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Sustainable Cities: Outcomes
The Mapping Global Urbanism project reveals the breadth of geographical areas covered by UCL research.
Cross disciplinary research map
Together with the UCL ISR (Institute for Sustainable Resources) and CASA we have produced an interactive map of researchers involved in sustainable cities.
Selection of video and audio related to the Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities.
- Urban Infrastructure: Drainage
- Talks from Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities
- Imagining the Future City: London 2062
- Launch of the UCL-Lancet report on Healthy Cities
- All videos
GCSC Small Grants
First Applicant: Dr Jyoti Belur (Department of Security and Crime Science)
Second Applicant: Dr Priti Parikh (Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering)
Katrina Kimmorley (Pollinate Energy, Bangalore, India)
In developing countries, urbanisation results in the formation of slums; neighbourhoods which are characterised by environmental degradation, lack of provision of water-sanitation, lack of access to affordable energy and dilapidated housing stock. Within this setting there is evidence to demonstrate that communal facilities such as public toilets, if not well sited and designed, could potentially act as crime generators, especially for gender based violent crimes such as assault and rape. The absence of lighting, among other factors, such as inadequate provision of basic sanitation and lack of police presence in slums, has been highlighted as facilitators for violence against women in slums in third world countries (Lennon 2011; Amnesty International 2010).
This research project proposes to test the hypothesis that provision of adequate lighting around public toilets in slums will reduce womens perception of insecurity and fear of crime.
First Applicant: Dr Mary Hilson (School of European Languages, Culture and Society)
Second Applicant: Prof Muki Haklay (Department of Civil, Environmental, Geomatic Engineering)
- Dr Marina Chang (UCL Advances)
- Louise Francis (Mapping for Change)
How can large complex cities such as London develop sustainable food systems? The UNs designation of 2012 as International Year of Co-operatives stimulated interest in co-operatives as a way of responding to this major challenge of the 21st century. However, while they are often cited as a means of bridging the divide between consumers and producers, research on co-operatives has itself been divided across different disciplines. Agricultural, consumer and worker co-operatives have generated quite distinct bodies of research. Seeking novel ways to integrate these disparate traditions this pilot project will map the current landscape of food co-operatives in London as a significant starting point to understand the role and potential of food co-operatives in feeding the twenty-first century city.
First Applicant: Dr Hilary Powell (Bartlett School of Architecture)
Second Applicant: Prof Susanne Kuechler (Anthropology)
- Dr Simon Werrett (UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies)
- Professor Julian Evans (UCL Chemistry)
- Dr Ruth Siddall (UCL Earth Sciences)
- Jonathan Gardner (UCL Archaeology)
- Maylarch Demolition
- London Metal Exchange
- AMR Scrap metal merchants
Artist Hilary Powell reclaims the base metals of roofing zinc and copper piping from demolition sites and scrap yards in order to create etchings that both depict and re-imagine the post industrial landscapes from which they emerge. Through imaginative salvage the work explores regeneration and economic transition through putting the physical remnants of industrial decline to artistic use. In the project creative production and the poetry and politics of place combine with the science, agency and political ecology of materials.
Emerging from intensive on site research and production this new collaborative project unpacks the material components of the demolition site (ZINC, COPPER, STEEL, CONCRETE, LONDON BRICK STOCK, ASBESTOS, LIME MORTAR, CEMENT, LEAD, SLATE…..) It follows the life cycles and journeys of these seemingly banal by-products of regeneration and examines what these assorted materials illuminate through their passage through and rupture with human systems of use and value. The story of each material, its place in the demolition site and onward journey will be told through:
A series of workshop events focused on each specific material exploring its properties, histories and associations with diverse experts from anthropology, chemistry, archaeology, science and technology studies and the arts.
A publication containing a series of stories made in collaboration with the materials themselves and an exhibition of these works
Client-architect interactions during minor domestic works: an overlooked opportunity for enhancing the sustainability of the UK housing stock?
First Applicant: Dr Aeli Roberts (School of Construction and Project Management)
Second Applicant: Dr Russell Hitchings (Geography)
- Mr Richard Hind (School of Construction and Project Management)
- Dr Niamh Murtagh (School of Construction and Project Management)
The decisions made by householders during minor construction works on their home will, in part, determine domestic energy consumption through the coming decades. With 87% of the existing housing stock likely to still be in use in 2050, sustainable cities of the future will require high energy-efficiency in homes already built. Owner-occupiers remain critical gate-keepers. In terms of householder response to policy initiatives aimed at energy efficiency, evidence suggests that cost and disruption are amongst the primary reasons for rejection of change. Yet when householders undertake construction work on their home, a financial commitment and an expectation of disruption are already taken for granted. Minor works might therefore be a point at which barriers to more sustainable change may be lowered. The proposed project will examine minor construction works as an important ‘point of change’ with significant potential for the enhancement of the energy-efficiency of existing building stock.
