UCL Research Domains


Domain Co-Chairs

Environment Domain Co-Chairs

The co-chairs of the Environment Domain are Professor Nick Tyler (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering) and Dr Lakshmi Priya Rajendran ( Bartlett School of Architecture)

Professor Nick Tyler

As the founder of PAMELA and Director of the UCL Centre for Transport Studies, Nick’s research interest focuses on the way people interact with their immediate environments with a view to improving the design of transport built environment. He also works on low-carbon technologies for transport systems. 

Nick set up the Accessibility Research Group within the Centre for Transport Studies, with a team of researchers investigating many aspects of accessibility and public transport. The group has a total research portfolio of more than £40million for projects directed towards making the world more sympathetic to people's needs and creating a sustainable future for both people and planet. including the PAMELA pedestrian environment laboratory, which is being used to develop models for accessible pedestrian infrastructure, and which is being enhanced as part of the Government's UKCRIC programme, to create a new larger facility called PEARL. His work is highly transdisciplinary, and his team includes and works with, apart from civil and mechanical engineers, psychologists, architects, musicians, philosophers, neuroscientists, artists, urban designers, planners, economists, ophthalmologists, audiologists and orthopaedics. He is a co-founder of the UCL Universal Composition Laboratory (UCL2), which undertakes multisensorial spatiotemporal design.

Nick holds a PhD from University College London, where his thesis was on a methodology for the design of high capacity bus systems using artificial intelligence. He was on the winning team for the EC-funded ‘City Design in Latin America 2000: The European City as a Model’ competition, for the design of the transport interchange at Federico Lacroze in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is currently part of the UK involvement in the Chinese Low Carbon Cities Development project. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Ciivil Engineers, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was appointed a CBE in the New Year's Honours 2011 for services to technology and elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014.

He is involved in projects in several countries in Latin America, Japan, China and continental Europe, as well as in London and elsewhere in the UK.

Dr Lakshmi Priya Rajendran

Lakshmi is currently on Maternity leave and will join Professor Nick Tyler, Environment Domain Co-Chair and Dr Becca Burns, Strategic Co-ordinator: Environment upon her return early 2023.

Lakshmi is a social scientist with a background in architecture, urban design and planning. She has a keen interest in interdisciplinary and international research particularly focusing on developing countries and strives for opportunities to expand her research interests in interdisciplinary urban studies and to find new ways of understanding and studying people and environment interactions. This has allowed her to develop a wealth of research methods and interdisciplinary approaches for examining complex and pressing challenges affecting cities and city regions today.

Lakshmi s currently an  Lecturer in Environmental and Spatial Equity and Co-Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Her doctoral research (at Sheffield School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, UK) focused on marginalized migrant communities in Sheffield, and examined the significance of socio-spatial dimension for inclusive public space planning and design. Her research won the International Best PhD Award2015 from Society for Research on Identity Formation, US. Her teaching and research interests’ deal with city imaginaries, decoloniality, critical social and digital media, spatial representation and practice, identity negotiations, cultural encounters in contemporary cities. She is particularly interested in an interdisciplinary understanding of social, spatial, temporal and material practices in cities and a comparative study of these practices in Global North and South. 

Lakshmi has led several externally funded projects, some of them include collaborative project in India (PI, ESRC-GCRF funded, Inclusive and Resilient Peri-urban Planning and development(ongoing), Turkey (PI, Newton Funded, Heritage -led Urban Resilience Planning for Smart-Cities), Brazil (Co-I, Research England-GCRF funded, Socio-ecological sustainability planning and management), UK(Co-I, NERC funded, Flood Resilience Planning  and Environmental Assessment Transnational (Royal Academy of Engineering funded  Frontiers Champion Award (Peri-urban and Environment Resilience in the Global South). Currently she is leading a two-year research project Transgressing ‘Good’ Cities: Decolonising City Narratives for Just Urban Futures (Budget £200K, 2022-2024)  funded by the British Academy’s Knowledge Frontiers: International Interdisciplinary Research funding programme .

We look forward to working with Lakshmi and wish her all the best for the remainder of her maternity leave.

Strategic Research Facilitator for the Environment Domain

Dr Becca Burns

Becca joined UCL as the Strategic Research Facilitator for the Environment Domain in July 2018, having previously worked at the Royal Society and Lancaster University. Becca has a keen environmental interest- she studied a degree in Physical Geography and was awarded a PhD in Environmental Science from the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, based at Lancaster University. Her previous research interests include: icelandic glaciology, glacial meltwater hydrogeochemistry, climate change and environmental applications of mass spectrometry. 

Becca provides support for the domain both in terms of wider community/ capacity building and assisting the development of grant proposals. You can contact Becca via Environment@ucl.ac.uk or for specific proposal support book a 1:1 session.