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Sustainability: Concepts and Materiality

news editor29 May 2012

What does it mean to be sustainable? What enables or hinders sustainable behaviour?

A one-day interdisciplinary workshop on sustainability, held on 18 May and organised through collaboration between UCL Anthropology and the Environment Institute, successfully bought different disciplines together to discuss what sustainability means.

Keynote speaker Blanche Cameron, who among other roles is the founding director of RESET-Development, opened the day with a thought-provoking discussion of sustainability, particularly our relationship to nature.

Blanche argued that we need to move away from our current focus on CO2 emissions and the economy, and towards a focus on all aspects of the natural environment, in order the behave in a sustainable way. This really resonated with those attending and was picked up on again at several points throughout the day.

The first papers session on “cultural shifts” raised questions such as: at what levels do we need to be active in order to promote sustainability? Should we be acting locally? Can this influence global action?

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Smart Cities: exhibition and conference

news editor24 April 2012

Last Friday (April 20th), more than 350 members of the public attended the ‘Smart Cities: Bridging Physical and Digital’ open day, hosted by the Bartlett’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA).

The full day of talks, accompanied by the ‘Smart Cities’ exhibition, was aimed at opening a discussion on the meaning behind the Smart City and, perhaps more importantly, how to make it a reality.

Four articles covering the day’s highlights and research announcements appeared in Wired with a further two in New Scientist and finally a mention in the Independent, helping to make the event one of the most successful in the history of CASA.

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Landscape and Critical Agency Symposium

news editor27 February 2012

Written by Tim Waterman, Writtle School of Design.

The ability to dominate and bend the planet to our creative or destructive will has guided our collective action in the landscape in recent centuries, but a richer idea of the landscape and our engagement with it may yet save us.

The Landscape and Critical Agency symposium at UCL on 17 February brought together 12 committed advocates for landscape in a one-day single-panel event designed to situate this discourse firmly within the range of disciplines concerned with the built environment.

The symposium posed the question:

“What agency does landscape possess, as a means of territorial organisation and creative production, to engage critically with the conditions that define the collective aspects of our environment?”

Bestowing agency upon the landscape itself is the first crucial step towards engaging in a conversation with it rather than perpetuating the obliterating human monologue to which we seem so tied.

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The Social Impact of Climate Change: An Archaeologist’s Perspective

news editor6 February 2012

Review of Professor Arlene Rosen‘s Inaugural Lecture on 30 January by Dr Andrew Garrard (UCL Institute of Archaeology).

With increasing concern about global warming and climate change and its impact on future human generations, Arlene Rosen’s inaugural lecture as Professor of Environmental Archaeology was particularly pertinent.

In this elegantly structured and very well illustrated presentation, she discussed an archaeologist’s perspective on the impact of climate change on societies at various stages in the past, and their frequent social and technological resilience and adaptability to environmental change.

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