Triangulum: Three points of light
Principal investigator: James Evans
Co-investigators: Andrew Karvonen and Krassimira Paskaleva
Funding: European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme, £965,000
Working with the cities of Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Stavanger in Norway in a consortium called Triangulum, Manchester City Council has been awarded a share of the pot in a European Commission scheme to demonstrate 'smart green growth' - reducing carbon emissions while boosting the economy.
The Manchester part of the project focuses on The Corridor and is led by Manchester City Council, working alongside The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester-based businesses Siemens and digital technology company Clicks and Links. The funding will enable investment in technologies from renewable energy and storage to improved distributed energy efficiency and intelligent energy management using ICT data. It will also support the increased use of electric vehicles. Evans, Karvonen, and Paskaleva will lead the academic work package for the project.
University living lab for sustainability
Principle investigator: James Evans
Co-investigator: Andy Karvonen
Researchers: Lucy Millard, Ross Jones, Helen Cutts
Funder: University of Manchester Research Institute, Higher Education Innovation Fund
The University Living Lab is developing the University of Manchester campus as a site for applied teaching and research around sustainability and low carbon. This university-wide programme provides a platform for collaboration between researchers, students, external stakeholders and the Directorate of Estates and Facilities to deploy and monitor new technologies and services in real-world settings.
Bulgaria’s abandoned elderly: Living alone in shrinking villages and cities
Principal investigator: Deljana Iossifova
Funding: University of Manchester (Research Stimulation and Impact Fund; 2016)
Due to low fertility rates and unprecedented outmigration of young people, Bulgaria’s population has decreased by 1.5 million in only 30 years and stands now at 7.1 million; the country is ranked fourth in the world for its proportion of people above the age of 60. Following massive international as well as internal rural-to-urban migration, Bulgaria’s elderly are left behind to cope without support. Two thirds of them are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The everyday challenges they face in cities, towns and villages remain relatively unexplored.
In order to deploy appropriate interventions, policy makers and other stakeholders at the local, national and international levels require an in-depth understanding of the main concerns of senior citizens.
This project sheds light on the lived experience of abandoned elderly in the context of Bulgaria’s rapid economic downturn and population shrinkage.
Care Provision Fit for a Future Climate
- Principle investigator: Professor Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes University
- Co-investigators: Professor Gordon Walker, Dr Alan Lewis
- Researchers: Laura Barnfield, Matt Gregg
- Funder: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
The research project, Care Provision Fit for a Future Climate, aimed to examine how far existing care homes and other care providers in the UK are fit for a future climate and to consider the preparedness of the care sector in light of the consequences of climate change, with a focus on overheating.
The study reviewed existing evidence as well as conducting primary research in four case study care settings (two residential care and two extra care homes) in England to assess the risks of overheating now and in the future and to explore the experiences of key stakeholders involved in their design, management and use.
Defining the urban: Transdisciplinary perspectives
Principal investigator: Deljana Iossifova
This project’s key objective is to provide a platform for the development of new, collaborative and transdisciplinary approaches to urban challenges. It aims: to give an overview of definitions of ‘urban’ in different academic disciplines and professional fields; to outline a wide range of theoretical frameworks and practical methods; and to establish transdisciplinarity as the new status quo in urban practice and research.
- Deljana Iossifova, Christopher N. Doll, Alexandros Gasparatos. ed. Defining the Urban: interdisciplinary and professional perspectives. Farnham: Ashgate, forthcoming.
Harmonica Alley, Yokohama: A visual ethnography
Principal investigator: Deljana Iossifova
Co-Investigators: Ulysses Sengupta, Heide Imai
Research students: Maria-Magdalena Atanasova, Daniel Kempski, Paulina Kowalska, Diana Muresan, Ivana Tosheva, Matthew Walker, Larissa Weinmann
Funding: Daiwa Foundation Award (2014/15), Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation (2015), University of Manchester Public Engagement Fund (2016)
This project explores sociospatial transformation in Noge, Yokohama’s infamous entertainment district. It focuses on the stories and experiences of proprietors in Miyakobashi Shopping Centre, a building constructed in 1964 in view of Tokyo’s Summer Olympics. The shopping centre transformed a formerly cluttered black market area into an orderly urban marketplace. Today, it contains 61 bars and small restaurants. The project offers intimate insights into urban restructuring and cultural shifts in the context of changing Japan.
- Iossifova, D. and U. Sengupta. ed. (2016)  Harmonica Alley, Yokohama. Manchester: SoftGrid.
-  Harmonica Alley, Yokohama. Grosvenor Gallery, Manchester, 8-19 February 2016.
Threshold machines: How Sanja Matsuri makes Asakusa
The idea of placemaking has recently gained traction in policy contexts within planning debates, but the terms of this are rather loosely defined and reinforce or validate existing practices more than they allow for understanding historic events such as the annual Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa district of Tokyo.
Sanja Matsuri represents an embodied enactment of urbanism: that the people of Asakusa make a clear statement of belonging and of their right to the city. By enacting their urbanism, the people of Asakusa ensure the continuity of their district in a tangible manner: a solidarity is underlined and a common purpose gives a sense of unity.
The event presents a number of challenges to conventional urban and architectural representation. This calls for a multiple methods approach in order to understand the context as it unfolds and develops, combining lens-based media with drawings and other forms of notation in order to establish the fullest picture of how the festival unfolds. Drawing is a form of understanding which is directly relevant to architecture, and which gives a fine grain of spatial information.
The procession produces place by continually redefining thresholds. As the events develop, conditions of inside and outside are continually defined by the actions of participants. Memories of this reconfiguration of space linger long after the matsuri is over each May. This place making is achieved by agreement with the people of Asakusa: the embodied urbanism which not only defines the space of the district, but also neighbourhood bonds and identity.
Methods of Graphic Anthropology shall be tested in this project, which is still under development.
Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructure (RESIN)
Working within an innovative cross-European partnership, University of Manchester researchers are supporting the development of approaches to enhance the resilience of Europe’s cities and urban critical infrastructure to extreme weather and climate change. The RESIN project will develop tools and methodologies that not only support well-informed urban planning and decision making, but also encourage the market deployment of innovative climate adaptation and resilience approaches.
RESIN is a €7.5 million European Union funded Horizon 2020 project, running from May 2015 until November 2018. The consortium consists of 17 partners from 8 European countries, experienced in urban resilience and climate change.
The proposal was regarded as exceptional by the European Commission (achieving an evaluation score of 15/15). RESIN is coordinated by Nederlandse Organisatie Voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO).
RESIN project outputs will be developed and applied in four case study areas – Bilbao, Bratislava, Paris and the Greater Manchester city-region. Learning generated within the project will be transferred to a series of ‘second tier’ cities identified with the collaboration of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability).
Urban Resilience – assessing, prioritising and standardising
The RESIN project recognises that extreme weather and climate change pose an ever increasing threat to both quality of life and the future prosperity of cities. Over a 42 month period, the project will develop outputs to increase the resilience of cities to extreme weather and climate change risks. This includes:
- Linking existing approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, working towards a resilience approach with a core focus on critical infrastructure.
- Providing a conceptual and methodological toolkit to explore the potential for standardised methods to build resilience to climate change and its associated vulnerabilities and risks. This will include an inventory of potential adaptation measures, alongside standardised methods for prioritisation.
- Developing a framework to address the governance of the adaptation planning process, involving different stakeholders and sectors in order to optimise efforts.
- Generating on-line decision support tools and guidance, to facilitate the formulation of adaptation strategies by local administrations and private stakeholders (such as infrastructure network managers).
- Incorporating extensive consultation and testing in ‘real life’ urban situations, ensuring that frameworks and tools developed by RESIN can be applied in practice.
- Collaborating with a European Standardisation organisation (NEN) to prepare project outputs that will ensure climate change adaptation can be progressed in a systematic and reproducible fashion.
