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.

Community resilience to climate change

By Robert Lyons on 27th March 2017

Disadvantaged groups need to be helped to cope with the cost pressures caused by climate change, according to a new report compiled by the University of Dundee for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report warns that shocks such as extreme weather events and stresses like changes in the cost of living will interact to generate hardships for local communities.

There has been limited study to date on the environmental impacts of crime prevention measures. This paper for Security Policy addresses this shortfall by estimating the carbon footprint associated with the most widely used burglary prevention measures: door locks, window locks, burglar alarms, lighting and CCTV cameras. Window locks are found to be the most effective and low-carbon measure available individually.

Smart cities have been criticised for implementing technology in ways that do not pay sufficient attention to political or social issues. In response, a new paper by three members of the International Eco-Cities Initiative investigates the role of the public in smart city initiatives. The paper identifies four modes of publicness - ‘service user’, ‘entrepreneurial’, ‘political’ and ‘civic’ - and finds that the first two modes are dominant in the digital initiatives that are analysed.

In 2015, 5.9 million children under age five died. The major causes of child deaths globally are pneumonia, prematurity, intrapartum-related complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital anomalies, diarrhoea, injuries and malaria. Most of these diseases and conditions are at least partially caused by the environment. This new UN/WHO report summarises the impact of polluted environments on child health.

Landlines: why we need a strategic approach to land

By Robert Lyons on 14th March 2017

This new CPRE pamphlet argues that the case for a national approach to land use is more pressing than ever by showing that England’s land is under an increasing multitude of pressures. The current, fragmentary approach to land use is failing to address the problems caused by often conflicting demands: environmental degradation, rising costs and harm to health and wellbeing.

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A new study published in the journal Environment International for the first time quantifies the global impact by combining data about air pollution in different countries with knowledge about how exposure to different levels of air pollution is associated with preterm birth rates.

A new report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee argues that the government needs to set out new modelling on air quality following the High Court’s latest ruling and a new approach to air quality post 2019; an emissions reduction strategy that will allow the UK’s carbon budgets to be met; and effective noise mitigation measures enforced by an Independent Aviation Noise Authority. The Government must not allow our air quality standards to be watered down as a result of leaving the EU.

Overheating in Buildings: Adaptation Responses

By Robert Lyons on 15th February 2017

This Building Research & Information special issue explores the unintended rise in internal temperatures during warm weather, which can lead to heat stress and constitutes a public health problem.  Many countries do not currently rely on air conditioning for comfort.  However, the inability to create comfortable buildings in many temperate climate zones such as the UK where air conditioning was not necessary will have a perverse outcome by increasing summer electricity usage and create a dependence on air conditioning.

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.

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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