News and comment

Wed, 2014-04-09

As the work of the Retrofit 2050 project draws to a close, a recent report presents key findings from across the six universities involved to explore Critical Challenges for Urban Transitions.

Thu, 2014-02-20

The Retrofit 2050: Policy and Practice Conference will take place in London on 12th March to conclude the project and disseminate key findings.

Wed, 2014-01-29

Places for the final Retrofit 2050 academic conference are filling up fast, with a limited number of spaces still available. The conference will include presentations around the themes of:

Wed, 2014-01-29

“Urban Retrofitting for Sustainability: Mapping the Transition to 2050”, edited by Tim Dixon, Malcolm Eames, Miriam Hunt and Simon Lannon of the Retrofit 2050 project and published by Earthscan Routledge, brings together interdisciplinary research on the financing tools, governance, technologies and systems innovation that would underpin widespread retrofitting of the built environment between the present day and 2050.

Fri, 2014-01-10

The final Retrofit 2050 academic conference will take place on the 12th and 13th February 2014 in Cardiff. The aim and purpose of this conference will be to share knowledge and findings from across the Retrofit 2050 project’s interdisciplinary programme of research, and engage in a process of comparative and mutual learning with leading national and international academic peers, together with a small number of key stakeholders from policy and practice. The event will also be a platform to identify priorities for future interdisciplinary research.

Wed, 2013-10-30

Malcolm Eames and Tim Dixon look to long-term aspirations for systemic responses to retrofit in the UK, and what the Retrofit 2050 visions can offer to support planning processes.Writing in the Estates Gazette, a weekly business magazine for the UK commercial property market, they describe the policy context in which UK retrofitting currently finds itself, and argue a way forward using the three visions developed in the project's backcasting scenario process.

The article can be found here.

Fri, 2013-10-25

A doctoral workshop on October 2013 brought together students from across the UK to present on their work around the topic of Sustainable Urban Environments. With topics ranging from technical issues such as operational energy performance and tools for planning retrofit interventions to social issues such as mediating retrofit and financial innovation, the presentations offered an insight into novel postgraduate level research into retrofit in its many forms.

Tue, 2013-10-22

A forthcoming book will bring together contributions from leading international experts to focus on key issues such as systems innovation, financing tools, governance, energy, and water management. Edited by Tim Dixon, Malcolm Eames, Miriam Hunt and Simon Lannon, the chapters consider not only the knowledge and technical tools available, but looks forward to how they can be implemented in real cities by 2050.

The book will be available on January 27th 2014. More information can be found here.

Tue, 2013-10-22

Building Research and Information is granting free access to their "Urban Retrofitting for the Transition to Sustainability" special issue, guest edited by member of the Retrofit 2050 team.

Building Research & Information is a leading peer-reviewed international journal that focuses on buildings and their supporting systems over their whole life. The scope of the journal embraces:

Mon, 2013-10-14

A new paper by the RICS Europe Sustainability Task Force discusses key issues and challenges for sustainability in the construction sector with a focus on Realising the Opportunities for Built Environment Professionals.

It aims to promote discussion about the sorts of changes that practitioners and professionals need to make to support new approaches and practices.

The University of Reading Retrofit team contributed to this report and the report references their input, based on the EPSRC Retrofit 2050 research.

Mon, 2013-10-14

A new report, Re-energising the Green Agenda, presents the findings of the Commission of Inquiry of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment. While it supports the Green Deal, it argues it urgently needs improvements to make it more financially attractive.

It also suggests that the Government needs to give clearer signals that the Green Agenda is a priority, including commitment to revising building regulations, to build confidence in the construction sector.

Mon, 2013-09-23

To celebrate the publication of Building Research and Information journal’s special issue on Urban Retrofitting, there will be a launch event between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on Wednesday 2 October at the BRE INSITE Conference at BRE Watford. The event will be hosted by Richard Lorch (Editor in Chief of Building Research and Information), Professor Tim Dixon (University of Reading), and Professor Malcolm Eames (University of Cardiff). There will be a discussion on the special issue and the chance to hear more about the related EPSRC Retrofit 2050 programme of research.

