Submit to a conference session on “Reconciling adaptation and mitigation in cities” @nclceser @ECCA2015 @ICLEI_Europe

You are invited to submit a presentation to a session on “Reconciling adaptation and mitigation in cities” to be held at the 2015 European Climate Change Adaptation Conference.  Details of the session, and a link to the submission website, are below.  This session which will focus on scientific advances in this topic is being organised by CESER director Richard Dawson (Newcastle University) and paired to a second session, led by ICLEI Europe which will provide an end-user oriented perspective.

We look forward to hearing from you, and please do circulate to interested colleagues.

Reconciling adaptation and mitigation in cities: Part I – The science basis: Recent methodological advances
Chair: Richard Dawson (Newcastle University, UK)
Co-chair: Alberto Trenzi, (ICLEI)

The urgent need to reconfigure our urban areas so that they consume fewer resources, emit less pollution (including GHGs), are more resilient to the impacts of climate change, and are more sustainable in general, is increasingly recognized.

As the global population consolidates, urban areas have become focal points for sustainability initiatives. However, there is increased recognition that there are potential synergies and conflicts in the objectives of mitigation, adaptation and sustainability strategies.

These interactions, potential conflicts and synergies are no more vivid than in urban areas, where they play out through land use, infrastructure systems and the built environment.

Without sensible planning, well-meant interventions can have negative impacts elsewhere. For example, desalination can secure water supplies, but, as an energy-intensive process, can confound efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Denser cities can reduce transport energy costs, but can increase urban heat island intensity.

Many other interactions are more subtle in comparison. Road pricing strategies designed to curb emissions from the transport sector can amplify inequalities by limiting accessibility options of poorer urban residents and drive up inner city rents.

This session will explore different approaches that have been developed to understand and seeking to reconcile potential trade-offs between adaptation, mitigation and sustainability measures in urban areas.

Potential topics might include, but are not limited to, technical measures, governance and policy strategies, or bottom-up community actions. New and innovative research methods (including an update from the FP7 RAMSES project), case studies as well as exemplars of best practise from policy makers and industry are invited.

This session is linked to the ICLEI led “Reconciling adaptation and mitigation in cities: Part II – The application basis: Mainstreaming into the planning process”, attendees will benefit from, but are not required to attend both sessions.

#ibuild Deputy Director Andy Pike gives oral evidence to @CommonsCLG Communities and Local Government Select Committee

On Monday 3 February 2014, Professor Andy Pike, Director of CURDS, gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee Inquiry into Fiscal Devolution to Cities and City Regions. The second oral evidence session examined the process of devolving powers, governance, business rates and borrowing; equalisation and redistribution; and non property taxes.  CURDS submitted written evidence to the Select Committee Inquiry.

Symposium on #urban #integration funded by @COSTOffice

CESER and the members of COST Action TU0902 (Integrated Assessment for Urban Sustainability) are delighted to announce a symposium on Urban Integration 2014, which will take place 6-7th March 2014 in Sheffield, UK.

This two day symposium will explore how state of the art approaches to integrated assessment are helping understand the complexity of urban areas and assist in the implementation of integrated strategies which typically seek to reconcile urban concerns such as energy, transportation demand, land‐use planning, construction of new civil infrastructure and governance.

Professor Richard Dawson (CESER director and COST Action Chair), Professor Annemie Wyckmans (NTNU, Norway) and Dr. Stephen Dobson (Sheffield Hallam University), Dr. Oliver Heidrich (Newcastle University) and Dr. Jonathan Koehler (Fraunhofer Institute) will present key results from the COST Action. 

In addition to a number of other invited talks on the theme of urban integration, we are extremely privileged to be joined by three outstanding keynote speakers:

+ Professor Chris Kennedy   (University of Toronto) – Sustainable Infrastructure Group and a leading authority on urban metabolism

+ Professor Christoph Reinhart (MIT) – Works in the field of sustainable building design and environmental modeling and leads the MIT Sustainable Design Lab

+ Professor Gerhard Schmitt (ETH Zurich) – Leads the development of the Simulation Platform for the Future Cities Laboratory, and is a Founding Director of the Singapore-ETH Centre

Registration, and more information, on this exciting event is now open. 

This symposium is organised by COST Action TU0902 which is funded via the European Science Foundation.  We look forward to seeing you in Sheffield.

Newcastle Launch: Infrastructure BUsiness models, valuation and Innovation for Local Delivery

iBUILD is a £3.5m programme, funded by two UK research councils, following a request in the 2011 National Infrastructure Plan.  The programme is led by Professor Richard Dawson at Newcastle University.

iBUILD focuses on local and urban infrastructure, and in line with this, is establishing Centre hubs in Newcastle, Leeds and Birmingham.  These hubs will lead a series of events to explore alternative business models and the opportunities within these cities and their surrounding regions.