Our study will provide a detailed appreciation of the discussions between householder and architect at the start of a minor works project (extension, loft conversion, conservatory replacement or extensive refurbishment) to examine if and how issues of sustainability are broached, considered, accepted or rejected. This will be done through a novel ethnographic approach, focussed on observation of interpersonal dynamics in two critical meetings: the initial brief and the first presentation of designs. Through a detailed analysis of the resulting fieldnotes and interview transcripts, we will generate a nuanced appreciation of how the assumptions and interactions that characterise such minor works currently lead to more or less sustainable homes and how architects could encourage owner-occupiers to choose more sustainable homes. By exploring ways in which today’s householders could be encouraged to make their properties more sustainable, we are working towards more comfortable and healthier homes for the next generation of occupants.
First Applicant: Dr Helena Titheridge (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering)
Second Applicant Dr John Ward (Omega Centre, Bartlett School of Planning)
Dr Nicola Christie (UCL Transport Institute)
There is considerable evidence (Titheridge et al, 2014) that those on low incomes living in deprived neighbourhoods, are more adversely affected by the impacts of transport than those living in more affluent neighbourhoods. These differences include an increased risk of road traffic injury, increased concerns about personal security, and higher exposure rates to ozone and particulate matter. People without cars, those with disabilities, the elderly and school children are the most severely affected by severance (where transport schemes or traffic act as a barrier to mobility and social interaction). This combination of problems can reduce access to key services such as employment, education and healthcare, lead to social isolation and reduce physical and mental well-being.
However, current methods used to appraise and evaluate transport schemes are based on aggregate measures of the ratio of total benefits to total costs. Distributional impacts, if considered at all, are typically assessed using qualitative methods and are thus likely to be given less weight in decision-making process than total benefits given the current dominance of quantitative methods within the field of transport planning.
This project aims to assess the extent to which distributional impacts are considered in appraisal and evaluation of major transport policies, programmes and projects and critically assess the evidence that transport projects lead to distributional impacts.
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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.
- Dr Robert Biel (Development Planning Unit)
- Dr Gemma Moore (UCL Public Engagement)
- Dr Kaori O’Connor (Anthropology)
- Marina Chang (Development Planning Unit)
Agri-food systems in London exemplify unsustainability. This project aimed to conduct a pilot study into the current landscape of food and agriculture in London, and to use university-community engagement to build dynamic knowledge.
The project involved a large number of UCL staff and students, including the Food Junctions network (33 departments at UCL and 25 community groups). Multi-disciplinary expertise was provided by members of UCL with an interest in food and agriculture, including those involved in public health, medicine, anthropology, geography, archaeology, soil science, environment, public policy and economy.
Around 300 guests attended The Food Junctions Cookbook launch
party, held in the North Cloisters at UCL on the 27th October 2011.
Multi-sited ethnographical investigations produced a research report with a comprehensive, but critical, analysis of the current landscape of food and agriculture in London.
The Food Junctions Cookbook: Living Recipes for Social Innovation is the result of a unique collaboration between UCL staff and students and London’s local communities. It explores the complex relationships between food, human society and nature. It mixes practice, politics and pleasure and ties people together through a common interest in food.
- Dr Luiza Campos (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering)
- Dr Saul Purton (Structural and Molecular Biology)
- Alessandro Marco Lizzul (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering)
- Dr Frank Baganz (Biochemical Engineering)
- Dr Marcos Cruz (Bartlett School of Architecture)
- Paul Hellier (Mechanical Engineering)
- Richard Beckett (Bartlett School of Architecture)
Algae has the potential to become a renewable source of biomass. This project investigated the feasibility of integrating algal production with common urban waste streams, such as carbon dioxide from exhaust gases and nutrients from wastewater.
Two working prototype PBRs (photobioreactors) have been built, a 10 litre and a 60 litre model. The larger photobioreactor, a development based on the original prototype, has been placed in the Darwin Building’s green house.Algal production can be integrated with many common waste streams, including diesel exhaust emissions, and wastewaters, providing environmental benefits to both air and water quality.
Biomass productivities within the reactor are high, but require considerable energy input. Work is ongoing to optimise the process and reduce costs.
- Dr Nick Shepley (English)
- Prof Iain Borden (Bartlett School of Architecture)
- Dr Andrea Fredericksen (UCL Art Museum)
The major aims of the one-day festival and the exhibitions were to present specialist research material from many disciplines, and to do so in vibrant, accessible, and sustainable ways, suitable to a broad audience.
