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A recent paper looks at the ‘New Urban Agenda’ taking shape as a result of the UN-HABITAT III conference, which enshrined the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) with an exclusively urban focus. SDG 11, as it became known, aims to make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable through a range of metrics, indicators, and evaluation systems. The paper raises questions around the potential for reductionism in this new agenda, and argues for the reflexive need to be aware of the types of urban space that are potentially side-lined by the new trends in global urban policy.

Healthy Buildings Conference and Expo 2017

By Robert Lyons on 17th January 2017
Found in: Events
Date and Time: 
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 09:00 to 17:00

This Conference and Expo will explore the extent to which careful product selection can have a positive influence on occupant health. The Conference is particularly aimed at architects, designers and product specifiers, but is highly relevant to building clients, policy makers and product suppliers. The event should also appeal to anyone with an interest in the relationship between buildings and human health.

New research published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows the huge potential of the Green Belt in terms of amenity and nature conservation.

CPRE is calling on the Government to prioritise investment in Green Belts in the forthcoming 25-year plan for the environment and make sure Green Belt protection is enforced.

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Smart Cities UK Conference 2017

By Robert Lyons on 17th January 2017
Found in: Events
Date and Time: 
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 08:30 to Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 15:45

London

Across the UK we are seeing more and more examples of smart city transformation. Key 'smart' sectors utilised by such Cities include transport, energy, health care, water and waste. Against the current background of economic, social, security and technological changes caused by the globalization and the integration process, cities in the UK face the challenge of combining competitiveness and sustainable urban development simultaneously.

Severe flooding has occurred in 13 of the 16 years since 2000, with the worst floods in the north of England in 2015 costing the economy over £5 billion. Spending an ever-increasing amount on hard flood defences is unlikely to be a viable long term strategy, particularly in the face of increasing risks associated with climate change. This new paper from Green Alliance makes three recommendations that would lead to a greater level of resilience for either the same or lower cost than current approaches.

Housing capacity on suitable brownfield land

By Robert Lyons on 22nd November 2016
Found in: Research and Resources

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has analysed the Government’s brownfield registers pilot scheme. Employing a variety of conservative methodologies, CPRE now estimates that the available data translates to a minimum of 1.1 million homes on suitable brownfield sites across England. More ambitious methodologies put the figure much higher, towards 1.4 million. This suggests that the Government has previously severely underestimated brownfield capacity.

Co-producing neighbourhood resilience

By Robert Lyons on 9th November 2016
Found in: Research and Resources

New research in a special issue of Building Research & Information explores the social-ecological aspects of neighbourhood resilience through the use of co-production processes. It shows that the scale of the neighbourhood, its social networks and physical aspects are significant for creating resilience - the capabilities and capacities to thrive in response to uncertainty, threats, disturbances and shocks.

A new report by the World Health Organization summarises evidence on the beneficial effects of urban green spaces, including improved mental health, reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, obesity and risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as improved pregnancy outcomes.  It identifies urban green space indicators which are suitable for wide-scale application in the European Region and proposes an indicator definition and data analysis tool kit for universal use.  This measures accessibility of green spaces of defined minimum sizes suitable for physical activity and mental relaxation. 

Future flood prevention

By Robert Lyons on 9th November 2016
Found in: Research and Resources

The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has published its Second Report of Session 2016-17 on future flood prevention. 

Date and Time: 
Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 10:00 to 17:30

County Hall, Westminster, London

Post Brexit, there is an emerging policy direction that puts infrastructure investment in the centre of an activist fiscal policy and the re-invention of industrial strategy. This is all framed around delivering fairness and inclusion to heal the social chasm revealed by the Brexit vote. 

This raises a huge range of new questions for infrastructure policy makers, strategists and deliverers such as:

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