The University of Manchester has a leading role in both the conceptual and empirical aspects of RESIN. Our key contributions include:
- Facilitating the development of a conceptual framework to guide the project and its various work packages.
- Creating and testing a ‘city typology’ that will characterise cities according to factors linked to adaptation and resilience. The typology will encourage the development of responses more closely tailored to the characteristics of specific urban areas.
- Working with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), and other bodies across the Greater Manchester region, to explore the climate resilience of the conurbation’s critical infrastructure systems and support the development and testing of decision support tools.
RESIN is underpinned by close working relationships between universities, research institutes, the private sector and municipal authorities. Accordingly, the Greater Manchester team brings together practitioners and academics in the fields of climate change adaptation and urban resilience.
- Dr Jeremy Carter (Principal Investigator, Planning and Environmental Management)
- Dr Andrew Karvonen
- Dr Stephen Hincks (Planning and Environmental Management)
- Professor John Handley (Planning and Environmental Management)
- Dr Angela Connelly (Research Associate, SEED)
- Mark Atherton (Leader of the AGMA RESIN team)
- Matt Ellis (AGMA and The Environment Agency)
- Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA)
- Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub
RESIN builds on over a decade of innovative, and highly impactful, climate change adaptation and resilience research at the University of Manchester. This includes:
Future City Systems
Principal Investigator: Deljana Iossifova
Partners: Ulysses Sengupta (Manchester Metropolitan University), Michael Weinstock (Architectural Association)
Funding: Higher Education Innovation Fund (Eco-Innovation Voucher; 2015)
This is a collaborative project between the Manchester School of Architecture (University of Manchester/Manchester Metropolitan University) and Architectural Association.
Complexity, Planning and Urbanism (CPU) and Emergent Technologies and Design (EmTech) will work together to develop novel approaches to research- and evidence-based architectural and urban design.
New analytical frameworks will help to understand urban processes using a complexity science approach and building on interdisciplinary collaboration and transdisciplinary knowledge emerging from the ESRC Strategic Network Data and Cities as Complex Adaptive Systems (DACAS).
Oxford road as a living laboratory
Principal investigator: Andrew Karvonen
Funding: Higher Education Innovation Fund
This project involves a knowledge exchange partnership with Corridor Manchester, a public-private consortium that is transforming Oxford Road into the hub of the burgeoning knowledge economy in Manchester. The project team is collaborating with Corridor Manchester to direct teaching and research activities towards Oxford Road. This specially designated area serves as a living laboratory to conduct experiments on urban development that can feed into city-wide policies.
- Andrew Karvonen, James Evans, and Bas van Heur. "The politics of urban experiments: radical change or business as usual?." In After Sustainable Cities?, ed. Mike Hodson, Simon Marvin, 104-115. Abingdon: Routledge, 2014. eScholarID:225218
- Andrew Karvonen and Bas van Heur. "Urban laboratories: experiments in reworking cities." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38, no. 2(2014) : 379-392. eScholarID:123865
- James Evans and Andrew Karvonen. "'Give me a laboratory and I will lower your carbon footprint!' – urban laboratories and the governance of low carbon futures." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38, no. 2(2014) : 413-430. eScholarID:123868
- James Evans and Andrew Karvonen. "Living laboratories for sustainability: exploring the politics and epistemology of urban transition." In Cities and Low Carbon Transitions, ed. Harriet Bulkeley, Vanesa Castán Broto, Mike Hodson, and Simon Marvin, 126-141. London: Routledge, 2011. eScholarID:86788
Mathematisation of Daylighting: a history of British architects’ use of the daylight factor
Principal Investigator: Alan Lewis
Funding: RIBA and Thomas Pocklington Trust (2013-2014)
British post-war planning guidance proposed that cities be rebuilt according to scientific principles. Mathematical tools, such as the daylight factor, were devised to determine built form. Although the precise calculation used has developed in intervening years, the daylight factor is still the principal metric used in guidance on daylighting.
Recent research indicates that many new-build housing schemes do not comply with recommended daylight factors, and that few architects undertake daylight factor calculations when designing buildings. This is a cause for concern given that previous studies have demonstrated the health benefits of good daylighting.
This study will explore whether the Modernist ambition, for buildings to be designed according to mathematically verifiable principles, was realised in relation to daylighting. The study will draw on interviews with architects and retired architects, to investigate how approaches to daylighting have changed over time, and to explore how useful daylighting metrics have been in creating high standards of daylighting. The study’s findings will inform future design guidance.
Community approaches to retrofit in Manchester (ChARisMa)
Principal investigator: Andy Karvonen
Co-investigator: Saska Petrova
Researcher: Jenni Cauvain
Funding: University of Manchester Strategic Investment Research Fund, £25,000
The Community Approaches to Retrofit in Manchester (ChARisMa) project aims to understand how energy savings and fuel poverty are being addressed through collaborative, community-based programmes, using Greater Manchester as a case study. Our work focuses on five retrofit case studies, and involves stakeholder interviews and site visits.
CHARISMA provides insights into how social housing providers are developing innovative approaches to retrofit that can realise multiple aims of energy and carbon savings, occupant comfort and fuel poverty. Findings from the research are to be shared with practitioners, policymakers, and academics at a workshop in summer 2014. The findings should also be of relevance to community organisations, social housing providers, local authorities, design professionals, installers, and other stakeholders who are interested in the fostering new cultures of domestic energy consumption.
- Andrew Karvonen. "Towards systemic domestic retrofit: a social practices approach." Building Research and Information 41, no. 5(2013) : 563-574.
Principal investigator: Isabelle Doucet
Funding: SEED Research Stimulation Fund (2012), Methods@Manchester (2012-2013)
Counter-projects are drawing-manifestoes, originating in Brussels, and used throughout the 1970s for processing architectural critique and formulating alternatives. They operated at the intersections of urban politics, cultural history and architectural education. Counter-projects moreover assisted the consolidation of a Reconstruction of the European City movement around, amongst others, Léon Krier and Maurice Culot. This project focuses on the emergence and maturation of counter-projects, and their impact on architectural and urban production; in Brussels and in the wider European context.
Because counter-projects touch upon questions related to radical architectural education, the uses of the past, methods for critical action in architecture, and the relationship between politics and aesthetics, they are also instructive as critical devices in their own right. This project therefore revisits the activist-educational roots of counter-projects also beyond the traditionalist realm of the Reconstruction movement. With an initial focus on Brussels (La Cambre), London (The Architectural Association), and Manchester (The Manchester School of Architecture), I study counter-projects emanating from diverging ideological and conceptual stances in architectural education.
- Isabelle Doucet, 'Counter-projects and the postmodern user' in: Use Matters. An Alternative History of Architecture, ed. by Kenny Cupers, Routledge 2013, pp. 233-247
- Isabelle Doucet, 'Architecture between Politics and Aesthetics: Peter Wilson's "Ambivalent Criticality" at the Architectural Association in the 1970s', Architectural Theory Review, Volume 19, issue 1, 2014, pp. 98-115.
Sanitation and differentiation in urban China
Principal investigator: Deljana Iossifova
Funding: University of Manchester, SEED Research Stimulation Fund 2012/13
This project is concerned with one of the most pertaining issues for growing cities in China and their existing and future residents: sanitation. Alongside significant economic growth over the past three decades, municipalities in the PRC face rapidly expanding urban populations, dwindling natural resources, rising inequality and the coexistence of traditional and modern sanitation systems and practices in fragmented and speedily transforming cities.
Through the lens of everyday sanitation, the project explores the short- and long-term social rifts that these conditions bring about.
