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UCL GCSC: Projects
Current Small Grants
Academic Year 2012/13
The suburban food basket: the role of spatial setting and social context in providing access to healthy food
- Dr Shaun Scholes (Health and Social Surveys Group, UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health)
- Professor Laura Vaughan (Bartlett School of Graduate Studies)
- Dr Jennifer Mindell (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health)
- Dr Angela Donkin (UCL Institute of Health Equity)
- Dr. Catalina Spataru (UCL Energy Institute)
- Dr. Hervé Borrion (Department of Security and Crime Science)
- Dr. Ivan Wall (Department of Biochemical Engineering)
- Prof. Perry Elliott, (Young Institute of Cardiovascular Science)
- Dr. Pier Lambiase (Cardiology Department Heart Hospital)
- Dr Emily Morris (Institute of the Americas)
- Dr Julio Davila (Development Planning Unit)
- Prof. Nick Tyler (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering)
- Dr Juan Llanes Guerra (Centro de Estudios del Medio Ambiente (CEMA), University of Havana)
- Antonio Villasol (Ministerio del Transporte)
- Dr Stephen Marshall (Bartlett School of Planning)
- Prof Nick Tyler (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering)
- Dr Catherine Holloway (Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering)
- Prof Michael Batty (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis)
- Dr James Cheshire (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis)
The ‘City for Human Locomotion’ is the vision of an urban environment designed to expedite travel on foot, by bicycle, wheelchair and other human-powered modes (rollerblades, skateboards, scooters, etc.).
Currently there is a vicious circle whereby the lack of knowledge about the full potential for human-powered modes leads to a lack of provision; this discourages use of these modes; and their invisibility hinders the political will to cater for their use. This situation could be turned around, if we could assemble and integrate more knowledge on all these fronts.
The primary aim is to assemble baseline knowledge about the different human-powered modes, especially those about which less is known (e.g. wheelchair use, rollerblades, skateboards, etc.), their potential conflicts and synergies, and their potential roles in a sustainable ‘city for human locomotion’; hence to gauge the potential for where future research would best be directed.
|Bartlett news story about Cities for Human Locomotion|
- Prof. Susan Michie (Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology)
- Richard Jackson (UCL Estates)
- Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
- UCL Human Resources
- UCL Union
Previous Small Grants
Academic Year 2011/12
GCSC Theme: Olympic Legacy
Lead: Matthew Wood-Hill (UCL Development Planning Unit)
Gynna Millan (UCL Development Planning Unit)
Steph Patton (UCL Anthropology, Manager, MyStreet: Doc in a Day, Open City London)
Dr Michael Stewart (UCL Anthropology)
Additional collaborators: Etienne von Bertrab (UCL Development Planning Unit)
Prof Muki Haklay (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering)
Project: This project seeks to explore the potential of visual mapping methodologies (video and social media) to understand the impact of the London 2012 Olympics on open spaces in the city. The project therefore seeks to capture the ‘moment in time’ nature that the event provides to explore the specific questions ‘Whose Olympics? And whose London in 2012?'
The contentious use and ownership of open spaces in London is receiving increasing attention in the public eye. Since 2008 the Justice in the Green project has explored mapping techniques on the fringes of the Olympic site, revealing certain disconnects between legacy planners’ intentions and the aspirations of local residents and users of open spaces. Attention given to the Games has not focused explicitly on the changing importance of urban open spaces in enabling greater inclusion in the Olympic experience.
The project will operate through an online platform hosted by the established MyStreetFilms portal created by UCL Anthropology in association with Open City London. Our proposed platform, ‘MyOlympics’, will use this existing network to call for contributions from members of the public to visually map how open spaces in London are being transformed by the Olympics and related events, and how individuals are specifically experiencing these spaces during and immediately after the Games as the legacy begins to take shape. The anticipation in the build-up to the Olympics and the ‘feel good factor’ generated during the event ensures a high level of public and media interest. What happens in the period immediately after the event offers fertile grounds for continued research.
GCSC Theme: The Cultural City
Lead: Dr Richard Taws (UCL History of Art)
Main collaborator: Dr Jann Matlock (UCL French and SELCS)
Additional collaborator: Dr Barbara Penner (UCL Barlett School of Architecture)
Project: Our project will create a network of scholars in Europe and North America working on ruin, obsolescence, waste and demolition in modern cities. UCL Grand Challenges funding will support two focused interdisciplinary workshops and site visits designed to establish research connections and develop international dialogues. A website will accompany the workshops and a published collection of papers will disseminate this research to a wide public and generate international frameworks for future collaborations.
