Urban and Rural Systems

'If we are to ensure a sustainable future - Enough, For All, Forever - we cannot address urban and rural systems separately.  Our lives and lifestyles are interdependent - we must "green" the city as well as the countryside, engaging with new technologies and developing new attitudes to consumption.'

Academic Lead: Guy Garrod, School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

Newcastle University includes people who are expert in the analysis and planning of urban, rural and regional systems. NIReS is bringing these experts together to help us understand the spatial, social and economic aspects of our changing world, and how we can live more sustainably within it.

Sustainable PlacesPeople and Places

Practising sustainability science involves learning from what works. That means that researchers must engage closely with people and places, households, communities and businesses, wherever they are located, to help them secure their future as they adapt to environmental and technological change, helping to identify and promote sustainable solutions. 'Enough for all, forever' means changing the way we live and using fewer resources. That includes examining our habits and behaviour and the quality of our lifestyles. For example, we have to begin to emphasise value rather than disposability. This can be a key means of cutting down waste, while improving our quality of life.

We held a workshop focussing on 'Sustainable Cities' in May 2012. Further details can be found at Sustainable Cities.

Infrastructure and Design Infrastructure and Design

The sustainability of urban and rural systems is dependent upon the civil infrastructure – transport, energy, water, telecommunications, waste management, etc – necessary for society and industry to flourish. This calls for integrated planning and modelling of settlements, land-use and engineering infrastructure, to ensure their environmental adaptability and resilience.

Sustainable Businesses Sustainable Enterprise

Business development is an important means of sustaining places. By greening business practices and promoting sustainable innovation, businesses can both reduce their environmental impact and improve their efficiency and resilience, as well as support local communities, through the employment and services they offer.


For further information, email sustainability@ncl.ac.uk.