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    Archive for the 'Built Environment' Category

    Making Greater London the first National Park City

    By Guest Blogger, on 5 March 2015

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     Written by Hannah Sender, Research Assistant, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

    Last week, the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity teamed up with the campaigners behind the Greater London National Park* to drive a debate on London’s green spaces and green infrastructure at a conference in the Southbank Centre.

    The Reimagine London conference saw academics, practitioners and politicians come together to argue their case for what a new National Park City could achieve for the natural and cultural heritage of London.

    What is a National Park City?

    London's Battersea Park

    London’s Battersea Park (credit: Tim on Flickr)

    The idea of making London the first National Park City has gathered momentum since it was first conceived by National Geographic explorer and geography teacher Daniel Raven-Ellison last year. Daniel’s vision features London as a biodiverse landscape boasting enough substantial natural resources and cultural capital to be worthy of a new title: a National Park City.

    Daniel proposes that, since we already have the natural capital, Londoners could take the principles of National Parks – to “conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area” and “promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the park by the public’ – and apply them to their city.

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    Prosperity in a rapidly urbanising world: where do we go from here?

    By Guest Blogger, on 22 January 2015

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    Written by Hannah Sender, Research Assistant, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

    Brasilia, Brazil

    Credit: Scott Wallace, World Bank.

    Is urbanisation even an issue?

    It is a widely-known and oft-cited fact that, as of 2007, more than 50% of the world’s population live in urban areas. The factors for this rapid change are hugely debated: are we realising a teleological Modernist project, or do we make decisions regarding where we live based purely on income? It is the case, however, that most of us experience the consequences of this development every day.

    In recognition of these problems, the urban ecology is now foremost in academia’s agenda: one of the four UCL Grand Challenges is ‘Sustainable Cities’. The recently launched UCL Institute for Global Prosperity has taken the issue of urbanisation as a primary focus for some of its nascent projects.

    As part of the Institute for Global Prosperity’s Soundbites series – a series of short lectures and conversations held at lunchtimes on questions around wellbeing and prosperity – Professor Julio D. Dávila, Director of the UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit, gave a public talk last Thursday on the possibility for prosperity in rapidly urbanising contexts.

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    Rethinking the city

    By Guest Blogger, on 3 December 2014

    pencil-iconWritten by Jasmine Popper (MA student, UCL Anthropology)

    Cities Methodologies exhibition

    Shown in the appropriate setting of the expansive Slade Research Centre, the eighth edition of Cities Methodologies questioned how we design, navigate and imagine cities as places. The exhibition and event series, organised by the UCL Urban Laboratory, represented an overall sense of investigation into what constitutes the lived experience, and the social and political construction of urban environments.

    After a call for proposals, a number of artists, academics, researchers and students from across the world working on urban topics showcased their research at UCL. Of these, a number of contributors unraveled day-to-day urban narratives and political issues as lived at a ground level.

    As soon as I entered the fifth floor (where the exhibition took place), I was transported back outside by an atmospheric soundscape of road sweeping and birdsong. It was part of Cally Calls, a project in which seven artists collaborated with seven local inhabitants of the Caledonian Road area in north London.

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    Professional Services Conference

    By Jack H C Dean, on 24 June 2014

    The inaugural Professional Services Conference took place on Monday, 16 June. The afternoon consisted of a series of presentations and panel discussions followed by an awards ceremony for staff and teams nominated by their colleagues across the university.

    Rex Knight, Vice-Provost (Operations), introduced the conference as a “celebration of work going on across the university”. Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education) said: “it’s all too easy for academic events to take precedent. This is an opportunity to say thank you to the unsung aspects of the institution.”

    Empowered - Emma Todd and Alice Chilver (UCL Bartlett)

    Empowered – Emma Todd and Alice Chilver (UCL Bartlett)

    Over the past decade, there has been a 20% increase in staff and a 16% increase in student numbers and Knight continued “thanks to your extraordinary professionalism all would not be as it is without what you do”.

    There were then presentations from Emma Todd and Alice Chilver (UCL Bartlett), co-founders of Astrea, the professional women’s network at UCL. Dr. Debbie Challis spoke about the exhibition, A Fusion of Worlds, at the Petrie Museum and funded by UCL Grand Challenges.

    Finally, Bob Carey discussed the Strategic Leadership Programme and Steve Rowalt and Kate Cheney delivered their presentation on the UCL Masterplan 2011, which has overseen the current transformation of the Cruciform Hub – @ucl_crucitwit.

    The Professional Services Awards consisted of five categories with nominations coming from a diverse range of staff across the university. Emma Todd, Strategic Communications Manager and Alice Chilver, Business Development Manager at the UCL Bartlett, won the ‘Empowered… confident and enabling’ award for their work in setting up Astrea. (more…)