- Deljana Iossifova. "Of Poo and People: Sanitation and Differentiation in Urban China." Our World (2014)
Materialist epistemologies of architecture after 1968
Principal investigator: Łukasz Stanek
Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation (research fellowship, 2003–2004), Delft University of Technology (PhD fellowship and travel grants, 2005–2008), Jan van Eyck Academie (research fellowship and conference grant, 2008—2009), Fonds voor Beeldende Kunsten, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst (travel grant, 2008), ETH Zurich (travel grant, 2008), Brupbacher Foundation (conference grant, 2010), Canadian Center for Architecture (research fellowship, 2011), Graham Foundation (publication grant, 2011), and Center for Advanced Studies in Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington D. C. (research fellowship, 2011—2013)
Starting with the work of Henri Lefebvre, I am studying epistemologies which theorize architecture as a part of the social production of space. The potential of Lefebvre’s work for current urban and architectural research needs to be critically considered as a part of broader theoretical landscape which includes, besides Marxism and neo-Marxism, post-structuralism, feminist, and postcolonial theories.
- Łukasz Stanek, Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (2011), 392 pages, ISBN 978-0-8166-6617-1
- Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment by Henri Lefebvre, ed. Łukasz Stanek, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (2014), 248 pages, ISBN 978-0-8166-7720-7-1
- Łukasz Stanek, Ákos Moravánszky, Christian Schmid eds. Urban Revolution Now. Henri Lefebvre in Urban Research and Architecture, Aldershot: Ashgate (2014)
Principal investigator: Wolfgang Weileder (Newcastle University)
Co-investigator: Simon Guy (MARC)
Researcher: Angela Connelly (MARC)
Funding: £347,195, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Duration: October 2013-March 2015
Email: Angela Connelly
How can a practice-led fine art project meaningfully contribute to the multi-layered debate around sustainability in the urban realm? Jetty, an AHRC funded project, aims to answer this question through the development and realisation of a temporary artwork.
Responses to challenges facing poor urban people in a era of global warming in Bangladesh
Full title: Community and institutional responses to the challenges facing poor urban people in an era of global warming in Bangladesh
Principal investigator: David Hulme
Co-investigators: Ferdous Jahan (BRAC University), Manoj Roy, Simon Guy (MARG)
Funding: £500,000, ESRC Area & Development Studies and Environmental Planning
Duration: September 2010 to August 2013
Climate change, and especially climate variability, is impacting on the living conditions and livelihoods of poor people. These effects will deepen over coming decades. Increased exposure to minor shocks and major disasters can dramatically increase poor urban people’s vulnerability and damage their economic and social prospects - dwellings are damaged/destroyed, casual labour is laid off, fuel prices rise, water supplies become contaminated, children get sick ... a downward spiral may result. Yet most governments in developing countries see climate change purely as a rural problem with impacts on agriculture and food security.
Nowhere in the world are these problems more evident than in Bangladesh. Its urban population already exceeds 40 million and is growing at 3.4% per annum. With 20 million people potentially displaced by rising sea levels in coming years, the urbanisation rate seems likely to increase. Urban poverty is already high (estimates vary from 47% to 70%) and in the bustees (i.e. “slums”) living conditions are deteriorating. But, like most other governments, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) maintains a rural focus, as none of the 20 “priority actions” in its Climate Change Strategies and Action Plan 2008 targets the problems faced by the urban poor.
This research, which has been designed after a pilot programme funded by GDI’s “seed corn” research fund, seeks to fill this important research gap in policy-relevant knowledge by exploring how to effectively address the problems of poor urban people, in a context of rapid climate change. It adopts a cross-disciplinary perspective, and brings together a team of leading Bangladeshi and UK researchers and policy activist.
The analytical framework draws on three main bodies of theory. Firstly, we apply political economy of urban change to examine the entitlements of different groups, and especially the poor and vulnerable, to call on resources and negotiate changes in resources access and use. Secondly, our framework explores changes in the assets (material, financial, human, natural and social) of poor urban people. Thirdly, we examine the adaptive practices of poor people and of the institutions with which they interact to understand the individual and societal learning processes that can help, or perhaps hinder, the poor’s efforts to reduce vulnerability and improve their prospects. The research will produce rigorous academic findings that are of international standing and high impact policy recommendations for agencies in Bangladesh and beyond (e.g. DFID and World Bank).
Conditioning demand: Older people, diversity and thermal experience
Principal investigator: Simon Guy (MARG)
Co-investigator: Ralf Brand, Patrick Devine-Wright (University of Exeter), Chris Tweed (Cardiff University), Gordon Walker (Lancaster University)
Researcher: Catherine Grandclement (EDF), Graeme Sherriff (MARG)
Funding: £794,000, EPSRC/EDF Energy Programme (People, Energy and Buildings)
Duration: January 2011 to July 2013
The goal of this project is to understand the diversity and dynamics of thermal experiences in an ageing society and the implications for current and future energy consumption. The project team is investigating the issue of energy consumption as a socio-technical phenomenon by unpacking the social and material dimensions of energy and carbon challenges related to 'thermal experience' in domestic settings in the UK and France. The empirical research follows two key forms of future change: the demographic trend of an ageing society and the development of energy-efficient technologies. Our aim is not only to understand the implications of these two key dimensions of social and technological change, but also to detect potential synergies, gaps, and mismatches between them as they relate to residential thermal experience.
The project team is interviewing older residents across a range of domestic living situations and socio-economic categories to understand the diversity of thermal experiences within this population group. The researchers are also collecting data about the spatial and material aspects of the thermal experience in interviewees' houses. A particular focus of the study is the uptake of energy-efficient technologies that alter thermal experience, including heat pumps, solar hot water, and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. The researchers will also interview actors who are engaged in the promulgation of the energy-efficient technologies, including energy modellers, technology designers, installers, and building maintenance and operations personnel.
The empirical data will be systematically analysed by the project team using qualitative data analysis software and the findings will be disseminated on the project website, through academic and trade journals, and at various conferences. The outcomes of the project will be relevant to a diverse array of disciplinary communities, including scholars of sociology, architecture, urban planning, engineering, science and technology studies, geography, and environmental psychology. The researchers will also reach out to non-academic stakeholders including NGOs, community organisations, and the general public to elucidate the multiple factors that shape thermal experience. Finally, the project will build research capacity in the study of people, energy, and buildings by training four post-doctoral researchers as well as an interlinked cohort of doctoral students and EDF's research and development group.
Daylighting in older people's housing
Principal investigator: Alan Lewis (MARG)
Funding: £33,200 Thomas Pocklington Trust
Duration: January 2013 to October 2013
Project partner: Housing LIN (Learning and Improvement Network)
Email: Alan Lewis
Previous research has demonstrated the benefits of good daylighting in the homes of people with sight loss, particularly in aiding detailed visual tasks. Daylight also has health benefits, particularly in helping the body to regulate sleep patterns and reduce the symptoms of depression. Despite these benefits, an evaluation of 23 extra-care housing schemes, undertaken as part of the EPSRC-funded research project EVOLVE (Evaluation of Older People’s Living Environments), revealed that only half complied with the current recommendations on minimum daylight factors in lounges and bedrooms. This is surprising given the prevalence of sight loss amongst older people, and given that extra-care housing is intended primarily for older people.
The aim of this study is to identify barriers to compliance with current guidance on daylighting, and to identify approaches to design that allow these barriers to be circumvented. The study will draw on existing data from the EVOLVE project, and on interviews with people involved in developing, designing and managing extra-care housing schemes, particularly those housing schemes in the EVOLVE sample.
Multi Faith Spaces as symptoms and agents of religious and social change
Principal investigator: Ralf Brand
Co-investigator: Andrew Crompton (University of Liverpool)
Researcher: Chris Hewson
Funding: £464,185, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Religion and Society Programme
Duration: November 2009 to April 2013
Organisations are increasingly attempting to accommodate religious diversity via the provision of multi-faith spaces (MFS). Some are small and mono-functional (located in airports, universities, hospitals, shopping malls, etc); others take the form of dedicated buildings or complexes, where different religions inhabit and utilise their own sacred space(s), whilst sharing collective ‘secular’ facilities. Here individuals can, notionally, come together to pray, relax, learn, discuss … even shop or play.
