Research and Resources

Explore sustainability-related research and resources here, including recently released reports, journal articles, online tools and databases. Use the left sidebar to filter resources by theme.

The economic value of our green spaces

By Robert Lyons on 19th March 2018

A new report by the Land Trust argues that well-maintained and well-managed green spaces change lives for the better, but only with long-term funding in place. 

Currently, the report argues, investment in restoring derelict land or transforming land into green space is perceived as having no economic value. Land Trust research, however, suggests this view is wrong and that there are positive economic benefits for all.

New research, by Newcastle University, UK, has for the first time analysed changes in flooding, droughts and heatwaves for all European cities using all climate models.

Published in the academic journal Environmental Research Letters, the study shows:

Solid Wall Insulation: Best Practice and Innovation

By Robert Lyons on 21st February 2018

This report for BEIS by Cambridge Architectural Research's and UCL compares the features of eight materials for solid wall insulation that are currently available on the market, and considers new methods for insulating walls that could increase take-up of wall insulation in future.

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This report by the Centre for Sustainable Energy commissioned by Historic England presents the findings of a research project carried out to understand better the areas of convergence and conflict between current legislation, policy and guidance. A further aim of the project has been to suggest ways in which Local Authorities might increase understanding between departments and stakeholders, and develop more integrated and better-informed approaches to policy and decision-making.

This Eftec study for Defra provides initial physical and monetary estimates for a subset of ecosystem services at a scale that is commensurate with a reasonable level of robustness given the data and evidence available and offers recommendations for refining and further developing the initial UK urban natural capital account.

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Smart cities: towards a new citizenship regime?

By Robert Lyons on 17th October 2017

Smart city policies and discourses have been criticised for being too technology-oriented, with not enough focus on citizenship. This research article, published in the Journal of Urban Technology (open access), analyses the role of the citizen as propagated in the new smart city standards of the British Standards Institution (BSI). It finds that while there is a strong emphasis on citizens as actors in smart city initiatives, the way their role is envisioned carries some shortcomings and contradictions.

Powering Cities in the Global South

By Robert Lyons on 4th October 2017

A new report by the World Resource Institute (WRI) highlights fundamental energy challenges facing cities in the global South and offers practical solutions for how cities can meet the needs of the underserved city dwellers while charting development models that slow carbon emissions.

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Energy bills could be cut by more than 60 percent - saving the average household over £600 a year - if homes were designed to generate, store and release their own solar energy, a report has revealed. The concept has already been proven and is operating successfully on a building in the UK.

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A new paper for Nature Scientific Reports arguest that while diesel-engined vehicles are currently a major source of particulate pollution, modern diesel vehicles actually produce lower levels of such emissions than petrol-engined cars. Whether gasoline or diesel cars are more polluting depends on the pollutant in question - in other words, that diesel cars are not necessarily worse polluters than gasoline cars.

This report for Nature Climate Change is a quantitative assessment of the economic costs of the joint impacts of local and global climate change for all main cities around the world. Cost–benefit analyses are presented of urban heat island mitigation options, including green and cool roofs and cool pavements. It is shown that local actions can be a climate risk-reduction instrument.

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