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Sustainable environments

Governance and Policy for Sustainability

This comparative study examined urban governance and decision-making processes in the UK, Sweden and South Africa, funded by Mistra Urban Futures. Case studies in Greater Manchester, Gothenburg and Cape Town were co-produced between academics, policy-makers and practitioners in each city-region, focusing on the challenges, solutions and effectiveness of policies for urban sustainability. This enabled real-time reflection and action on the extent to which existing urban trajectories contribute to greater environmental justice in different parts of the globe. 

Smart Cities, Sustainable Cities

The concept of the Smart City is widely popularised in the current era, with many cities across the world seeking to embrace technology, innovation and knowledge-based growth as mechanisms for urban growth. UPRISE researchers focus on smarter cities which are inclusive, resilient and sustainable. We embrace the potential of technology – for instance, through innovative partnerships with the digital innovation ThinkLab, to explore how data and intelligence can improve urban decision-making processes. With our partners in Mistra Urban Futures, we have created a digital portal for sustainability in Greater Manchester, Platform. Smart cities need smart citizens – hence our work also engages with issues concerning lay knowledge and community expertise in the knowledge society. @On_the_Platform 

This multi-partner European project has sought to identify the modes through which energy security is defined and managed at the European, national and local scales, focusing on energy transition towards a low carbon society. A key outcome is to validate the economic and social value of community-led energy transitions through elaborating quantitative and qualitative models and scenarios for the evolution of energy security within and outside the EU. These models take geopolitical tensions, economic factors, social cohesion, technological options and environmental issues into account. @MILESECURE2050

Culture, Heritage and the Built Environment

Socio-cultural shifts are required alongside socio-technical transitions to develop more sustainable environments. Drawing on a pilot study supported by Mistra Urban Futures, researchers are now working on a project on culture, heritage and the built environment, with a particular focus on music festivals (‘CHIME’), funded by the AHRC and JPI Heritage Plus (2015-2017). The work will produce a set of policy-facing insights for local authorities and other stakeholders to effectively value their intangible and tangible cultural heritage. @CHIMEproject

Coping with Flooding

Over recent years flooding has become a regular occurrence in the UK. Researchers are working with small and medium sized enterprises and local authorities to develop strategies for adaptation and recovery in the face of these extreme-weather events. Examples include projects in Cockermouth in Cumbria, North Devon and developing partnerships with organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses. Researchers from CDR also represent the University on the Salford Strategic Flood Forum, a multi-stakeholder partnership to mitigate and adapt to flooding in Salford.

Falling Over

People fall over for many reasons, often due to a combination of factors (such as medication and poor lighting) yet we know very little about the role of the built environment in both causing falls, and in preventing falls. We take a multi-disciplinary approach in working with academics, practitioners and those who fall / have a fear of falling, to suggest how better design of the built environment – including our homes and outdoor spaces can potentially reduce both risk and injury. Further information can be found at

Sustainable Return on Investment

Through combining social and environmental methodologies to value regeneration, researchers have developed and piloted an evaluation technique called ‘sustainable return on investment’ (SuROI). This has been applied to a number of cases, including projects for City West Housing, Irwell Valley Communities Living Sustainably project and for private sector clients including Goldman Sachs and the Cathedral Group. PhD students will be supported to work on this theme through the EU Horizon 2020 RISE programme called ‘MAPS-LED’ which focuses on smart specialisation for local economic development.