Inspired by the spirit of the oympics, the event allowed individuals from around the world to share their explorations of the city with an unusually broad audience (almost 500 people – academic and non-academic – from across the UK, Europe, and the US pre-registered for the day, and an extra 100 attended on the day).
The event and the exhibitions juxtaposed and interconnected research from The Bartlett, Birkbeck, Central St Martins; the Slade; CASA (UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis), UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, UCL Department of English, UCL City Centre, UCL Urban Laboratory, UCL Department of Geography and UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies.
The event identified areas of shared interest and was the starting point for a number of collaborative partnerships: with the charity First Story, the Man Booker Prize, UCL English Department’s City Centre, and UCL’s Urban Laboratory.
- Dr Michael Stewart (Anthropology)
- Prof. Nic Clear (Bartlett School of Architecture)
- Prof Mark Tewdwr-Jones (Bartlett School of Planning)
The inaugural Open City: Documentary Festival was held from the 16th–19th June 2011, and Open City: Architecture was one part of it. Open City Docs represented a systematic collaboration between Anthropology and the Bartlett.
This festival, and the MyStreet website, are research and a form of
public engagement. They are a way to alter the University’s relationship
with its urban environment. This form of engagement, where research is
collaboratively produced by ‘the public’ and a university employee,
provides a model to be adopted elsewhere – e.g. in a new UCL site
outside of central London. Our staff now work for think tanks, others
are taking the model abroad.
There have been packed screening of the 12 best films at Open City Docs Fest, bringing new audiences into UCL. The best of 2012 films were screened on BBC Community Channel. There was an Arup Phase Two exhibition of 20 films May-October 2012.
Through the annual competition and UCL screenings this work is creating new conversations about the urban environment. MyStreet is a living on-line archive of everyday life, available for anyone who is interested in exploring urban life in London.
Open City Docs Fest is an annual live festival devoted to exploring the world we live in through the vision of documentary film. The festival was well received by the public and those at UCL, and t has become a regular fixture in the UCL calendar.
The My Street website uses amateur documentaries inspired by
Mass Observation. Ten minute long, postcode linked, allow people to
tell the stories of their places.
The work of 200 filmmakers has been inspired by the project.
Planning the healthy city: soft-normativism as an approach to problems of value pluralism and complexity in built environment interventions
- Dr James Wilson (Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health)
- Prof Mark Tewdwr-Jones (Bartlett School of Planning)
- Giovanni De Grandis (Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health)
- Yvonne Rydin (Bartlett School of Planning)
This project extends the framework used in the UCL-Lancet Commission report, ‘Shaping Cities for Health’, arguing that the inter-relationships leading to urban health outcomes are complex, non-linear and multi-directional.
This project aims to develop a new approach to managing complexity and value conflicts in planning, through a critical engagement between the values of the stakeholders, normative reasoning about the ethics of health promotion, and the constraints afforded by present circumstances.
Planning for health raises important questions about power and justice – questions which neither planning theory nor political philosophy in their current incarnations are well equipped to answer. This project establishes a dialogue between the two disciplines. The project will bring together several academic disciplines relevant to sustainable cities. It engages philosophers, ethicists and others interested in making public policy about how to manage value conflicts in a legitimate way under real world conditions
Workshop outputs will be published as in a journal special edition, and a website and blog will be developed at www.thejustcity.org.
- Dr Charlotte Lemanski (Geography)
- Dr Colin Marx (Development Planning Unit)
The aim of this project was to run a small workshop where invited speakers would discuss the absent role of ‘The City’ (in a spatial sense) from popular analyses of urban poverty.
Although poverty is an inherently spatial concept, the way in which the space of the city is represented in analyses of urban poverty is surprisingly uni-dimensional, focusing almost exclusively on the physical distribution of poverty. Consequently, the aim of the workshop was to explore how approaching the ‘spaces of poverty’ from multiple perspectives could contribute towards more effective and just poverty reduction policies.
By bringing together scholars from different disciplines (e.g. geographers, planners, economists), as well as development policy experts (e.g. from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the World Bank), the workshop facilitated wide discussion regarding the role of urban space in the theory and practice of urban poverty.
Urban poverty is a key challenge for Sustainable Cities, especially as those cities with the fastest growing urbanisation rates are frequently also those with the highest rates of urban poverty.
“The City in Urban Poverty” edited by Charlotte Lemanski and Colin Marx, will be published in 2015 by Palgrave-Macmillan.
