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.

This Eftec study for Defra provides initial physical and monetary estimates for a subset of ecosystem services at a scale that is commensurate with a reasonable level of robustness given the data and evidence available and offers recommendations for refining and further developing the initial UK urban natural capital account.

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Smart cities: towards a new citizenship regime?

By Robert Lyons on 17th October 2017

Smart city policies and discourses have been criticised for being too technology-oriented, with not enough focus on citizenship. This research article, published in the Journal of Urban Technology (open access), analyses the role of the citizen as propagated in the new smart city standards of the British Standards Institution (BSI). It finds that while there is a strong emphasis on citizens as actors in smart city initiatives, the way their role is envisioned carries some shortcomings and contradictions.

Powering Cities in the Global South

By Robert Lyons on 4th October 2017

A new report by the World Resource Institute (WRI) highlights fundamental energy challenges facing cities in the global South and offers practical solutions for how cities can meet the needs of the underserved city dwellers while charting development models that slow carbon emissions.

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Energy bills could be cut by more than 60 percent - saving the average household over £600 a year - if homes were designed to generate, store and release their own solar energy, a report has revealed. The concept has already been proven and is operating successfully on a building in the UK.

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A new paper for Nature Scientific Reports arguest that while diesel-engined vehicles are currently a major source of particulate pollution, modern diesel vehicles actually produce lower levels of such emissions than petrol-engined cars. Whether gasoline or diesel cars are more polluting depends on the pollutant in question - in other words, that diesel cars are not necessarily worse polluters than gasoline cars.

This report for Nature Climate Change is a quantitative assessment of the economic costs of the joint impacts of local and global climate change for all main cities around the world. Cost–benefit analyses are presented of urban heat island mitigation options, including green and cool roofs and cool pavements. It is shown that local actions can be a climate risk-reduction instrument.

This briefing sets out why the scale of the air pollution problem in the UK requires a bolder and more holistic approach, which involves moving away from diesel vehicles (in favour of petrol and, ultimately, hybrid and electric alternatives), as well as a shift from private car ownership to car sharing schemes, public transport, walking and cycling. Not only could these shifts save thousands of lives, they could also drive improvements in two of the government’s other transport objectives: a reduction in congestion, and a reduction in road-based CO2 emissions.

Two-thirds of cities experiencing relative economic decline face above average flood disadvantage according to new research by Sayers and Partners for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report highlights how floods interact with social vulnerability across the UK to create flood disadvantage, an issue which will be exacerbated by climate change.

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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.

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