We begin with the premise that sustainable cities must contemplate their pasts as well as their futures. While researching the ephemeral aspects of cities might seem antithetical to an analysis of the sustainable city, we argue that the broken and the ruined, the ephemeral and the short-lived, the torn-down and the wasted, are crucial to policy as well as practices of sustainability. Ephemeral Cities will provide a historical and contextual investigation of buildings, objects, images and spaces that either fell by the wayside or were never meant to last. Investigating how ephemerality came to stand for the experience of urban life, we will ask how lessons from the past might help us meet the challenge presented by our own discarded objects in the cities of the future.
GCSC Theme: London
Lead: Dr Barbara Lipietz (UCL Development Planning Unit)
Main collaborator: Prof Mike Raco (UCL Bartlett School of Planning)
Additional collaborators: Prof Jennifer Robinson (UCL Geography); Prof Michael Edwards (UCL Bartlett School of Planning); Prof Susan Parnell (UCL Geography)
Project: This project aims to understand the processes shaping the possibilities for community voices to contribute to long-term strategic planning for sustainable urban development. It will consider how democratic modes of governance shape long-term strategic planning and city visioning in two different contexts, London and Johannesburg, through a systematic comparison of the recently published Revised London Plan (2011) and Johannesburg’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (2011) to explore:
- the democratic and participatory processes through which the strategies were produced. Do these reflect wider international definitions of a ‘good governance’ agenda and meet expectations of democratic urban governance?
- the extent to which the strategies reflect the interests of local stakeholders (including neighbourhood, community-based organisations and advocacy groups) and, specifically, whether the contents of the plans reflect local residents’ concerns for sustainable development, especially in post-financial crisis contexts.
The project will be among the first systematic academic interrogations of the revised London Plan, meeting UCL’s wider mission to ‘contribute to the vibrancy and development of London as a world-leading city’ and its commitment to supporting community inputs to making sustainable cities. It will pilot an initiative to develop comparative methods and interpretive frameworks in urban governance appropriate for an international approach to urban studies.
GCSC Theme: Sustainable Resources
Lead: Dr Fuzhan Nasiri (UCL Bartlett School of Graduate Studies)
Main collaborator: Dr Sarah Bell (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering)
Project: Globally, reclaimed water is increasingly supplied for various uses due to aggravating water shortages caused by growing urban communities and climate change, more stringent wastewater effluent standards, and the expanding availability of high-performing and cost-effective water reclamation technologies. In the United Kingdom, however, there has not been a consistent and considerable pattern of urban water-reuse because historically there has been a sufficient supply of water. With highly increasing water demand in the South-East and more droughts due to climatic change, there is growing public and political consensus to establish water-reuse networks as part of a sustainable cities agenda. At present, the projects within the UK have focused on building and development-scale water re-use. However, greater opportunities exist, at a larger scale, with urban water reuse networks, to rebalance water use and demand, tap into unconventional water resources and improve the economic and environmental performance of urban water supply systems.
This project serves as a pilot study to investigate the feasibility, costs, and benefits of developing water reuse networks in urban areas with a particular emphasis on London. The aim of this pilot study is to develop a multi-university EPSRC research network and proposal by July 2012.
GCSC Theme: Sustainable Resources
Lead: Tse-Hui Teh (UCL Bartlett School of Planning)
Main collaborator: Dr Barbara Penner (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture)
Additional collaborators: Dr Sarah Bell (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering); Virginia Gardiner, Loowatt
Project: Our proposed workshop responds to the peculiar silence about sanitation systems in relation to sustainability. Discussions around sustainable cities focus on issues like farming, recycling, and water conservation, all of which intersect with sanitation and resource recovery, but rarely address them. New Loos for London? holds that sanitation must be part of any meaningful strategy for sustainable cities.
Our project aims to explore the viability of dry sanitation in London. In an age of water, energy and fertilizer scarcity, dry sanitation requires fewer resources to transport and treat waste than waterborne systems and offers improved nutrient recovery. A two-day invited workshop brings together key figures from bodies that deal with waste and sewers, entrepreneurs and designers developing alternative systems, cultural commentators, and interested members of the community. It will allow a focused exchange of information and views about the main technological, social, logistical and political implications of such schemes.
New Loos for London? develops on Tse-Hui Teh’s PhD research about London which found that some environmentally aware citizens were already using “yellow mellow” toilet flushing techniques to conserve water. This project aims to build on their informal efforts by considering how to implement dry sanitation systems at a community level.
GCSC Theme: Sustainable Resources
Lead: Dr Murray Fraser (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture)
Main collaborator: Dr Camillo Boano (UCL Development Planning Unit)
Additional collaborators: Nasser Golzari and Yara Sharif, Palestine Regeneration Team (PART)
Project: The project is to design an entirely new building type called the ‘Learning Room’, which is being conceived in this first instance as helping with reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. It is conceived as a prototype for a series of annexes to existing schools that can be applied in many countries if the prototype proves successful.