Within these spaces a tentative rapprochement between belief systems might occur, and as a consequence MFS have received overt political endorsement, with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) noting the importance of ‘shared spaces for interaction’. However, despite the hope that they may help shape a more integrated, inclusive and tolerant society, MFS have so far received little attention as works of architecture, or spaces that shape, and are shaped by, ongoing socio-religious discourses.
This project aims to better understand the genesis of such spaces (as an academic concern) and to assist in their further development (as a practical intention). Accordingly, project outputs will include peer-reviewed journal papers and conference dissemination, alongside a professionally curated travelling exhibition, and a best practice compendium. The aim is to engage policy practitioners, academics, stakeholders and the general public, in an ongoing dialogue around the continued expansion of multi-faith facilities.
Principal Investigators: Simon Guy (MARG), Gordon Walker (Lancaster University)
Co-Investigator: Ralf Brand
Researcher: Andrew Karvonen
Funding: ESRC/DEFRA £1,513,519
Project duration: January 2011 to July 2013
Zero-carbon homes have become an icon of policy ambitions, with the 2016 target for new homes the subject of much debate as to exactly how it should and can be achieved and the adequacy of accompanying policy and regulatory measures. Achieving zero carbon homes is not just a matter of built design but also of how these homes are lived in. This project will examine the assumptions and expectations about behaviours and practices that are embedded within the building concepts and designs that are being developed to fulfil zero-carbon criteria. What types of users, routines and habits are being assumed, are these homogeneous or diverse? What changes from any notional standard, common, or normal sets of practices are being built in, what is assumed to be non-negotiable and necessary for homes to be viable and desirable in market terms? How do practices shift when zero-carbon homes are inhabited and how might these change over time? To what extent are identical homes inhabited in different ways and with what implications for their sustainability in action? What can we learn about different national contexts of zero-carbon living? How do debates and practices compare and contrast between the UK and Germany, where zero-carbon living has been the subject of early innovation through initiatives such as passive-haus? The study will involve document analysis, case studies, key informant interviews and observation to understand of the effectiveness of infrastructural interventions and the ways in which habits change in a domestic context.
This project is one of seven being undertaken in the Sustainable Practices Group which is funded by a £1.5 million research grant from EPSRC/DEFRA. The essence of the programme of work is to enhance the social scientific understanding of habitual behaviour in areas of everyday consumption with consequences for sustainability. We recognise that sustainability is a complex and multi-dimensional concept, including issues of justice and welfare, but we focus particularly on environmental sustainability and the challenge of climate change. The group will provide a multi-level analysis of three environmentally-sensitive practices – eating, water-use and sheltering – and will include a series of action research interventions with stakeholder organizations in the vein of ‘interactive social science’. The group will engage closely with key stakeholders in the design and dissemination of the research.
Studio for social materiality
Principal investigator: Leandro Minuchin
Funding: The University of Manchester
The project sought to investigate and register techno-popular knowledges in urban peripheries in Latin America. Focusing on how collectives rely on networks of solidarity and association to transform their physical environment, the research catalogued everyday construction practices and the process of technical knowledge dissemination in different settlements.
The project established links with social movement GIROS in Rosario and served to inform the curriculum of an MArch atelier and a paired course in the Faculty of Political Science in Rosario.
Mapping controversies in architecture
Principal investigator: Albena Yaneva
Funding: EU Funding, FP7-SCIENCE-IN-SOCIETY-2007-1 (2008-2010); methods@manchester (2011-2012)
How can we conceptualize architectural objects and practices without falling into the divides architecture/society, nature/culture, materiality/meaning? How can we prevent these abstractions from continuing to blind architectural theory? Mapping Controversies is a research method and teaching philosophy that allows divides to be crossed. It offers a new methodology for following debates surrounding contested urban knowledge.
Engaging in explorations of on-going and recent controversies (the 2012 Olympics stadium in London, the Welsh parliament) and re-visiting some well-known debates (i.e. the Sidney Opera House), the project illustrates ways of tracing the changing sets of positions triggered by design. By mobilizing digital technologies and new computational design techniques we are able to visualise the variety of factors that impinge on design and track actors’ trajectories, changing groupings, concerns and modalities of action. Mapping controversies can be extrapolated to a wide range of complex phenomena of hybrid nature.
- Yaneva, A. (2012) Mapping Controversies in Architecture, Farnham: Ashgate, 144 p. ISBN: 978-1-4094-2668-4.
- Yaneva, A. (2010) “The Architectural as a Type of Connector”, Perspecta 42, The Yale Architectural Journal, The MIT Press, pp. 138-143.
- Yaneva, A. (2010) “From Reflecting-in-Action Towards the Mapping of the Real”, in Doucet, I. and Janssens, N.(eds.) Transdisciplinary Knowledge Production in Architecture and Urbanism. Towards hybrid modes of inquiry, Vienna, New York: Springer, pp. 117-128.
- Yaneva, A. and Heaphy, L. (2012) “Urban Controversies and the Making of the Social”, Architectural Research Quarterly, Volume 16(1), pp 29-36
Excerpts from reviews
- “Mapping Controversies demonstrates the intricacies and continued dialogue that architecture creates as a connecting thread in society. This is why the book offers much for architectural pedagogy. (…) This way of understanding buildings as cultural processes and not mere outcomes of a linear process asks acute questions about the teaching of architecture”, Vikas Mehta, “Mapping Controversies in Architecture”, in Journal of Urban Technology, 21:3, 2004, 108-109.
- “Yaneva makes a heartfelt attempt to address the very real problem currently threatening the academic understanding of architectural history; namely, the reading of buildings as the crystallised effects of the political and economic world that produced them. It’s the type of view that sees the Dome as Tony Blair’s ideas incarnate, utterly negates not just the technological aspect of architectural production but its complexity. It ignores the way buildings emerge from a set of social concerns, as much as they address them. Yaneva should be praised for raising concerns about this trend.” Tim Abrahams, The Architects’ journal, 29 March, 2012.
- “By crossing the tools of science studies with the digital techniques of mapping controversies, this book renews the critique of architecture. With many lively examples it is a masterpiece of theory made empirical.” Bruno Latour, Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, France
- “The ambition is no less than to transform both architectural theory and education. (…) Is Mapping Architectural Controversies a new ontology, a new didactical tool, a new methodology, a manifesto? The answer: it is all of these. The approach, the methods, and the theories laid out in Yaneva’s book hold immense potential for both architectural education and research in the field of architectural practice”, Katrine Lotz, “Architecture as Moving Projects”, in Nordic Journal of Architecture No 3, 2012, 140-141.
Materials, Methods and the City
Principal investigator: Leandro Minuchin
The project sought to develop an innovative theory and methods course for MArch students, focusing on new research agendas and methodological tactics emerging after the material turn in social sciences. The course is structured around key conceptual vehicles and the possible data gathering techniques that might be employed to mobilise each theoretical position.
The syllabus illustrates the use and adaptation of the examined conceptual frameworks through a series of architectural examples and productions. As part of this project, an International workshop on methods for urban interventions was organized in Manchester.
The morphology and ethnography of the urban marketplace in South Korea
This project builds on contacts made at Seoul National University of Science & Technology (aka Seoul Tech) in October 2011, and some initial investigations into a number of marketplaces in Seoul and Daegu. The marketplace is a fundamental urban typology with a long history of theorisation. That said, as ad-hoc and improvised spaces, they are not often considered in detail by the design disciplines of architecture and urban design. Instead, the interpretation is largely the domain of anthropology and the social sciences.
