UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


UCL researchers publish new book about community collaboration and liveable cities

9 May 2023

UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering researchers and colleagues publish 'Co-designing Infrastructures', exploring bottom-up solutions for housing

Photo of Charlotte Johnson speaking to stakeholders

How can community collaboration help with public / private innovation in the built environment, and how can that help us with current and future crises?  Focusing on this question, Sarah Bell and colleagues from UCL have published a fascinating new book entitled, 'Co-designing Infrastructures: Community Collaboration for Liveable Cities'. The book tells the story of a research programme designed to bring the power of engineering and technology into the hands of grassroots community groups, to create bottom-up solutions to global crises.

Four projects in London are described in rich detail, exemplifying community collaboration with engineers, designers and scientists to enact urban change. The projects co-designed solutions to air pollution, housing, the water-energy-food nexus, and water management. The book combines theory and practice: the case-study accounts are underpinned by theories of participation, environmental politics and socio-technical systems. Co-authored by researchers, it includes voices of community collaborators, their experiences, frustrations and aspirations.

About the Authors

Sarah Bell is City of Melbourne Chair in Urban Resilience and Innovation at the University of Melbourne and Visiting Professor in Environmental Engineering at University College London (UCL). Charlotte Johnson is Head of Research Programmes at the Centre for Sustainable Energy and a Senior Research Fellow at UCL. Kat Austen’s artistic practice is underpinned by extensive research and motivated by questions of how to move towards a more socially and environmentally just future. Gemma Moore is a Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Bartlett Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering. Tse-Hui Teh is a lecturer in urban design and planning at the UCL Bartlett School of Planning. 


Photo credit: Gemma Moore