UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


Blog: ISR in conversation with Alex Gilbert on the future of London

13 February 2023

UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources (ISR) launches its 'ISR in Conversation' seminar series on key environmental and societal topics

Canary Wharf seen from the Thames with ISR logo

On 8 February 2023, Alex Gilbert (Head of Energy & Electrification within Commercial Development at Transport for London (TfL)) joined ISR for an insightful and frank conversation on the future of London. Samuel Tang (ISR) has written a blog about the event.

The conversation, hosted by Dr Matt Winning, opened with Alex emphasising the imperative of a sustainable transition across global, city and industry scales, and explaining TfL’s 2041 vision and role in addressing challenges—such as a population increase of 2.1 million, and 100% increase in rail and tube use by 2041—and facilitating opportunities—such as utilisation of waste heat as an energy source. Through its key principles of sustainability, accessibility and equality, TfL is aiming to develop a strategy replicable across scales and geographical regions that can, for example, help other cities finance green infrastructure, affordable housing, and energy security.

In response to Alex, Dr Nadia Ameli talked about the role of finance in the sustainability transition, and pressed Alex to explain how challenges such as access to finance and technology can be addressed.

Such challenges, according to Alex, can be partly tackled by developing investable projects. Using the electrification of TfL’s bus fleet as an example, Alex noted that high investment demand existed because of a clear delivery plan, good governance, and smart data management, as well as technology reliability and regulatory certainty.

The conversation was then steered by audience questions, which discussed: the socio-political tensions of reducing motor vehicle use (e.g., car, vans); whether electric vehicles address the root of the problem – congestion; the potential of tax to generate revenue for green infrastructure; the role of youth; embedding equality in a city’s public transport; and the sustainability responses of other global cities.

To join the conversation on building the sustainable future now, our next ISR in Conversation is with David Bent on business, policy and transformation on 15 March 2023.


  • Find Matt Winning's profile here.
  • Find Nadia Ameli's profile here.
  • Find out more about the 'ISR In Converation with...' series here.
  • Register for your ticket here.
Image credit: Samuel Tang