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The University of Southampton

Sustainable cities public lecture Event

Sustainable cities
19 July 2017
The Institution of Engineering and Technology, London

For more information regarding this event, please email .

Event details

This exciting event, the first in our new environment public lecture series, took place on Wednesday 19 July 2017 in London and focused on Sustainable Cities.

The world’s population has tripled in the last 70 years. Most of the global population and capital goods are now concentrated in urban areas. Cities have become central to social development and economic prosperity. Globalisation, urbanisation and climate change are interacting in a way that is unprecedented, placing conflicting pressures on our natural environment and our urban service delivery systems. This presents an urgent challenge to politicians, planners, architects, scientists and engineers alike – how do we create resilient, sustainable cities?

A sustainable city may be defined as one designed with consideration of environmental impact, particularly in terms of minimizing required inputs of virgin raw materials, energy, water and food, and outputs of heat, air and water pollution and wastes for disposal. Whilst there is no completely agreed upon paradigm for what components should be included in a sustainable city, generally, developmental experts agree that it should meet the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

In this session, our experts will explore and discuss the challenges, trade-offs and innovative approaches we are using to make urban systems more environmentally sustainable. We will discuss how we can create an enduring way of life across the four domains of ecology, economics, politics and culture. We will discuss how cities may develop to allow people to feed and accommodate themselves, power themselves with renewable sources of energy, and provide efficient, mass transit systems. We will discuss how we may protect such cities against sea level rise, flooding, natural and man-made disasters, heatwaves and the spread of disease. And we will discuss how we can ensure that these gains are socially inclusive, resilient, and that they are achieved in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Keynote speakers

Professor William Powrie
William Powrie is Professor of Geotechnical Engineering and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton.  His main technical areas of expertise are in geotechnical aspects of transport infrastructure, and sustainable waste and resource management. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of his work in these areas in 2009.

William’s work on geotechnical aspects of transport infrastructure encompasses groundwater control, in-ground construction to reduce environmental impacts in urban and other sensitive areas, understanding and mitigating vegetation and climate change effects, and fundamental soil behaviour.

Jane Wernick CBE
Jane Wernick CBE FREng Hon FRIBA FIStructE FICE is a University of Southampton alumna and director of engineersHRW, incorporating Jane Wernick Associates.  With Arup from 1973-1998, she started and ran their Los Angeles office from 1986-88.  Her most notable Arup project was the Millennium Wheel.

In 1998 she founded Jane Wernick Associates.  Projects include the Young Vic Theatre; the treetop walkway at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; the Living Architecture Houses; and many institutional, cultural and public realm projects. In 2015 Jane stepped back from running the business to concentrate on engineering and broader industry issues.  Her practice was incorporated into engineersHRW, a firm with a similar ethos.

Jane has taught at many schools, including Southampton, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, the Mackintosh and the Architectural Association.  She won the 2013 CBI First Woman of the Built Environment Award.  She serves on the Design Review panels of Design Council CABE, Design South East, and Camden.  She was on the Council of the Architectural Association and is a member of the multidisciplinary think tank, the Edge.  She was a member of RIBA Building Futures steering panel, for which she edited, ‘Building Happiness – Architecture to Make You Smile’.

Richard Bonner
Richard is the UK Cities Director for Arcadis, focussing on the issues that cities face in addressing their challenges with sustainable urban development.  Areas of market focus include housing, mobility, city resiliency and asset productivity working with public and private sector clients and those in regulated industries, working with our global network of City Executives.  Richard has worked in the natural and built asset sector since graduating as a Civil Engineer, and has held a number of senior leadership positions with Arcadis in the UK.

Richard is a non-executive director of Business West / Bristol Chamber and Initiative, an advisor to the Property Sector Group of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and a Business Fellow at the University of the West of England.

Joining our Keynote Speakers for a Panel Discussion;

Professor Stephen Holgate , Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology and Honorary Consultant Physician within Medicine at the University of Southampton

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Watch the lecture

Interviews with key figures

Watch our interviews recorded after the event with key figures. Hear their views on the challenges in the field and what the future may hold.

Watch the playlist
Professor Ian Williams
Professor Ian Williams introducing the keynote speakers
Professor William Powrie
Professor William Powrie delivering his keynote
Professor Ian Williams
Professor Ian Williams introducing the panel discussion
Jane Wenrick
Jane Wernick CBE delivering her keynote
Richard Bonner
Richard Bonner answering a question from an audience member
Panel Members
Panel members during the Q&A
Professor William Powrie
Professor William Powrie responding to a question
Image of city

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