Thu, 2013-09-05

A special issue of the Building Research and Information journal, drawn together by the Retrofit 2050 project, explores issues around retrofitting cities for climate change. Including papers from the expert reviews commissioned by the project and editorial by the project team, the journal explore issues such as:

Wed, 2013-05-22

Call for abstracts

On Wednesday 16th October, the Retrofit 2050 project will be holding a doctoral research workshop on Sustainable Urban Retrofit.The workshop is intended to provide an opportunity for PhD students working on retrofit related issues within the six Retrofit 2050 project team universities to share theoretical and empirical insights on sustainable urban retrofit research.

Wed, 2013-05-22

A new report presenting the Retrofit 2050 visions has been published, describing the three city visions developed as part of the Urban Foresight Panel workshops that took place over 2011 and 2012. Retrofit City Futures: Visions for Urban Sustainability sets out three contrasting long term visions for retrofit city-regional futures.

Wed, 2013-05-15

Members of the Retrofit 2050 team will be holding two half day workshops in order to explore challenges, opportunities and approaches to modelling urban infrastructures in an integrated way. The workshops will explore:

  • the conceptualisation, creation and refinement of a model
  • challenges and visions for future models
  • validation and integration of top-down and bottom-up models

An academic paper and article in a trade journal will be published based on the workshops, in which all participants will be acknowledged.

Mon, 2013-03-18

Over the past month, different members of the team have been busy disseminating insights from across the project at a range of different events.  In February 2013, Malcolm Eames and Tim Dixon were invited to present the project at HM Treasury to an audience of policy advisors and senior civil servants.  Peter Guthrie, Tim Dixon, Malcolm Eames and Carla de Laurentis presented at the Ecobuild conference and exhibition held at London’s ExCel Centre between 5th and 7th March along with Chris Jofeh of Arup, part of the project’s non-advisory group.

Tue, 2013-02-05

Call For Papers: Modelling Sustainable Urban Transition Dynamics
 International Symposium, 3rd-4th July 2013, Cardiff UK


Wed, 2013-01-16

Building on his work on the RICS ‘Hotting Up’ report, Tim Dixon has written on the state of low carbon plans in UK cities as part of the Future Cities Special Interest Group. Arguing that the battle against climate change and resource depletion will be won or lost in the world’s cities, he reflects on Carbon Reduction plans in UK cities, characteristics of successful plans and the challenges they face in a changed political and fiscal landscape.

Mon, 2012-12-10

Judith Britnell gave a presentation of the work of the Retrofit 2050 programme at the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC) Early Career Researcher (ERC) conference held at Clare College, Cambridge in November 2012. The ITRC programme is developing simulation models and tools to inform the analysis, planning and design of national infrastructure.

Fri, 2012-11-23

Tim Dixon, leader of the Urban Foresight work package, explains Why We Need Utopic Urban Visions in his contribution to the UBM Future Cities forum. Reflecting on the relationship between utopic visions and the city, he argues that such high hopes have played a crucial part in the most successful city transformations and will continue to do so in the future. His article can be found here.

Tue, 2012-10-02

The energy supply system is usually considered as individual sub-systems with separate energy vectors (e.g. electricity, heat, gas and hydrogen). In the present Smart Grid vision, the role of electricity is most prominent with limited consideration of other energy networks. However, there is much benefit to be gained by considering the energy system as an integrated whole. For example, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units and boilers with district heating system and heat pumps act as linkages between electricity and heat networks.

Mon, 2012-09-10

The Welsh School of Architecture and Cardiff University School of Engineering will be hosting a seminar series on the subject of "Flexible Energy Delivery Systems". This forum will bring together students, researchers and practitioners to discuss issues and developments regarding flexible energy delivery systems. Prominent scientists and industry professionals will present their research and share their knowledge.

Fri, 2012-07-20

CLUES: Energy - Looking to the Future marks the end of the EPSRC funded CLUES Project and provides an opportunity to launch the project's final results and tool.

Fri, 2012-07-20

Tim Dixon was invited to present his recent work on low carbon cities at the launch of the Work Foundation's report on 'Low Carbon Jobs in Cities' on 19 July in London.

Mon, 2012-07-09

The Retrofit 2050 project has been accredited to the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) programme, joining a group of environmentally minded research projects across the UK.