- Dr Serge Guillas (Statistical Science)
- Prof William McGuire (Earth Sciences)
- Dr Simon Day (Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre)
Tsunami behaviour in the deep waters of the open ocean is well understood. This is not the case in near shore waters. The aim of this workshop was to improve understanding of the behaviour of tsunamis in near shore waters, and to improve models of coastal city inundation.
Dr Guillas organised the Workshop ‘Tsunamis in Port Cities from Generation to Impact’, held at UCL in August 2011, which brought together differing approaches and models of tsunami behaviour.
Following the workshop Dr Guillas became Co-investigator, in charge of the work package on the quantification of uncertainties in numerical models, for a 4-year, £2m NERC national consortium grant, awarded in 2012. The workshop contributed to framing the application.
Another result of the workshop is that Dr Guillas is now involved in an international network studying tsunami hazard, including UK, Japan, New Zealand, USA, Ireland.
Drs Guillas and Day secured funding from UCL Business to deliver results on tsunami hazard assessment, and they were invited to present the results of their to the insurance industry in the City of London in January 2013 http://bit.ly/17j97Cf.
A paper with Professor Dias from University College Dublin was written as a result of Prof. Dias attending the workshop. http://bit.ly/ZZZTFv
Regeneration Realities is the second in the Urban Pamphleteer Series (following Future and Smart Cities). The series, from the UCL Urban Laboratory, draws on the history of radical pamphleteering to stimulate debate and instigate change.
Once again it features some of the best thinkers on urban issues:
Duncan Bowie, Emma Dent Coad, Howard Read, Loretta Lees, David Roberts, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Alexandre Apsan Frediani, Stephanie Butcher, Paul Watt, Isaac Marrero- Guillamón, Alberto Duman, Martine Drozdz, Phil Cohen, Ben Campkin, Michael Edwards and isik.knutsdotter.
Future & Smart Cities
Future and Smart Cities is the first in the Urban Pamphleteer Series. The series, from the UCL Urban Laboratory, draws on the history of radical pamphleteering to stimulate debate and instigate change. It features some of the best thinkers on urban issues, including Muki Haklay, Sarah Bell, Alan Penn, Christoph Lindner, John Bingham-Hall, Brian Dixon, Laura Vaughan, Mike Crang & Stephen Graham, Regner Ramos, Susan Collins, Yvonne Rogers, Licia Capra & Johannes Schöning, and Antoine Picon.
The series is edited by Ben Campkin and Rebecca Ross, and designed by Guglielmo Rossi. It is produced with financial support from the UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities.
The series was launched on 26 April 2013 at Cities Methodologies, UCL Urban Laboratory's annual exhibition, held at the Slade Research Centre, UCL.
A book based on the London 2062 work, edited by Sarah Bell and James Paskins, was published in November 2013.
The London 2062 book features new work that addresses London’s future, including academic writing, opinion pieces and illustrations. The book also features the winning entries from the London 2062 competition, which invited contributions from UCL students.
For more details about the book please visit the London 2062 website.
"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.
Stemming the Flow
A poster presentations from the Carbon Governance Project that considers the links between energy governance and climate change governance.
The presentation considers the tensions between the two regimes and argues that a more integrated approach is required to avoid conflicting agendas and to create synergies in policy making.
A special issue of the International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development
A special issue of IJUSD covering Urban Water Poverty was edited by Adriana Allen (DPU) and Sarah Bell (CEGE). The special issue built on work supported by the UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities: a Public Panel discussion (pdf) and an Expert Symposium, led by Adriana Allen and Sarah Bell
This publication brings together diverse interdisciplinary perspectives seeking answers to the following questions:
- What do we know about urban water poverty and how to tackle it?
- What additional conceptual frameworks can shed light into the way in which water material and immaterial flows produce cities and accumulation and deprivation within them?
- What needs to be done differently if we are to put this knowledge into practice up to and beyond 2015?
More information about the supporting events can be found on the Urban Water Poverty Project Page.
Adriana Allen is a Senior Lecturer at UCL Development Planning Unit (DPU) and Co-director of the Environment Institute theme on Sustainable Cities
Sarah Bell is a Senior Lecturer at UCL Civil, Geomatic & Environmental Engineering (CEGE) and Co-director of the Environment institute theme on Water Security
The Food Junctions Cookbook ties people together through a common interest in food, and represents a genuine collaboration between UCL, London’s local communities and beyond.
The Food Junctions Cookbook is more than a recipe book, it includes things to cook, but mixes in practice, politics and pleasure. Some 70 contributors share their ‘living recipes’ for things to eat, things to think about and above all things to do. Get yourself ready to try some of these living recipes: how to taste wine, open up a catering co-op, deal with food waste, prevent children obesity, make delicious dishes from wild plants and grow food in the city.
