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.

Citizen science - the involvement of volunteers in data collection, analysis and interpretation - simultaneously supports research and public engagement with science, and its profile is rapidly rising. This systematic assessment of environmental and ecological citizen science projects found that they take a wide variety of forms and are increasing in number thanks to the availability of smartphones and online databases.

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.

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.

The Urban Heat project examined the potential role of the local voluntary and community sector (VCS) in the development of local climate resilience. The final report provides a snapshot of the UK ‘heatwave planning’ and ‘community resilience’ national, regional and local policy and practice landscapes. The reports also offers a compelling, evidence-based analysis of the untapped potential of the VCS to contribute more fully to local planning and practice in climate resilience and emergency planning. 

A consultation tool written jointly by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) was launched at the Town and Country Planning Association’s ‘Are we planning for the climate challenge’ event. The new tool lets communities take the lead in planning their own low-carbon future. It adopts CSE and CPRE’s new ‘Future Energy Landscapes’ approach that shows that putting local people at the centre of energy planning can result in ambitious vision and targets.

More… 

Co-producing neighbourhood resilience

By Robert Lyons on 9th November 2016

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.

Future flood prevention

By Robert Lyons on 9th November 2016

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

Researchers from Lancaster University and Save the Children have produced a new report on a study exploring children’s and young people’s experiences of the UK winter 2013/14 floods, in which they worked with them to develop ways of improving policy and practice to provide better support and enhance resilience.  

They found a number of factors which impacted on children’s wellbeing, including:

The SHARPER report by Arup & Partners focuses on how climate change impacts, continued urbanisation and an ageing population are affecting London, New York and Shanghai.  It highlights the risk of heatwaves to the elderly in London, using satellite data to obtain surface temperature maps and socio-economic data (factors such as population density, health, mobility and quality of housing) to develop a Heat Vulnerability Index (HVI) for the city, to gain an understanding of where the population is most at risk. 

This study by researchers at Plymouth University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, looked beyond the immediate benefit of beach cleaning on the local environment and examined the well-being, educational value and behavioural intentions of participants, compared with other coastal activities such as rock pooling or walking.  It found that the environment was perceived as less restorative when engaging in a beach clean but that the activity was more meaningful than the others. 

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