UCL News


UCL Sustainable Cities Launch

7 July 2009

Cities - now home to half the of the world's population - will house some 80 per cent of humanity by the end of the 21st century.

This rapid growth will further stress the urban environment, posing major problems in food security, energy, water, waste, transport, economy, manufacture and quality of life. An evening debate at UCL (University College London) on Wednesday 8 July 2009 will explore the most intractable and neglected problems, and ways to solve them.

UCL's Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities aims to address these urgent issues through a compelling vision for our cities. At its public launch, a panel discussion chaired by BBC Environment Analyst Roger Harrabin will explore the key challenges that face cities and society in the 21st century. The panel will include the following speakers:

_Paul Finch, Programme Director, World Architecture Festival and Editor Emeritus, Architectural Review

_Professor Raquel Rolnik, Faculty of Architecture & Urbanism, University of São Paulo

_Professor Mark Maslin, Director of the UCL Environment Institute

_Professor Yvonne Rydin, UCL Bartlett School of Planning

A new UCL magazine, 'palette', also launched at the event will explore what a zero-carbon world might look like, the role of urban agriculture in economic recovery, architectural sustainability beyond the environmental factors, managing energy-demand reduction, and much more.

UCL Provost Malcolm Grant says: "The breadth of UCL research gives us not just the chance, but an obligation to improve the urban environment. To address the complex problems facing cities will require an unprecedented degree of imaginative and collaboration. Transformation of our cities is a matter of urgency, and can only be accomplished in partnership. Urban sustainability is inextricably linked to global health, social justice, governance, human rights and security of access to essential resources. The dramatic changes to lifestyle needed in developed countries will be to the benefit of human wellbeing everywhere."

Notes for Editors

1. The launch of UCL's Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities will take place on Wednesday 8 July 2009 in Lecture Theatre 1, UCL Cruciform Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. The panel discussion will begin at 6.30 pm.

2. Journalists seeking more information can contact Jenny Gimpel in the UCL Media Relations Office on tel: +44 (0)20 7679 9726, mobile: +44 (0)7747 565 056, out of hours +44 (0)7917 271 364, e-mail: j.gimpel@ucl.ac.uk.

3. UCL is committed to harnessing its collective expertise to maximise our impact on the world's major problems. We aim to do so via our Grand Challenges, by transcending the boundaries between academic disciplines. More information on UCL's Grand Challenges - Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing - can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/grand-challenges.