This leads to a paucity of understanding of such crucial sites of exchange in the city. I am studying several markets in South Korean cities, as these vibrant and non-designed spaces can teach us a great deal as case-studies for anthropologically and socially informed architectures. Such markets can be understood as a series or knot of spatial and temporal practices. This practice-based approach is once again a case-study for deeper understanding of the urban condition as fundamentally social.
A collaboration with Associate Professor Alfred Hwangbo at Seoul Tech is central to this. We are working with Masters students at Seoul Tech as research assistants producing detailed survey data of Seomun Shijang in Daegu. The policy of ‘Sacralisation’ lies behind the redevelopment of city parks. Markets are clearly one of the next targets for rationalisation after Tapgol Park and Cheonggyecheon Stream as is evidenced by the ongoing Dongdaemun Design Plaza scheme by the office of Zaha Hadid.
The aim of the research is to use time in selected markets in South Korea in order to understand the building types and patterns of occupation common to the market. The means for this is primarily graphic, with substantial survey drawings forming the initial research, looking at the patterns of permanent and temporary occupation. This uses conventional architectural drawing techniques such as figure/ground diagrams Lynchian imageability, socially informed diagramming from Alfred Gell (including ‘Strathernograms’ and Agency-matrices), Mario Gandelsonas’ analytical analyses, Geddes’ Notation of Life, and orthographic drawings of plan, section, elevation, and axonometric.
The overall aim is to produce as full a picture as possible of the marketplaces of South Korea and to build on the work I have already done on bringing the fields of architecture and anthropology together. This continuity of contact with colleagues in Seoul Technical University also holds the potential for cross-institutional workshops and student exchanges, something that they have expressed a clear desire for. I have already made contact with the architecture department there, giving an invited lecture in October 2011 and conducting joint research on Daegu’s Seomun Market in 2012.
Knowing from the inside: Architecture, art, anthropology and design
Principle investigator: Professor Tim Ingold (Aberdeen)
Advisory board member/associate researcher: Dr Ray Lucas (University of Manchester)
Funder: European Research Council
This cross-disciplinary project looks at the intersections between anthropology, art, architecture and design. I am a member of the consultative group (six-strong in total, I represent the field of architecture) for this large European Research Council advanced grant project led by anthropologist Tim Ingold. The project’s aim is to understand existing connections and establish further links between architecture, art, design and anthropology. My role is defined both as external advisors and as associate researcher, working closely with the core group of doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers in Aberdeen. The project builds on established research networks and a series of consultative meetings in 2011, my role is to provide advice in my fields of expertise, as well as to give overall guidance and direction to the project as a whole.
I attend meetings, both as a member of the wider group and individually with sub-project researchers. The role of the associate researchers included developing the initial proposal, working on a conference, exhibitions, and publications, and conducting original research under the banner of the overall project.
Within the scope of the research project, I am working on a project on Sanja Matsuri, in collaboration with Dr Darren Deane of Westminster University, and the research group informs my two MARC Workshops for MArch students in 'Knowledge Production in Architecture' and 'Filmic Architecture'.
Challenging Lock-in through Urban Energy Systems (CLUES)
Principal investigator: Yvonne Rydin (UCL)
Co-investigators: Chris Goodier (Loughborough University), Lester Hunt (University of Surrey), Simon Guy (MARC), Jim Watson (University of Sussex), Patrick Devine-Wright (University of Exeter)
Funding: £971,000, EPSRC Programme - Towards a Sustainable Urban Environment: Integration Across Scales
Duration: Oct 2010 to Sep 2012
Challenging the lock-in of the current centralised UK energy system is essential to delivering the deep carbon cuts required over the period to 2050 to moderate climate change. Decentralised energy initiatives are currently being promoted, increasingly within the urban locations where the majority of the population and economic activity is located. Such decentralisation of energy infrastructure and associated decarbonisation initiatives would considerably change the nature of urban environments to 2050. But, to date, the research emphasis has been on identifying and transferring best practice from project to project without consideration of the limits to decentralisation, the implications for interconnected energy systems and the overall impact on urban areas. There is an urgent need to understand the implications of these decentralisation initiatives from the point of view of energy systems at different scales - urban, regional and national - and in terms of the overall sustainability of future change within urban areas. This involves considering how far such decentralisation could be pursued and what the carbon and other impacts would be.
This project takes a much-needed critical look at the scope for challenging lock-in through urban energy initiatives. Such energy initiatives are understood to include a combination of decentralised technologies for energy generation with strategies for energy and carbon reduction operating at different scales within urban areas. It will examine the range and types of urban energy systems that could be put in place from an international review and it will consider the issues raised by the need for such initiatives within the UK to integrate with energy systems at urban, regional and national scales in order to deliver energy and carbon reductions effectively. This will be explored through UK implementation studies and examination of innovative initiatives as yet untried in the UK context. The context will be scenario development to 2050 based on existing Foresight scenarios on energy management and the built environment. The project will then undertake a scaling-up exercise to consider the potential contribution to national carbon reduction of aggregating up individual urban energy initiatives. This will involve analysis of the extent to which such initiatives could be rolled out across the country and their carbon impact, given different mixes of energy technologies and carbon reduction strategies. The scaling up exercise will also consider the implications for future urban change using the developed 2050 scenarios. The result will be a critical assessment of future change in urban areas as a result of energy decentralisation and, therefore, the potential contribution of energy initiatives within urban areas to carbon reductions at a national scale and urban sustainability to 2050.
Climate science in urban design: A historical and comparative study of applied urban climatology
Principal investigators: Michael Hebbert and Vladimir Jankovic
Researcher: Brian Webb
Funding: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), £343,115
Duration: 2010 to 2011
Email: Michael Hebbert
Climate Science and Urban Design is a historical and comparative study of applied urban climatology. The time frame is from 1950 to the present. The comparative framework includes the seminal work of German and Japanese urban climatologists, as well as the more recent climate policy initiatives of New York City and the City of Manchester.
Our focus is on the small-scale climatic impacts of a city’s physical form and functions. The design of buildings and spaces directly affects urban temperature, wind, rain and air quality - which in turn influence human comfort and health. These relations are systematically studied by urban climatologists, whose discipline has immediate relevance for urban design.
The connections between design and microclimate were historically recognised in Chinese feng shui and the European tradition of Vitruvian design. However, contemporary urbanism has paid comparatively little attention to these factors, despite the efforts of climatologists to establish the relevance of their discipline for physical planning - for example through technical publications of the World Meteorological Organisation.
The first aim of the research is to examine the interaction between climatology and urban design since 1950, and explain its limitations The second aim is to examine the role of urban climate knowledge in contemporary urban design. As cities try to reduce their carbon burden and adapt to new weather risks, are they becoming better informed about their own heat islands? Do they procure reliable climate knowledge? Are they able to translate such knowledge into city plans and urban design?
Outputs and resources
- CITY WEATHERS: Meteorology and urban design, 1950-2010 (PDF). Hebbert, Jankovic and Webb (Eds.) (2011) Manchester Architecture Research Centre: Manchester
- Complete list of publication, conference, and media outputs (ESRC website)
EcoCities: The Bruntwood Initiative for sustainable cities at The University of Manchester
Principal investigator: Simon Guy, John Handley
Researchers: Jeremy Carter, Aleksandra Kazmierczak, Gina Cavan
Partners: Manchester Architecture Research Centre (MARC), Centre for Urban Resilience and Energy, Global Development Institute (GDI)
The project focuses on the response of urban areas to the impacts of climate change, looking particularly at how we can adapt our cities to the challenges and opportunities that a changing climate presents. EcoCities provided Manchester with a dedicated climate change adaptation resource. This is based on leading scientific research, extensive stakeholder engagement, and best practice examples.