This Cookbook is another step on a collective journey that began with Food Junctions in 2010, which explored the significance of food, culminating in a festival that celebrated food in and as community, and shared new ways of thinking about what we produce and consume.
*The book is sold on a not for profit basis: proceeds from sales are used to continue this project and to support local communities around London.
perspectives – academic viewpoints from palette
Complete set (pdf 1MB)
- Prof Yvonne Rydin: Learning to Change
- Prof Matthew Gandy: Less Speculation, More Imagination
- Prof Mark Maslin: Future Vision of a Sustainable Zero-Carbon World
- Prof Mark Tewdwr-Jones: Governing London: World city, local tensions
- Prof Iain Borden: Sustainability and Architectural Design
- Dr Sarah Bell: Engineers' Identity Crisis
- Prof Tadj Oreszczyn: Our Innate Ability to Think of New Ways to Use Energy
- Adriana Allen: Sustainable Cities or Sustainable Urbanisation?
- Caren Levy: Urbanisation without Social Justice is not Sustainable
- Prof Michael Batty: How Big Can a City Get?
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 for Sustainable Cities
from GCSC & Institute for Sustainable Resources
9.00 5th November to 12.00 6th November 2013
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:
- Read more about the Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities Catalyst Grants
- Read more about the Sustainable Building Products Research Grant
- Read more about the project to map cross disciplinary research interests in cities & resources at UCL Complementing this critical engagement with urban forms and resource use is a short film on sewage. Three UCL academics discuss their take on London’s drainage, exposing the contested history and alternative futures of London’s Victorian infrastructure. View Charlotte's video.
- Download the conference proceeding for details of the programme, speakers, abstracts along with details of the research and catalyst grant projects.
- See videos from all the talks, on the UCL ISR YouTube Channel
- Sustainable Cities Symposium shows the need for cross-disciplinary research - student blog
- Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities Executive Summary by Louise Guibrunet
- Sustainable Resources for Sustainable Cities – What goes in, must come out - Film Competition- Mike Fell - the winner of the Judges award of the short film competition for Secret Signal- Maria Ossul Vermehren - the winner of the People's award of the short film competition for Squatter Settlement
- Download Closing the Gap: Aligning Strategies Towards Sustainable Resources Use from the inaugural symposium.
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:
- Why call it the urban global south?
- What kind of practice does it require?
- What kind of theory is required for the urban global south?
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.
- Provide a centrally located transport hub to coordinate transport-related research across UCL’s ten faculties
- Develop a new web portal which will act as a platform to create collaborative research bids
- 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
- 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
- Develop a new MSc in Transport, Health and Policy
- Develop income generating CPD and consultancy activities
- Hold a number of interdisciplinary research bid ‘sandpits’ based on key challenges
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
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
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
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
- Prof. Paul Ekins, Professor of Energy and Environment Policy, UCL Energy Institute
- Peter North, Senior Manager – Programme Delivery (Sustainable Energy), GLA
- Prof. Bob Lowe, Professor of Energy and Building Science, UCL Energy Institute
- Bob Fiddik, Team Leader - Sustainable Development & Energy, LB Croydon
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.
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.
23rd April 2012
Executive Suite, Front Engineering Building, University College London
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.
2.30, 30 May 2012
Shaping Cities for Heath: Complexity and the Planning of Urban Environments in the 21st Century
Lancet and UCL Commission
Denys Holland Lecture Theatre, UCL Faculty of Laws
6.30–9.00pm 11 September 2012
UCL Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1
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
- Michele Dix (Managing Director, Planning, Transport for London)
- Natalie Chapman, (Head of Policy, Freight Transport Association @Natalie_FTA)
Followed by a drinks reception in the UCL South Cloisters
6.30-9.00pm 13 September 2012
UCL Cruciform Lecture Theatre 1
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).
- Dr Ben Campkin (Director, UCL Urban Laboratory,@BenCampkin)
- Prof Janice Morphet, (UCL Bartlett School of Planning, @janicemorphet)
- Ben Harrison, (Director, Future of London,@BenCities)
13-14 September 2012
(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)
- Science and Technology Studies
- The UCL Energy Institute
- The London Consortium
As well as paper presentations there will be two documentary screenings with panel discussions.
Planet U(CL): Embedding Sustainability in Universities
Lessons and Guidelines Drawn for Other Divided Cities
Urban Water Poverty – workshop
UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities: Launch
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
GCSC Related Outcomes
Page last modified on 02 sep 14 10:08