SDRN Mailing, 12 October 2016

By Editor on 12th October 2016
Research and resources


1. Call for papers:  Sustainable urban infrastructure and social inclusion
Early career researchers are invited to submit papers for a three-day workshop on the topic ‘Sustainable urban infrastructure and social inclusion – improving choice and wellbeing in UK and Chinese cities’.  The workshop will take place from 1-3 December 2016 at the University of Westminster in London, and the deadline for applications is 31 October 2016.  The event is funded by the Newton Fund, British Council.  There is no admission fee, and meals will be covered for those accepted.  Accommodation expenses for those travelling from out of London will also be covered.  To apply, please send a title and abstract to Professor Johan Woltjer:  More... 

2. Call for abstracts:  Annual envecon Conference 2017
The UK Network of Environmental Economists will hold its annual Applied Environmental Economics conference on Friday 3 March 2017 at The Royal Society in London, and abstracts are now being selected for the presentation. This one-day conference, now in its 15th year, brings together environmental economists from public and private sectors, academia and consultancy to share results of recent research and to discuss issues relevant to the practical application of environmental economics in the UK, Europe and elsewhere. Papers that have policy relevance and have been used in decision-making by the public and/or private sectors will be of particular interest. The deadline for the submission of abstracts is Monday 28th November 2016. Further information about the Call, including suggested themes, are available now online. For more information, go to UKNEE’s envecon page.

3. Call for papers:  Symposium on Innovation in Textile Recycling: towards a more sustainable use of textile materials
The goal of fostering a more sustainable use of textiles can be assisted by a combination of technologies, especially those that foster fibre reprocessing, and reclaim fibres from a variety of waste streams.  By implementing smarter, more sustainable processes to handle textiles, over and above the usual reuse of clothing, these elements can be diverted from landfill and converted into useful materials, in line with the principles of the circular economy.  The Symposium, to be held on 8 March 2017 at Manchester Metropolitan University, will provide representatives from research and industry with an opportunity to display and present their works and innovation in the sustainable use of textile materials and foster the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in the execution of pilot projects, especially successful initiatives and good practice.  Abstracts should be sent by 30th November 2016 to Dr David Tyler at  More...

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1. Pathways to 2030: Public Sector Climate Action
1 November 2016, 09.00 – 18.00, Glasgow
The 2016 Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) Conference is the meeting place for public sector professionals working to improve Scotland’s response to climate change and to promote sustainable development. Key speakers include: Matthew Bell, Chief Executive, Committee on Climate Change; Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Strathclyde; Andrew Darnton, AD Research and Analysis and expert on behavior change theory and practice; and Heidi Hauf, Principal Sustainability Advisor, Forum for the Future.  Delegates will have the opportunity to attend parallel sessions including: sustainable food pathways, Scotland’s energy strategy, sustainable transport, active travel, climate change co-benefits and constraints, and sustainable procurement.  Discussions will focus on how to unlock the potential of public sector climate action, how to increase momentum, and how to foster improved partnership working. The conference also provides an opportunity for delegates to engage with the development of Scotland’s Climate Change Plan.  For information about exhibiting, please contact  For further information and registration, visit the SSN Conference 2016 website.
2. Agent-Based Modelling for the Social Scientist - A Practical Guide to Model Building and NetLogo

14 – 17 November 2016, University of Surrey
Computational methods have revolutionised the sciences, including the social sciences. By being able to investigate dynamics in silico, model complex, interdependent systems and experiment with different hypotheses, computer modelling has become a research tool as important as the survey.  This course will guide participants through the research process of agent-based modelling in the social sciences: formulating a research question, specifying a model, creating a simulation and interpreting the output. During the course you will be helped to build a model using NetLogo, acquiring basic and intermediate programming skills. The syllabus includes: conceptualising agent-based models; operationalising and calibrating from data; experimenting and analysing; interpreting models; and, verifying and validating.  For further information, please email  To book please visit

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Research and Resources
1. The English Plastic Bag Charge: Changes in Attitudes and Behaviour
A new report by a research team at Cardiff University presents the results of an ESRC-funded project which examined the behavioural and attitudinal impacts of the English plastic bag charge, introduced in October 2015.  A mixed-methods longitudinal approach was used, including a national survey, a diary-interview study and a supermarket observational study.  A dramatic decrease in the use of plastic bags was found after the introduction of the charge, with a substantial increase in people taking their own bags, independent of age, gender or income.  People also became more supportive of other charges to reduce waste, such as hypothetical charges on water bottles and excessive packaging.  The researchers suggest that the English plastic bag charge has raised awareness of the impacts of plastic waste and litter. More...

2. New markets for land and nature: How Natural Infrastructure Schemes could pay for a better environment
Green Alliance’s new report examines the pressures which agriculture is under – to increase production, reduce its environmental impact and eliminate its dependence on public subsidy.  With many farming businesses operating at the limit of their profitability, often to the detriment of soil health, water quality and biodiversity, there is a need for financial support to help farmers restore and protect the natural environment.  This report proposes a new payment mechanism, the Natural Infrastructure Scheme (NIS), an area based market in avoided costs, delivering environmental improvements by bringing together groups of land managers to sell ecosystem services to groups of beneficiaries.  More...

3. Making the link: Integrating land use and transport planning through Public Transport Oriented Development
CPRE’s sixth paper in its Housing Foresight Series develops the idea of Public Transport Oriented Development – an approach that seeks to integrate land use and transport planning in a sustainable manner.  Effective coordination across many authorities can result in better access to, and take-up of, public transport through the development of high density residential areas close to stations/commuter belts.  The joined-up approach also fosters compact communities with a range of amenities on site, which are accessible on foot, resulting in vibrant communities with opportunities to provide green spaces which can improve the quality of life.  More...

4. UK and Dutch smart-eco cities 2016
Two new reports investigate ‘smart-eco’ policy trends in the UK and the Netherlands, including case studies of ten UK cities and four Dutch ones.  The concept of the ‘smart-eco’ city reflects what is often a large overlap between the newer ‘smart’ agenda (usually focusing on areas such as ICT, urban infrastructure and governance) and the existing sustainability agenda (covering areas such as energy, waste management and mobility as well as economic development).  The reports have been produced as part of the SMART-ECO research programme which looks at urban initiatives across Europe and China, and of which the University of Westminster’s Eco-Cities Initiative is a member.  More...

5. Smart investment: valuing flexibility in the UK electricity market
A new Green Alliance policy insight reviews the electricity system in the UK, which is currently sustained by the exact correspondence of electricity demand and electricity supply.  Maintaining the security of the system depends on two conditions: resource adequacy, i.e. enough power generating capacity to meet demand; and flexibility adequacy, i.e. the system’s responsiveness to changing conditions.  Resource adequacy has tended to be the more dominant security concern but the structural shift to variable renewables is making flexible adequacy a more pressing question.  The government’s current strategy is hindering investment in flexibility and this report outlines a smarter strategy which would prioritise the flexibility needed to balance the power system in the future.  More...

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