Climate change is now accepted as a major global challenge that is with us and is set to intensify. There is strong scientific evidence to suggest that our changing climate is the result of human behaviour, in particular our carbon dioxide emissions. It is clear that aside from the need to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases to limit the extent of future climate change, we must look at how we can respond to projected climate change impacts to ensure that our towns and cities remain ‘liveable’. Cities have a crucial role to play in a future where climate change becomes part of everyday life. For the first time in history, over half the world’s population now lives in urban areas. As centres of population and commerce, cities are responsible for large volumes of greenhouse gas emissions. As societies look to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, the way that people travel, live and work in cities is likely to evolve. Also, cities and their residents are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change including flooding and heat waves. We will need to develop ways to respond and adapt to these impacts and build an environmentally sustainable future.
Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco Towns (GRaBS)
Principal Investigator: Dr. Jeremy Carter
Researchers: Prof. Simon Guy, John Handley, Richard Kingston, Dr. Sarah Lindley, Yi Gong, Aleksandra Kazmierczak and Gina Cavan
Funding: 3.3 million Euros, INTERREG IVC – Priority 2: Environment and Risk Prevention (sub-theme: Natural and Technological Risks)
Email: Jeremy Carter
The Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco Towns (GRaBS) project aims to improve the regional decision and policy making process in relation to the planning and development of new and existing urban areas in eight EU member states in the context of climate change. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are now at their highest for 3 million years and as a result urban areas are vulnerable to impacts including increased temperatures and flooding. Regional spatial planning and urban design can provide solutions to reduce vulnerability and risk. Green infrastructure including gardens, parks, productive landscapes, green corridors and green roofs and walls and blue infrastructure such as water bodies, rivers, streams, floodplains and sustainable drainage systems, play a vital role in creating climate resilient development, a role, which is currently not sufficiently recognised and utilised and lacks integration in main stream planning.
The project involves 14 partners drawn from eight member states representing a broad spectrum of authorities, climate change challenges and with varying degrees of related strategic policy and experience. The project facilitates the much needed exchange of knowledge and experience and the actual transfer of good practice on climate change adaptation strategies to local and regional authorities. In addition a climate change vulnerability and risk assessment tool will be produced through this interregional collaboration. Through stakeholder and community engagement, as well as the development of regional policy networks, partners will produce High Level Policy Statements and Climate Change Adaptation Action Plans to ensure climate resilient future development in their regions. In this process, partners will take part in thematic seminars, study visits, and a mentoring programme as well as apply the climate assessment tool in their own locality.
A key outcome of GRaBS will be a user-friendly and easily transferable and replicable strategic planning methodology together with a vulnerability and risk assessment tool available to all European regional and local municipalities. The project will also deliver a database of good practice green and blue space adaptation approaches and Expert Papers for dissemination throughout Europe. By advancing the knowledge and expertise of partner staff, decisions makers, politicians and communities, regional and local municipalities will be able to make a more informed and strategic response in the context of climate change adaptation. In the long term, communities will reduce their vulnerability to the environmental, social and economic damage related to climate change impacts including extreme temperature increases and flooding incidents.
GRaBS is an EcoCities associated project.
HAMMAMED - Raising awareness for the hammam as a cultural heritage for the Mediterranean area and beyond
Principal investigator: Dr Magda Sibley (in the United Kingdom)
Partners: Oikodrom - The Vienna Institute for Urban Sustainability- Vienna, Austria (project co-ordinator); IFPO - Institut Francais du Proche Orient. Damascus, Syria; ADER-Fès - Agence pour la Dédensification et la Réhabilitation de la Medina de Fez, Fez, Morocco
Budget: 17 million Euros
With a budget of 17 million Euros allocated through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), Euromed Heritage puts appropriation by the local populations of their cultural heritage at the core of its actions. As one of the 12 Euromed Heritage 4 projects, Hammamed aims to facilitate the (re)appropriation of the hammam and its associated culture by the local population. The project also aims to strengthen and consolidate the mutual understanding between cultures in the Mediterranean region by increasing public awareness of the hammam as a shared tangible and intangible heritage. The project builds on the experience and research conducted by the same multi-disciplinary team between 2006-9 as part of the EU FP6 funded project HAMMAM. Two hammam case studies (Ammuna and Saffarine) located within two World Heritage cities (Damascus in Syria and Fez in Morocco) are being used as the focus for action.
The specific aims of the Hammamed project are:
- raise the awareness of the hammam as a cultural heritage in its tangible and intangible aspects within the local neighbourhoods and in particular within the younger generation
- develop multi-disciplinary cooperation for research and good practices in the rehabilitation of hammam buildings
- training and networking to empower the local population and other hammam stakeholders
- actions to stimulate and reinforce social and economic impacts
- agency of local groups in the valorisation and appropriation of their heritage
- increase public accessibility to the hammams at the two selected heritage sites
- use the case studies as examples of good practice that can be applied to other hammams in the Mediterranean region
- promote the lessons of sustainability embedded within this heritage building and facilitate its function as a sustainability catalyst for the rehabilitation of the surrounding neighbourhoods.
The results of the work will be disseminated using various media – local radio and TV programmes, booklets, travelling exhibition, public lectures, best practice manual, eco labelling, journal papers, and one major international conference.
Liverpool’s lost railway heritage
Principal investigators: Angela Connelly and Michael Hebbert.
Construction and politics: Urban imaginaries in Argentina
Principal investigator: Leandro Minchin
Co-investigator: James Scorer
This project sought to examine the relation between construction and urban politics. Focusing on different cases in Argentina, the research explored the way processes of materialization and material projections were instrumental in the shaping of novel urban political identities. Social Movements and urban regeneration cases were selected in Rosario and Buenos Aires. A workshop on Political textures of the city was organized in Manchester.
Taxonomy of the spatial agency of Namdaemun Market, Seoul
This project shall examine Namdaemun Market, a mixed marketplace area in central Seoul. The market is part of a larger ecosystem of markets including Dongdaemun fabric market, Dongdaemun flea market, Noryangjin Seafood market, and Gwangjang street-food night market.
The aim of this research is to establish a methodology for describing the patterns of agency across the site: the degree of control which vendors and buyers have over the environment, which external factors are determinants in this. The model of agency is drawn from Alfred Gell’s Art-Nexus diagram, a matrix of possibilities which can be used as a form of mapping to describe the various human and non-human participants in the social life of a scene.
This methodology will describe the interactions between people; relations to the built environment; the role material culture such as trestles and castors; mobile and fixed architectures; institutional regulation and softer forms of mediation between adjacent vendors; weather and other conditions; trust and portering; and a wide range of other conditions. This complexity can be rendered manageable and understandable through careful mapping and diagramming.
The aim is to show that the market consists of a systematic organisation of space and social life, despite the apparent chaos. This description can form the basis of design, the methodology applied to new sites as a part of the design process in order to inform a more socially sensitive architecture which has long been argued for, but rarely systematised.
Documentation will take the form of multiple representations, consistent with earlier research which conclude that drawings, interviews, sound recordings, notations, photographs, video, and other inscriptive and recording practices can, when layered and taken together, give a much more complete image of a place. No single representation can tell the whole story.
Field research shall be conducted in two phases:
- Undertake a careful and detailed graphic anthropology survey, using the multiple representation methodology outlined above. A survey of the site will be undertaken, describing the temporal and spatial aspects of the market including delivery and portering activities, food stalls serving customers and vendors, retail and wholesale activities, money changing and banking.
- Develop an interview methodology pioneered on an earlier research project (Cultures of Legibility, University of Edinburgh 2009-10) interrogating the spatial understanding of Jakarta by a wide variety of residents from taxi drivers to informal street sellers and police officers. This uses a mental mapping method drawn from Gould & White and Kevin Lynch alongside video interviews to discern how people use and understand their city. This part of the project would utilise postgraduate student researcher assistants from Seoul Tech (I already have a tacit agreement that Seoul Tech can contribute resources to this activity), building on existing collaborations, and students from our own cohort on exchange in Seoul. I have presented early results of this at a range of conferences, and exhibited drawings in group shows ahead of further development of the project.
