
  • UrbanLab
  • The London Consortium

As well as paper presentations there will be two documentary screenings with panel discussions.


The Ingredients of a Zero Carbon Zero Waste City:

Evolving a ZEDquarter with examples from the ZEDfactory

20th January 2011

Beddington Zero Energy Development is the UK’s largest mixed use sustainable community. It was designed to create a thriving community in which ordinary people could enjoy a high quality of life, while living within their fair share of the Earth’s resources.

BedZED was designed by ZEDfactory, and developed by the Peabody Trust. It was completed and occupied in 2002. The community comprises 50% housing for sale, 25% key worker shared ownership and 25% social housing for rent.

Prior to forming ZEDfactory, Bill was an associate architect for Michael Hopkins and Partners working on the award winning Nottingham University Campus. He also developed the environmental strategy and façade design for Portcullis House, this followed 4 years of research collaborating with the leading environmental consultants in Europe, including Arups, CSTB Nantes, Christian Bartenbach and Conphoebus.

Bill has also taught at the Architectural Association and Kingston University and regularly speaks at a range of seminars and conferences all over the world.

In 1995 Bill built his own house, Hope House which is a prototype low energy live/work unit in which he and his family now live.

Healthy Cities Symposium

4th May 2011

After the success of the first UCL-Lancet Commission on the Health Effects of Climate Change, UCL and The Lancet are collaborating again on a second report, this time on Healthy Cities under the banner of the UCL Grand Challenge on Sustainable Cities.

The project has involved a number of academics from a variety of disciplines coming together to deliver a report. The first section of the report has a historical and conceptual focus and the second half deals with a number of built environment interventions and their impact on health.  The report includes a number of case studies of various cities across the world and concludes with a set of recommendations for policy.

A symposium was held on 4th May 2011 at which key arguments were presented from the project and valuable feedback gained prior to formal submission of the report to The Lancet in June 2011.

The Global Carbon Project: anticipating the evolution of CO2 trends

Held on 22nd March 2011

In spite of growing recognition of the role of CO2 for global warming, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning have accelerated in the past 10 years.
The Global Carbon Project seeks to provide latest figures on the emissions and sinks of CO2, and to anticipate the trends for the coming years.
Economic drivers and the shift towards coal as a fuel source are key to the recent growth in CO2 emissions, but the first signs of impacts from regional and international policies to limit CO2 emissions are beginning to appear.

The presentation below reviews the efforts to provide latest information on the emissions and sinks of CO2 by the scientific community through the Global Carbon Project.
Click here to download the presentation slides.

Heritage and Climate Change: Protection at any cost?

A One Day Discussion Forum

Thursday, 5th May 2011

What should the long-term priorities in the intertwined fields of planning and heritage be? Should we first put in place low carbon futures, to achieve that dimension of sustainable living? Are more immediate social or economic goals higher up the list? Or should we maintain or move to a situation where heritage value, however defined, tends to trump either of these goals?

Are there simply planning and heritage “corners” to be fought, or can an overarching value position be constructed?

This dilemma is becoming sharper. The reason is climate change. Major infrastructure schemes have been proposed to try to secure more sustainable futures in Britain. Recent examples include the Severn Barrage, the High Speed 2 rail route from London to the North, and large wind farms on and offshore. All would cause significant damage to historic sites, if constructed. At the same time there are, or will be, thousands of small proposals, from putting solar panels on Tudor farmhouses to heat storage facilities dug into urban back gardens. How do we decide on the balance of energy sustainability vs. heritage protection, viewed from our respective professional positions? The politics of lobbying and democratic politics hold major sway here. National Policy Statements, for example, are being drawn up in the energy and transport fields, which will frame the largest project decisions; meanwhile, the government’s new localism agenda is set to create a seismic shift in the planning regime. But professionals and communities alike need to form views on the basis of coherent arguments.

Planners and those in heritage professions (including archaeologists, historic buildings and conservation specialists) come at this set of questions from different angles. This one day workshop aims to bring some practitioners from each “side” together to debate the issues, and reach initial conclusions – or start a process to that end.

  • Dr Joe Flatman, Senior Lecturer, UCL Institute of Archaeology, London
  • Dr Tim Marshall, Reader, Department of Planning, Oxford Brookes University
  • Professor Yvonne Rydin, Director, UCL Environment Institute, London

To view the programme please click here.

Download the summary report by clicking here.

Click on the links below to view the presentation slides:

Previous Years


Planet U(CL): Embedding Sustainability in Universities

Lessons and Guidelines Drawn for Other Divided Cities

Cities Methodologies

The Future of Urban Studies

Return of the Slum

Urban Water Poverty – workshop


UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities: Launch

Cinema & Climate Change

The Age of Stupid – screening and panel discussion

Invisible – screening and panel discussion

Growing a New Piece of City: Designing a legacy for 21st-century London – panel discussion

Just Enough: Sufficiency and the cultural imagination – one-day symposium

UCL Energy Institute Launch

Climate Change: The biggest global-health threat of the 21st century
The UCL–Lancet Commission on Managing the Health Effects of Climate Change

City Visions – UCL Urban Laboratory Launch

Disaster Risk Reduction for Natural Hazards: Putting Research into Practice – Disaster risk reduction conference held in November 2009