I am very pleased to announce the formation of the Manchester Urban Institute in early 2017. MUI will extend the agenda of cities@manchester over the last six years and provide a platform of collaboration among the Centre for Urban Resilience and Energy, the Centre for Urban Policy Studies, the Cities, Politics and Economies Group, the Global Urban Research Centre, and the Manchester Architecture Research Centre. Prof Kevin Ward will serve as the inaugural director of MUI.
Kevin Ward, Cecilia Wong, and I co-hosted the third Summer Institute in Urban Studies from 27 to 30 June on behalf of cities@manchester. We were very fortunate to have 23 incredibly dynamic and talented early career academics from around the world for an engaging four days of presentations, discussion, workshops and conversation. A big thank you to our guest academics, Tim Bunnell (National University of Singapore), Stephanie Pincetl (UCLA), Andy Jonas (University of Hull) and Fran Tonkiss (LSE), as well as our University of Manchester colleagues who participated in the activities.
I am pleased to announce the publication of a new compendium, The Experimental City (Routledge 2016) that I co-edited with James Evans (University of Manchester) and Rob Raven (Utrecht University). The book provides new insights on what it means to experiment in and on cities with contributions from colleagues in the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, India, and the US. The book is available from the Routledge website here.
On 29 May, I participated in a workshop on Real-World Laboratories (Reallabor) at the Stuttgart Technology University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule für Technik) where I delivered a presentation on ‘Five Challenges of Real World Labs’. The event provided an opportunity for seven real-world labs in Baden-Württemberg to share their experiences and insights on designing, developing, and operating their innovative projects. I also co-hosted a workshop with Michael Stauffacher from ETH Zurich on scientific evidence and knowledge dissemination on real-world labs. Thanks to Niko Schaepke for organising!
I delivered a guest lecture to colleagues in Cosmopolis and MOBI at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel titled ‘From the Sustainable to the Smart City: Complementary or Contradictory Urban Visions?’. We had a very productive discussion about the opportunities and challenges of integrating notions of smart cities and sustainable cities.
I am pleased to report that my PhD student, Ahlam Sharif, successfully passed her PhD viva on ‘Sustainable Architectural Design between Inscription and De-scription: The Case of Masdar City’. Her work on the development and inhabitation of Masdar City’s student housing provides novel insights on how architects, developers, and building users interact in the production of sustainable cities. Congratulations to Ahlam!
While attending a RESIN project meeting in Freiburg, my colleagues and I got a guided tour of the noted sustainable urban district of Vauban. The designers have created a very liveable, vibrant, and dense neighbourhood by moving automobiles to the periphery and providing a wide range of services. The area attracts some 25,000 visitors per year from around the world who are interested in understanding how sustainability principles have been realised on the ground.Definitely worth a visit!