The Newcastle iBUILD Centre is holding a launch event on Wednesday 20 November from 3pm to 6pm at the Newcastle Business School on the Science Central Site.

The event will include a brief introduction to the research programme, discussion around how you can get involved with the project at a number of levels and identifying local priorities and case studies. There will also be presentations from Edward Twiddy (NELEP) and Andrew Lewis (Newcastle City Council).

If you would like to register to attend please complete the following form: .

SHOCK Project Dissemination Event

SHOCK (NOT) HORROR is an EPSRC-funded project that, over the past two years, has been looking at how ‘shock’ events can provide opportunities for learning about and transformation of infrastructure systems.

On Friday 22 November (10am to 4pm) we will be holding our final project dissemination event at The Royal Society in London. The event will include an overview of the project process, methodologies and findings. Interactive sessions will draw upon a number of  activities and experiments that the project has conducted to prompt discussion around identifying barriers and enablers for change and innovation of infrastructure systems. A final open discussion on the value of this research and its outcomes, alongside other on-going research programmes will aid identification of future research priorities.

If you would like to register to attend please complete the following form: Please feel free to circulate the attached project information flyer to others who may be interested in the event.

A more detailed programme will be available nearer the time of the event.

CESER academics in @lwec_uk #flooding film

One year after the #ToonMonsoon, the film is released at the Tyneside Cinema.  The film is the result of a winning idea submitted to the first LWEC short film competition by Northumbrian Water and Newcastle University.

‘Flood Force: finding solutions in good company’, features Northumbrian Water staff and CESER academics Professor Chris Kilsby and Professor Hayley Fowler. The film uses the North East’s experience of flooding from extreme rainfall in June 2012 to show how leading UK research can contribute to better decision-making, with a particular emphasis on how business can take action to reduce the risk and therefore the costs of flooding.

The film describes the actions that have been taken by local businesses at large and small scales, whilst calling for more collective action by putting in ponds, green roofs, water butts, permeable paving and other measures which slow down runoff to avoid inundating roads, storm drains, sewers and water courses.

CESER’s experience of crowd-sourcing information on flood risk, city-wide flood modelling and high resolution climate modelling has been central to understanding the convective summer rainfall that inundated Newcastle in 2012.

You can watch the film on youtube.

Lord Deighton launches the new iBUILD #infrastructure research centre

Visit for more information.
Understanding how our key infrastructures interconnect – from a technical, economic and social perspective – will improve the way we finance and deliver them across the UK.

Experts at Newcastle University will lead a £3.5 million Centre set up to investigate how technical and market interactions between our energy, water, transport, waste and digital technology systems can be exploited to get better economic, social and environmental value from our infrastructure.

Brian Collins (Director of ICIF, UCL), Lord Deighton, Richard Dawson (Director of iBUILD, Newcastle), Martin Donnelly (Permanent Secretary for BIS), Adrian Alsop (Director of Research at ESRC), Dave Delpy (Chief executive of EPSRC)

Working with Leeds and Birmingham universities and 27 industrial partners, the new i- BUILD (Infrastructure Business models, valuation and Innovation for Local Delivery) Centre is part of the National Infrastructure Plan, published by the Government in 2011.Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) the Newcastle University-led project is one of two national centres being announced today in London by Lord Deighton, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury.  The second will be led by UCL.The Centres will create an interdisciplinary environment in which social scientists, engineers, industrialists, policy makers and other stakeholders can research and collaborate. They will consider how to deliver infrastructure, and the services it provides, to stimulate jobs and economic growth but also deliver wider environmental and social value.Richard Dawson, Director of i- BUILD and Professor of Earth System Engineering at Newcastle University, explains: “A growing population, modern economy and proliferation of new technologies have placed increased and new demands on infrastructure services and made infrastructure networks increasingly inter-connected.“Meanwhile, investment has not kept up with the pace of change leaving many components at the end of their life.  Furthermore, pressures associated with global environmental change require infrastructure to be less polluting and more resilient to extreme events such as flooding.

“These challenges place further pressure on the UK’s existing business models for infrastructure delivery that are in many cases already providing poor value.”

Professor Dawson said the key aim of the new Centre was to develop new business models that are able to reduce costs but also provide better value for people and the environment throughout the design, construction, operation, maintenance, decommissioning or conversion of the infrastructure systems.

“While national scale infrastructure planning remains important, it is at the scale of neighbourhoods, towns and cities – the focus of i-BUILD – that infrastructure is most dense and interactions between infrastructures, economies and society are most profound.

“We aim to harness the power of the Localism Act, City Deals and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the innovation of communities to stimulate local economic growth through infrastructure delivery.