There are two key aims for the Learning Room: firstly, to provide a community centre where residents can meet together to discuss urban regeneration plans; secondly, to act as a knowledge base for innovative forms of sustainable construction that can help with rebuilding in conditions of chronic lack of building materials, energy, water etc. We are also currently writing a self-build manual to help Gazans create low-energy dwellings when rehousing, and the Learning Room will thus act as the location where this knowledge can be disseminated. Families rebuilding their houses will be able to study different forms of construction and low-cost passive energy-saving devices. It will act as a ‘community laboratory’ in some of the poorest and toughest places on earth.
A test site has been identified for a prototype Learning Room in a school in the Zaytouna neighbourhood of Gaza City, with that project being funded by UN-Habitat with support from the Palestinian Housing Council, Gaza University, Islamic Relief and other bodies.
Current GCSC projects
The UCL London 2062 project aims to gather evidence about the forces and factors that shape London and to identify points of debate and decision regarding what the city might be five decades from now. This process involves synthesising the diverse expertise within the academic community at UCL and elsewhere, together with London’s citizens, government, professions, artists, media and other public institutions.
Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities Catalyst Grants
The UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources and UCL Grand Challenge for Sustainable Cities have awarded five £5,000 catalyst grants as part of the 2013 BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities/UCL Grand Challenges Symposium.
Catalyst Grants are aimed at enabling researchers to develop realistic and relevant research partnerships across disciplines, and research strategies with the potential for significant national or international impact. These grants are designed to facilitate the development of projects which have the potential to produce on-going research activity.
The winners of the 2013 Catalyst Grants are as follows:
Coming Soon—Community Engagement Projects
More information about these projects will be added here soon.
Explore previous GCSC projects
View the Outcomes section of the GCSC website for more detail on project outputs.
To mark the mid-point of the international decade of ‘Water for Life’ and the last five years of the Millennium Development Goals, the UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities held a public panel discussion and an expert symposium on the topic of urban water poverty. A range of perspectives were published in a special issue of the ‘International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development’.
A report by Dr Laura Vaughan (UCL Bartlett School of
Graduate Studies), Beyond the Ghetto – An interdisciplinary perspective on
patterns of ethnicity in the built environment, has been published to mark UCL
"The Commission ... proposes a new approach to the analysis and promotion of urban health, one that recognises the uniqueness and complexity of cities."
Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet
Following the first UCL-Lancet Commission on the Managing the Health Effects of Climate Change (published in The Lancet on 16 May 2009), UCL and The Lancet are collaborating again on a second Commission report.
The Healthy Cities Commission is a UCL Grand Challenge on Sustainable Cities project on the role that urban planning can and should play in delivering health improvements through reshaping the urban fabric of our cities. The project has involved 19 academics and students from a variety of disciplines led by Yvonne Rydin, Professor of Planning Environment and Public Policy in the UCL Bartlett School of Planning.
- Read the Commission's report, Shaping Cities for Health: the Complexity of Planning Urban Environments in the 21st Century.
- Read the Lancet editorial
UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities Healthy Cities Commission
Abstract from GCSC Healthy Cities Commission report
With almost thirty years experience from the Healthy Cities movement, we are increasingly aware of the features that transform a city into a healthy one. What is less well understood is how to deliver the potential health benefits and how to ensure that they reach all citizens in urban contexts across the world. This is an increasingly important task given that the majority of the world’s population already live in cities and that, with current high rates of urbanisation; many millions more will soon do so. We provide an analysis of how health outcomes are part of the complexity of urban processes, arguing against the assumption that urban health outcomes will improve with economic growth and demographic change. Instead, we highlight the role that urban planning can and should play in delivering health improvements through reshaping the urban fabric of our cities. We consider this through case studies of sanitation and wastewater management, urban mobility, building standards, the urban heat island effect and urban agriculture. We follow this with a discussion of the implications of a complexity approach for planning of urban environments, emphasising project-based experimentation and evaluation leading to self-reflection and dialogue.
- Cities are complex systems, so that health outcomes are emergent properties
- The urban advantage in health outcomes has to be actively promoted and maintained
- Inequalities in health outcomes should be recognised at the urban scale
- A linear or cyclical planning approach is insufficient in conditions of complexity
- Urban planning for health needs to emphasise experimentation through projects
- Evaluation leading to dialogue between stakeholders and self-reflection is essential
This is an abstract of a report submitted in February 2012 for publication in The Lancet.
The Carbon Governance Project aims to provide a new insight into the approach necessary to address human-induced climate change. The project explores the governance actions necessary to limit future human carbon emissions whilst recognising that the use of carbon must meet the Millennium Development Goals, maintain global social and economic stability and achieve a transition to a low-carbon economy and a sustainable energy supply for the long-term future.
It encompasses three sub-projects:
The project involves academics from Earth Sciences, Geography, Laws, Energy Institute, SEESS, Development Planning Unit, School of Public Policy; Science and Technology Studies, Geography, and Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology.
Page last modified on 16 apr 13 14:54