Our Living Laboratory
The People and Nature Lab is based at UCL East, in the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Green spaces, waterways, and the built environment sit side-by-side in an area where sustainable development is seen as a priority. All new developments in the area – the UCL East campus included – must demonstrate a commitment to improving the area for people, wildlife, and the environment. This means that the UCL East campus and its surrounds provide the perfect setting for our experimental work.
The centre sits alongside complementary research centres including Robotics and Autonomous Systems, the Global Disability Innovation Hub, and the School for Creative and Cultural Industries. Workspaces like the Urban Room and Memory Workshop, the Object Learning Studio, and the cinema provide new ways for researchers to engage with the public, ensuring that our work is relevant and embedded within the local community. You can find out more about the UCL East campus here.
In the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
This gives us the opportunity to directly survey, monitor, and research the interactions between people, wildlife, and the environment in a unique real-life setting. Over time, we will develop projects that use various sites and initiatives within the park to explore our research themes.
Our first project is already in place. While the new UCL East campus was being built the People and Nature Lab worked with colleagues at Intel to develop the world’s first automated smart detectors for monitoring bats through their echolocation calls. Our ‘Echo Boxes’ continuously record and identify bat calls using machine learning across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park sending the results back in real-time to understand the health of the environment. You can find out more about the project at the London Legacy Corporation Local Plan.