“After all, our national infrastructure and economy are only as good as the sum of their parts and this project offers us a real opportunity to innovate the way we deliver infrastructure and consequently stimulate economic growth.”

In Newcastle, i-BUILD will have a focus around Science Central, the country’s largest inner-city regeneration project that is set to become an exemplar of Sustainability research for the UK.  The site will be used as a pilot for the i-BUILD project to demonstrate how infrastructure can be planned and financed in a smarter way to better support local communities and to stimulate growth.

Similar case studies will be developed in Leeds, Birmingham and elsewhere.

Seminar by Prof. Pascal Perez on urban simulation and planning

TransMob: A micro-simulation model for integrated transport and urban planning
Prof Pascal Perez, SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong, NSW


4-5pm, 24th May, Room 2.32: Cassie Building, Newcastle University

To book your place please register online


How will current socio-demographic evolution affect future transport patterns and traffic conditions?

How will urban development and transport policy influence the quality of life of various segments of the local community?


The ‘Shaping the Sydney of Tomorrow’ Project (StSoT) was commissioned by Transport for NSW (Australia) to better understand the interactions between transport and land-use dynamics as experienced by individuals and households over extensive periods of time (15-20 years). Stepping away from traditional optimisation, our model focuses on anticipating short and long-term emergent consequences and feedbacks resulting from interactions between people and their urban environment, through the creation of ‘what-if’ scenarios (risk assessment approach).  The innovative design and development of TransMob aims to challenge three traditional but highly limiting modelling assumptions:

•Long-term steady-state equilibrium of the system: in fact, transport services and urban development co-evolve along with socio-demographic changes in highly dynamic ways and out of equilibrium.
•Feed-forward effect of urban development on transport networks: in fact, evidence suggests that there is a strong feedback effect of transport solutions onto land-use changes.
•Homogeneous and utility-based social responses to transport and land-use planning: in fact, there is more to decisions on transport modes or residential locations than pure micro-economic reasoning; most unintended consequences stem from unexpected heterogeneous individual considerations.

TransMob is made of six modelling components: (1) synthetic population, (2) perceived liveability, (3) travel diaries, (4) traffic micro-simulator, (5) transport mode choice and (6) residential location choice. The model is applied to the inner south-east area of Sydney metropolitan area and simulates the evolution of around 110,000 individuals and 50,000 households over 20 years, according to various transport and land use scenarios.

Adaptation and Resilience in Cities: Final dissemination event

Adaptation and Resilience in Cities: Analysis and decision making using integrated assessment (ARCADIA)

Final dissemination event, 2 May, London

Building upon work developed during the Tyndall Centre Cities Programme, the ARCADIA project has developed a methodological approach for looking at risks to urban systems, understanding the inter-relationships between climate impacts, the urban economy, land use, transport and the built environment, has enabled the testing of adaptation options to design cities that are more resilient. The final dissemination event will be held on Thursday 2 May, 1-5pm, at the Friend’s Meeting House, Euston Road, London. During the event, key messages from the project will be presented using the example impacts of urban heat and flood risk. There will also be more detailed presentations and demonstrations of the project’s methodological approaches: spatial weather generator, economic modelling, land-use and transport modelling.  During the event we will welcome your review, evaluation and potential use of the tools, methodologies and research outcomes that will be showcased.

To register to attend please email   by Tuesday 30 April.

U-Café: exploring the potentials of up-cycling

The concept of upcycling is recognised as only successful if the general public not only recognise these new potentials in waste material, but are also motivated to do something with them too.  What is not currently known, is the willingness of people to own a handbag made from materials once regarded as rubbish or waste, or live in a building insulated with material of a similar origin.  How, and why would people of very different social, economic and cultural backgrounds choose to engage with up-cycled products, if at all?  To gauge a range of possible perceptions around notions of waste, value and utility, an interdisciplinary team of academics and students from Newcastle University are constructing a Café made from materials described as rubbish or waste. The structure of ‘U-Café’ will be cardboard and plastic, and has been designed to function as a working café.  This is intended as a space where people of different ages, and from different neighbourhoods of Newcastle, will be invited to participate in a research dialogue with members of the project team. It is hoped that, by encouraging research participants to experience waste materials in new

ways, it will be possible to explore the potential value of up-cycled products and components.




U-Café will be open for business between Tuesday 16 and Thursday 18 April, and we invite you to come along and get involved.  All ‘customers’ will get a free cup of coffee.  You will find Café in the new Fine Art Lobby – opposite Northern Stage.

Tuesday 16th April 

0930 to 1700

With recitals from Hadrian Primary School’s upcycled orchestra

Wednesday 17th April

0930 to 1600

Featuring screenings of short film, ‘Second Hand Sureshots’

Thursday 18th April

0930 to 1700

With an afternoon of live music from Junk Agency