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Theme Lead: Professor Brendan Murtagh

SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

Sustainable Cities and Communities explores how places change economically, socially and environmentally and in particular how we can use research to better understand and address the spatial concentration of complex social problems in our own region as well as globally.

Overview

Working with disciplines across the university, communities, policy makers and international academics our approach explores how the environment, economy and social future of vulnerable places can be managed in more just and inclusive ways.

This is currently delivered through an integrated programme focusing on: urban change and local development; protecting maritime communities; and communities and sustainable energy transitions. The core approach within SSC involves:  

  • A commitment to innovation, experimentation, replication and scaling of effective interventions in places;
  • The transfer and development of rigorous methodologies in the design, delivery and evaluation of policy and programme interventions;
  • Deepening expertise in policy and programme evaluation, especially related to the Programme for Government;
  • Supporting expertise in futures research methods on sustainable cities and communities;
  • Better capitalising large-scale secondary, archived and longitudinal data sets in applied and theoretically informed spatial research.

Below are details of current projects within the Sustainable Cities and Communities theme.

 

Current Research

Addressing the Economic Challenges and Potential of the Market
Addressing the Economic Challenges and Potential of the Market

Addressing the Economic Challenges and Potential of the Market

The Cities and Communities theme aims to address the economic challenges and potential of the Market and builds on the work of Market Development Association, especially on the Tunnels as well as on heritage tourism and access to the labour market. The research will examine planning pressures on the area, particularly from commercial development, property speculation and private rental including Airbnb.

The children of the Market have spoken eloquently about what they want to see in their community (link here: https://twitter.com/Save_the_Market/status/1319595472751910913) and this raises profound issues about what sort of city we want to live in and who gains and who loses in urban renewal. We aim to work with MDA and the community to better understand local needs, evaluate key sectors such as tourism, develop local assets including sites that have been left derelict for decades and measure the economic effects of alternative forms of urban regeneration.

The agenda is not to stop or prevent development but to create liveable, integrated places that respond to the needs of local people, children, our older communities and families and not just property speculators and unsustainable developments. In the short term our agreed projects will evaluate the social return on investment of the Tunnels project; assess the impact of Airbnb on the housing market; and the potential of heritage based tourism that celebrates the diversity, pride and resilience of the Market community. 

 

 

 

 

The Role of the Social Economy in Poverty Reduction and Urban Regeneration
Our research with Nelson Mandela University looks at the social and circular economy and how locally grown food is addressing poverty in the Missionvale township in Port Elizabeth

The Role of the Social Economy in Poverty Reduction and Urban Regeneration

Innovate UK is funding a KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership to strengthen the social economy as a driver of urban regeneration and poverty reduction building on our previous research in this area.  For further details, please visit the EDT North website here.

The PERICLES project works with communities to resist branding initiatives that diminish or remove their identities in major waterfront development programmes.
The PERICLES project works with communities to resist branding initiatives that diminish or remove their identities in major waterfront development programmes.

Vulnerable Marine Communities

CESI is especially interested in the concept of vulnerability and how communities facing multiple pressures can transition to a more sustainable future. This includes work closely linked to a range of SDGs on climate change and marine resources:

  • The H2020 PERICLES project examines the multiple threats to the heritage of coastal communities and how they can build resilience in the face of climate change.
  • MOSES is also an EU funded research project that examines how coastal communities respond to the pressures of ‘blue growth’ including tourism, fishing and offshore energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have researched the relationship between planning, politics and the development industry. The study explores public confidence in planning, especially to protect environmental standards across the UK and Ireland
We have researched the relationship between planning, politics and the development industry. The study explores public confidence in planning, especially to protect environmental standards across the UK and Ireland

 

 

Renewable Energy Transitions

This work also relates to SDGs on carbon management and climate action, by evaluating community responses to renewable energy, models of locally led delivery which also links in with our work on social enterprises and transitions management. This is being delivered via the €4.2m EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie MISTRAL Innovative Training Network (ITN) on  energy transitions.