Lives on the borderland: The sociospatial transition of a neighbourhood in Shanghai
Principal investigator: Deljana Iossifova
Funding: Monbukagakusho Scholarship (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan) 2006-2009; UNU-IAS PhD/Postdoctoral Fellowship (United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies) 2009/2010; Our Common Future Fellowship 2010
This project explored the interaction and transformation of diverse socioeconomic, cultural or otherwise defined groups on the physical ‘borderland’ between old and new residential areas in Shanghai.
- Deljana Iossifova. "Borderland Urbanism: seeing between enclaves." Urban Geography (2014). DOI:10.1080/02723638.2014.961365
- Deljana Iossifova. "Searching for common ground: Urban borderlands in a world of borders and boundaries." Cities 34 (2013): 1-5. DOI:10.1016/j.cities.2013.01.006
- Deljana Iossifova. "Shanghai Borderlands: The Rise of a New Urbanity?" In Urban Theory Beyond the West: A World of Cities, ed. Tim Edensor, Mark Jayne, 193-206. London and New York: Routledge, 2011.
- Deljana Iossifova. "Blurring the Joint Line? Urban life on the edge between old and new in Shanghai." URBAN DESIGN International 14(2009): 65-83. DOI:10.1057/udi.2008.9
- Iossifova, Deljana. "Negotiating Livelihoods in a City of Difference: Narratives of Gentrification in Shanghai." Critical Planning 16(2009): 98-116.
Methodist central halls (research studentship)
Researcher: Angela Connelly
Supervisors: Michael Hebbert and Andrew Crompton
Central Halls are the most prominent monuments of urban non-conformity, and in terms of architectural history they represent a unique building of social and cultural significance. These buildings have never been studied in-depth. In 2007, The University of Manchester and the Methodist Church Property Office received funding under the AHRC/ESRC ‘Religion and Society Programme’ for a Research Studentship. The research student is Miss Angela Connelly and the project is jointly supervised by Professor Michael Hebbert and Dr Andrew Crompton.
Between 2008 and 2009, research on Methodist Central Halls resulted in a national narrative which tabulated their numbers and analysed their plans as social documents. The Central Halls were presented as a unique building type and the resulting PhD thesis was submitted in December 2010 and will be examined in March 2011.
The historic islamic baths of North Africa and their survival into the 21st Century
Principal investigator: Magda Sibley
Research associate: Fodil Fadli
Funding: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Public baths, or hammāms (commonly know as Turkish baths) are key facilities in Islamic cities as they form part of the triad of essential urban facilities - the mosque, the hammām and the suq. They not only support hygiene for the urban dwellers but they also facilitate the accomplishment of the great ablutions prior to the act of praying (hence their location near mosques). They also have an important social function as they serve as a meeting place for both male and female society and support a rich intangible heritage associated with major life events such as weddings, births and religious ceremonies.
The aim of this research is to document and analyse the few surviving hammāms (dating from the 11th to the 19th century) that are currently operating, closed or changed function in five North African World Heritage Cities: Cairo (Egypt), Tripoli (Libya), Tunis (Tunisia), Algiers (Algeria) and Marrakech (Morocco). This selection provides the opportunity to develop an understanding of the development of this building type from the 11th to the 19th century across a wide and continuous geographical area.
This research does not deal with archaeological sites but rather with historic hammāms that have survived into the 21st century and are still evident and used in the urban fabric of the selected five cities. The following research questions are addressed:
- How many hammāms were there originally in these cities according to historical records and how many can be located today?
- What is their importance and location within the urban fabric and what is their current state?
- What are the geographical and historical variations in their architectural and urban characteristics from Cairo in the East to Marrakech in the West and from the 11th to the 19th century, and how can these variations be explained?
- What local social practices, customs and traditions are associated with the hammām and how many of these are still practiced today?
- What are the current practices of conservation, rehabilitation and/or adaptive re-use of these structures that can be identified across North Africa?
- What future scenarios can be identified (in collaboration with local and international stakeholders) for the sustainable conservation and adaptive re-use of this important cultural heritage building?
The urban environment: Mirror and mediator of radicalisation
Principal investigator: Ralf Brand
Co-investigator: Jon Coaffee
Senior researcher: Sara Fregonese
Funding: £208,000, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, RES-181-25-0028
This research project is inspired by the assumption that radicalisation is not an a-spatial or a-material phenomenon. It takes place in streets, apartments, shops or parks and it is materially reflected in fences, buildings, territorial markers etc. But walls, bridges, buildings etc. also exert a gravitational pull on people's perception and behaviour, for example the decision which playground to prefer, where to hide in the event of trouble and the likeliness of meeting 'others'. In short, social conditions and urban environments shape each other.
It seems plausible that such processes are similar, but not identical, in cities with "earlier" and "new" patterns of radicalisation. A systematic assessment of this assumption would help a wide range of actors – who will be proactively involved in the research process – to create cities that facilitate amicable encounters between different groups, thereby tackling some of the many conditions of stereotypisation and radicalisation.
We therefore aim to map existing knowledge in various disciplines about these dynamics and we investigate the ground-level situation in four cities: Belfast and Beirut as examples of "earlier" patterns of contestation and Berlin and Amsterdam as examples of "new" patterns of radicalisation in the form of Neo-Nazi mobilisation and extremist tendencies among Muslim youths, respectively.
Beyond Nimbyism: a multidisciplinary investigation of public engagement with renewable energy technologies
Principal investigator: Patrick Devine-Wright
Co-investigators: Hannah Devine-Wright, Gordon Walker, Julie Barnett, Kate Burningham, Bob Evans, David Infield and Andrew Wheatley
Funding: Research Councils Energy Programme, and managed by the Economic and Social Research Council
The overarching conceptual aim of the project is to provide an integrated framework for understanding public engagement with diverse renewable energy technologies (RET) that encompasses technical and social science aspects; and to then use this framework to suggest how a constructive dialogue can be better facilitated between publics and other stakeholders about RET, in order to manage uncertainty in development and to inform the achievement of government targets.
Our work programme comprises five work packages (literature review, analysis of how publics are constructed by diverse stakeholders, construction of a provisional framework,
validating the framework in a series of case studies, and refining the framework) and involves a project advisory panel and practitioner workshops to ensure that perspectives from non-academic stakeholders are also reflected in the research programme.
Our interdisciplinary research team encompasses researchers in psychology, geography, sociology, and planning and engineering, and is a collaboration of five universities: The University of Manchester, Lancaster University, Loughborough University, Northumbria University, and University of Surrey.
Carbon Reduction in Buildings (CaRB)
Principal investigator: Simon Guy
Senior researcher: Tracey Crosbie
Researchers: Christopher Hewson and Dana Abi Ghanem
Funding: Carbon Trust and EPSRC through the Carbon Vision Initiative. Additional support from EPSRC (GR/S94377/01) and NERC
Duration: October 2004 - March 2009
Background: Reducing carbon emissions from buildings requires an understanding of both the technical and social dimensions of energy use. To this end, the CaRB socio-technical study is examining the social and cultural influences on energy use and is exploring opportunities for socio-technical interventions – interventions that look at how people use technologies in practice, how these practices are affected by the design of the technologies, and how they affect energy use.
This socio-technical study forms part of the EPSRC Carbon Reduction in Buildings (CaRB) programme, led by the University of Manchester. CaRB’s vision is to create an innovative, public domain, socio-technical model of energy use in buildings applicable at national, regional, city and community level.
Energy travel and sustainable buildings: A case study of Bruntwood City Tower
Principal investigator: Simon Guy
Researchers: Christopher Hewson, Dana Abi Ghanem and Tracey Crosie
Funding: EU FP7 Grant (Science in Society)
The City Tower project assessed how the sustainability of an existing commercial building can be increased. Using Bruntwood City Tower as a case study this project focused on operational energy efficiency and transport choices.