Fri, 2012-05-04

The Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) at the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA) invites applications for a fully funded 3-year PhD studentship in the area of Urban Retrofit and Low Carbon Innovation. We are particularly interested in proposals exploring the economics and financing of large scale retrofit activities in a UK context, or assessing the supply chain and local employment opportunities created through innovation and investment in the low carbon built environment.

Thu, 2012-03-29

International Urban Retrofit Workshop:
Theories and Concepts, Dynamics and Practices, Politics and Implications

13th – 14th September 2012
Manchester UK

Wed, 2012-03-28

Yesterday, RICS launched "Hotting Up? An Analysis of Low Carbon Plans and Strategies for UK Cities", a comprehensive snapshot of carbon emissions strategies in UK cities. Drawn together by Professor Tim Dixon, leader of the Technology Foresight work package, the report examines how 60 UK cities have acted in response to climate change and how successful they have been in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Mon, 2012-03-12

Prof. Malcolm Eames and Prof. Tim Dixon were invited to give a presentation on the EPSRC Retrofit 2050 in March at the Chief Scientific Advisors’ Quarterly meeting. Every government department has a Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA), and departmental CSAs, working collectively with other analytical disciplines and with departmental boards and Ministers, work to ensure that science and engineering are at the core of decisions within departments and across government.

Wed, 2012-02-22

The Retrofit 2050 project is currently looking for a Research Assistant to join the Cambridge team. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team, the successful candidate will contribute to the integration of a set of novel socio-technical scenarios and technology roadmaps in order to explore prospective urban transitions to sustainability at a city-regional scale. Their work will be particularly focussed on communication and dissemination of research findings and will involve effective engagement with key stakeholders.

Tue, 2012-02-14

On Thursday 16th February, the Guardian online will be hosting an interactive online discussion to consider key questions about the sustainable city of the future with Tim Dixon, leader of the Technology Foresight package of the project, as part of a panel of experts. Key issues for debate include:

Thu, 2012-02-09

The second workshop of the Retrofit 2050 visioning process was held in London on 26th January. Bringing together the project’s Urban Foresight Panel, the workshop aimed to imagine, describe and appraise visions of the sustainable city in 2050, developing existing visions to explore what it would be like to live, work and govern in them. This visioning exercise was the first step in a backcasting process intended to identify the key issues for retrofitting UK city-regions between 2020 and 2050.

Wed, 2012-02-08

RICS has launched an essay competition for its student members as part of the Vision for Cities research programme, examining key thinking on the provision of sustainable cities to 2030 and beyond. The competition aims to promote and showcase innovative thinking on the future of sustainable development in world cities.

Tue, 2012-01-24

CLUES Conference: Energy in the Locality

A day-conference to explore local energy case studies in urban and rural locations.

8th May 2012, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1

Tue, 2012-01-24

What is the most effective and efficient way to decarbonise a city? There are thousands of low carbon options available and, although they present a significant opportunity to reduce energy bills and carbon footprints, there is often a lack of reliable information on their performance. The higher levels of risk and uncertainty that emerge as a result of this lack of this deficit can act as major barriers to action, making it hard to develop a political, business or social case for investment in low carbon options.

Fri, 2011-11-25

JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) has organised a launch of several new BETA products and tools centred around geospatial technology and aimed at Universities, Colleges and Schools. Come along and experiment with these soon-to-be-released products at a special one day event on Monday November 28th at Ravensborough College (next door to the Milennium Dome) in London.

Fri, 2011-10-28

The RETROFIT 2050 Urban Foresight Panel – a group of leading experts from industry, academia, government and civil society organisations - met at the Royal Society, London on October 6th 2011 for the first of three participatory scenario workshops. The workshop process will produce a set of contextual scenarios for the systemic urban retrofitting of core UK city regions. These scenarios will then be tested and evaluated through the project’s detailed modelling and case-study research in Greater Manchester and Cardiff/SE Wales.

Tue, 2011-10-18

The new RETROFIT 2050 website is a portal to information about what we’re doing and why it’s important. Very much a work in progress, it will continue to be updated with new resources, including promotional materials explaining the work of the project and publications and working papers around the subject of retrofitting our two case study regions.