Cities

Environment

Resource flows and sustainable development

Cities are focal points for resource flows and consumption. The concentration of people, business and property increases demand for energy, water and materials. The generation of waste and our vulnerability to shocks, restrictions or changes to the flow of resources is a risk for cities.

Our Global Urban Research Unit (GURU) is part of the Locate - Territories and Low-Carbon Economy, a European project exploring the essential role of regional governance in transitions to low carbon economies. 

GURU was also a key member of the successful Sustainable Urban Metabolism in Europe (SUME) project. SUME ranged from the analysis of trends in urban development with respect to impacts on resource use, energy consumption, land consumption and waste output to advanced modeling of urban metabolisms, impact analysis and alternative models of cities to the formulation of (sustainable) urban development strategies and policies.

Simin Davoudi is Professor of Environmental Policy & Planning and Director of GURU

Climate resilience

Our work typically focuses on environmental hazards including flooding, urban heat islands and adaptation strategies.

The first era of climate impacts assessment is now drawing to a close. This involved system managers undertaking preliminary scoping of the magnitude of the challenge of adaptation to climate change.

Now, system modellers and engineers have more stringent demands. Multivariate high resolution (spatial and temporal) transient climate information is required. There is also a need for an assessment of associated uncertainties.

We are at the forefront of delivery of statistical models and accompanying tools for climate downscaling.

Challenges remain, and we are exploring:

  • the treatment of spatial correlation
  • the development of transient climate change scenarios
  • the representation of variability at multiple scales
  • the estimation of extremes
Richard Dawson, Professor of Earth System Engineering

Environmental planning, assessment and management

A research theme within the Global Urban Research Unit, Environmental Planning, Assessment and Management considers issues which arise from human-natural environmental interactions. 

Whilst relevant to environmental sciences, the emphasis essentially is on the social science themes emerging from these interactions.

Social science perspectives include:

  • policy and politics
  • social constructions
  • economics
  • landscape planning and design
  • risks and hazards
  • ethics