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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/S20529/01
Title: The Sustainable Urban Form Consortium
Principal Investigator: Jenks, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Gaston, Professor KJ Ferguson, Dr NS Frey, Dr H
Jones, Professor C Lomas, Professor K Bramley, Professor GR
Williams, Professor K Devine-Wright, Professor P Mardaljevic, Professor J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Energy Institute Environment Agency (Grouped) Groundwork
Landscape Institute Leicester City Council Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners
Sheffield Wildlife Trust Strathclyde Partnership Transport Tata Steel
The Princes Foundation URBED Manchester
Department: AAculty of Tech, Design and Environment
Organisation: Oxford Brookes University
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 06 October 2003 Ends: 05 October 2007 Value (£): 1,881,990
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Building Ops & Management Construction Ops & Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Environment
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
There has been a considerable amount of research that defines and characterises urban form, and which forms may most affect sustainability. It is a complex issue. The physical dimensions of urban form may include its size, shape, land uses, configuration and distribution of open space - a composite of a multitude of characteristics, including the transportation system and urban design features. However, its sustainability depends on more abstract issues - environmental, social and economic. The most recent research is now suggesting that, not one, but a number of urban forms may be sustainable. Yet, much of the debate about the sustainability of urban forms has focused on increasing the density of development, ensuring a mix of uses, containing urban 'sprawl' and achieving social and economic diversity and vitality - characterised as the concept of a 'compact city'. Thus in the UK, reinforced by the Urban White Paper, a dominant paradigm is being implemented in many towns and cities. It is for more compact, high-density and mixed use urban forms, and the belief is that they will be sustainable. However, many of the claims that have been made for such compact forms in terms of sustainability benefits are contested, and few have been rigorously researched. SUFC aims are to take this type of urban form as its starting point, and to test the claims made for it.In order to make progress, it is necessary to measure and characterise urban form so it can be related to environmental, social and economic sustainability, and to make comparisons between different urban forms. SUFC will concentrate on the physical design of urban form with respect to: physical configuration and layout, including links to the wider urban system; its land uses and functions; the typology and density of built form and presence of open space. The claims made that more compact, high-density and mixed-use urban forms will be environmentally sound, efficient for transport, socially beneficial and economically viable will then be tested.The core of the research is an integrated programme of research that will investigate 15 case studies across the UK, and will measure, analyse and classify their urban form, and through systematic analysis, test the relationship of these forms to sustainability. While the concentration of the core programme is on the sustainability impacts of urban forms, the six Plus projects provide in-depth data to support the core, and are also investigating the changes that are needed to achieve sustainability.The ultimate goal of this research programme is to advance theory on sustainable urban form through systematic evidence-based research, and to provide practical and useful outcomes from it.The Consortium is a multi centre proposal, and is organised and funded as follows:Heriot-Watt University (School of the Built Environment) - 290,000Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (De Montfort University) - 375,000Oxford Centre for Sustainable Development (Oxford Brookes University) - 390,000Sheffield University (Department of Animal and Plant Sciences) - 320,000Strathclyde University (Department of Civil Engineering) - 275,000SUFC Management (Oxford Centre for Sustainable Development, OBU) - 120,000
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Organisation Website: http://www.brookes.ac.uk