The City Tower is an EcoCities related project.
The project focused on two key facts:
- That office and retail buildings are the most energy intensive of all non-domestic buildings, and they represent a significant opportunity to reduce energy consumption within both the public and commercial realm
- That those who work within office and retail buildings must travel to work, and transport is a major source of ‘greenhouse’ (CO2) emissions, as well as a major factor in localised environmental disruptions such as congestion, noise pollution and poor air quality
This project recognised that a range of place specific solutions should be considered, with policy responses formed through an understanding of the tangible practices of energy consumption and work related travel, alongside the arrangements and decisions that organise these practices. In turn, this allows us to suggest that travel practices should assessed in tandem with other ‘energy consuming practices’ within commercial buildings.
Utilising a case study approach of organisations based within the City Tower, the research presented explores three ‘spheres of practice: the practice(s) of building design; the practice of ongoing building operation and maintenance; the everyday working (and travel) practices of those occupying the building in question. The City Tower project aimed to provide ‘sustainability focused’ recommendations in three key areas: building redevelopment and operation; energy consuming practices within City Tower; travel practices undertaken by the building's occupants.
The aims and objectives of the City Tower were to:
- provide an introduction to the practical and theoretical scope of the research
- consider the history of the City Tower, and how this has shaped the context within which our respondents operated
- provide an analysis of energy management and sustainable redevelopment with the City Tower
- assess energy and everyday working practices, particularly how energy consuming practices (ECPs) are comprised of specific configurations of behaviours, technologies and structures
- examine the travel choices and patterns evidenced at the City Tower, considering how sustainable travel policies might emerge as a result of both structural and behavioural policy actions
Integrating the Senses Inside Supermarkets (ISIS)
Principal investigator: Simon Guy
Researcher: Christopher Hewson
Funding: Tesco (Sustainable Consumption Institute)
Duration: 1 April 2009 - 30 November 2009
The project is part of the multi‐disciplinary Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester, under the theme ‘Planning a Greener Future for Retail’. It complements the recently completed Supermarket Adaptation to Future Environments (SAFE) project, which considered route maps towards the ‘greening’ of supermarkets, alongside their ability to both adapt to climate change, as well as positively impact upon the sustainability of their localities.
Mapping Controversies on Science for Politics (MACOSPOL)
Principal investigator: Albena Yaneva
Co-investigators: Simon Guy, Nick Dunn
Researcher: Liam Heaphy
Funding: EU FP7 Grant (Science in Society): Project number 217701
Email: Albena Yaneva
MACOSPOL is a joint enterprise of researchers in science, technology and society located throughout Europe aiming to bring together their various expertise to devise a collaborative tool (a platform) to map out science and technology controversies. The aim is to provide European citizens wishing to involve themselves in technological and scientific issues with tools similar to those devised for generating opinions in normal political matters.
The digital world facilitates exchange of methods and expertise and this is what we wish to take advantage of by bringing the MACOSPOL consortium together. This consortium will create a link between the best research in Science, Technology and Society and the most advanced research on web-based tools. Once the platform is operational, it will be tested on current pressing controversies to see if it can allow European citizens to come to better judgment about those issues.
The MACOSPOL consortium consists of a network of European universities and institutes: University of Manchester; Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, France; University of Oslo, Norway; Observa, Vicenza, Italy; University of Munich, Germany; Université de Liège, Belgium; École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sustainable Energy and Thermal Services (SETS)
Principal investigator: Simon Guy
Researchers: Christopher Hewson and Dana Abi Ghanem
Funding: Carbon Trust and EPSRC through the Carbon Vision Initiative
Duration: January 2009 to March 2009
As the UK property industry becomes increasingly attuned to the issue of ecological sustainability, the need arises to assess specific components of the eco-design / refurbishment process. SETS examines a key component of Bruntwood’s building service offering, Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC), focusing on the design, installation and maintenance of HVAC systems within two of Bruntwood’s managed office spaces – Portland Tower & No. 1 Portland Street. Alongside this investigation, SETS also examines a range of more general issues around the links between sustainability and commercial viability.
Criticality and the practice turn in architecture
Principal investigator: Isabelle Doucet
Funding: Scientific Research and Innovation of Brussels, Prospective Research for Brussels Grant (2004-2008)
Confronted with a recent practice turn in architectural theory this project analyses critical and ethical operations within architecture that, instead of deploying distance and abstraction, operate in situated, relational, and embodied manners. By investigating modes of critical engagement that operate through practice, I challenge the fatalistic association of the practice turn in architecture with a post-political and post-theoretical turn.
This project is therefore a conceptual and methodological exploration into critical operations from-within. By extension, it revisits the possibilities for architectural theory to re-claim and reinvigorate its critical program.
This ambitious undertaking is divided in several sub-projects. These include the study of the relationship between theory and practice through the notion of agency and transdisciplinarity. It also theorises the translation of relational and pragmatist perspectives into architectural theory and the consequent opportunities and threats for critical architecture.
Finally, I study the potential of critical action from-within through concrete critical operations, such as those in Brussels after 1968.
- Isabelle Doucet and Nel Janssens, eds., Transdisciplinary Knowledge Production in Architecture and Urbanism. Towards Hybrid Modes of Inquiry (Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer, Urban and Landscape Perspective Series, 2011).
- Isabelle Doucet and Kenny Cupers, eds. ‘Agency in Architecture: Reframing Criticality in Theory and Practice’, special issue, Footprint Journal, Issue 4, Spring 2009.
- Isabelle Doucet, ‘Making a city with words. Understanding Brussels through its urban heroes and villains’, City, Culture, and Society, volume 3, issue 2, 2012, pp. 105-116.
- Isabelle Doucet, ‘Learning from Brussels. An irreductive approach to architectural and urban problématiques?’, Belgeo, 2011, issue 1-2, pp. 29-39.
- Forthcoming book manuscript (2015) on the practice turn in architecture, using case studies from Brussels after 1968.
Rethinking the Urban Experience: The sensory production of place
Lead researcher: Simon Guy
Research partner: Mags Adams, University of Salford
Funding: Economic and Social Research Council
The study of ‘SenseScapes’ is a newly emerging interdisciplinary field focussing on sensorial studies of human interaction with physical environments. Challenging an ocular-centricism that arguably underpins much scholarship in the arts, humanities and social sciences, a new multi-sensory research agenda is being critically developed. The concept of ‘sensescapes’ incorporates the full range of sensory experience in the broadest range of disciplines as sensual experience is mediated through hearing, smell, touch, taste, as well as sight. Including the visual, the auditory, the olfactory, the gustatory and the haptic, the concept of sensescapes enables an interrogation of everyday life that incorporates the meeting of mind, body and environment.
The aims of this seminar series are, therefore, to open up spaces for interdisciplinary research and collaboration, to bring together a core group of researchers and to enable the identification of others working in this field, in order to share ideas, improve knowledge, develop theory, contribute to the development of policy and stimulate the development of a ‘sensory urbanism’ agenda in the UK. This seminar series will build upon this demonstrated momentum in the UK academic community, will enable us to develop and mature this burgeoning network and will give context and perspective to meetings.
Supergen Future Network Technologies
The Future Network Technologies Consortium (FutureNet), which ran from 2003 to 2007, brought together engineers and social scientists from eight UK Universities. The consortium focused on researching the development of an electrical power network that would support and encourage renewable energy sources without compromising quality of service. The EPRG part of the research was on two work packages:
- System Evolution: Policy instruments and incentives to advance and deploy low carbon technologies.
- Markets and Service: Market design and investment in generation technologies; implications of high levels of renewable penetration.
Harnessing Community Energies: Embedding sustainable energy technologies at the local level
This multidisciplinary project evaluated the role of community initiatives in the implementation and embedding of renewable energy technologies in the United Kingdom.