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.

Two new reports investigate ‘smart-eco’ policy trends in the UK and the Netherlands, including case studies of 10 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).

This implementation guide from Resource Efficient Scotland, a programme from Zero Waste Scotland, describes how organisations can effectively measure and monitor their use of energy, water and raw materials, in order to identify patterns of wasteful behaviour and opportunities to reduce resource use, improve environmental performance and save money.  It provides a clear five-step guide:

Electric vehicles in Europe

By Editor on 28th September 2016

A new report from the European Environment Agency provides a non-technical summary of electric road vehicles in Europe, including those with hybrid technologies.

The report summarises developments on the path to a more sustainable transport system, explains how electric vehicles work and describes the different types of vehicles on the market, outlining their respective advantages and disadvantages. The report looks at measures that promote electric vehicle use and identifies the main barriers restricting their broader use.  

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:

State of the UK’s Public Parks 2016

By Editor on 14th September 2016

This second report on the UK’s Public Parks, published by the Heritage Lottery Fund, highlights the continuing downward trend in the condition of parks over the past two years and the danger that many parks and green spaces may fall back to a state of decline and neglect as a result of pressure on public finances.

Communicating drought risk in a changing climate

By Editor on 14th September 2016

Climate Outreach’s new briefing paper, which it has released on the 40th anniversary of the 1976 UK drought and in the year when the Middle East has experienced its worst drought for 100 years, outlines 10 principles for communicating drought risk in a changing climate.  These have been developed from the DRY (Drought Risk and You) project, launched in April 2014. 

Acknowledging that there is no ‘one size fits all’ drought communication strategy, the paper identifies some practices common to all good drought communication, including:

The Adaptation and Resilience in the Context of Change (ARCC) network has been funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) since 2009. The EPSRC deemed ARCC ‘exemplary’ in a review of the network, and challenged ARCC to unravel why.

This new research builds a picture of the complexities of managing a network, and the supporting strategies and skills needed. ARCC worked with consultant Dr Ian Cooper from Eclipse Consulting to uncover what network members wanted, how their needs were met and the lessons learnt along the way. 

New model farming: resilience through diversity

By Editor on 14th September 2016

CPRE’s new report is the first in a series of ‘Food and Farming Foresight’ papers, designed to encourage debate about the future of farming.  Brexit gives the opportunity to shape a new national vision and policies for farming and this paper suggests policies to build a resilient, financially stable and dynamic farming industry that works for communities and the environment. 

Key recommendations are to:

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. 

‘Brexit means Brexit’: but what does Brexit mean for the environment?  In this new study, Dr Charlotte Burns (University of York), Professor Andrew Jordan and Dr Viviane Gravey (University of East Anglia) explore what Brexit may mean for UK environmental policies and governance processes by comparing two scenarios: a ‘soft’ and a ‘hard’ Brexit.