The cities of today are built with concrete and steel – but some Cambridge researchers think that the cities of the future need to go back to nature if they are to support an ever-expanding population, while keeping carbon emissions under control.
The Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction is building on advances in sensing technology to learn everything possible about a city’s infrastructure – its tunnels, roads, bridges, sewers and power supplies – in order to maintain it and optimise its use for the future.
From wind turbines and solar photovoltaics to grey water recycling and electric vehicles, technology is making it ever easier for us to be green – yet many of us are not. Now, Cambridge researchers are discovering that our personalities and communities have a major impact on our environmental decisions, opening up new ways to ‘nudge’ us into saving energy and carbon.
A smart material that switches back and forth between transparent and opaque could be installed in buildings or automobiles, potentially reducing energy bills by avoiding the need for costly air conditioning.
Why is Milton Keynes one of the most successful cities in the UK, and Dundee one of the least? What gives Leeds its economic edge over Liverpool? How did London survive the 1990s recession, going from boom to bust and boom again? Researchers are asking these questions and many more in the largest ever analysis of what makes cities thrive.
Flash floods, burst riverbanks, overflowing drains, contaminants leaching into waterways: some of the disruptive, damaging and hazardous consequences of having too much rain. But can cities be designed and adapted to live more flexibly with water – to treat it as friend rather than foe?
As they struggled to maintain their grip on India as the jewel in the colonial crown, the British attempted to mould the character of India’s princes. Research by Teresa Segura-Garcia into the remarkable story of Sayaji Rao III, Maharaja of Baroda, reveals the thinking behind his education and its practical implications. She presents her work in a talk tomorrow (1 June 2016).
It’s black and white, silent and just short of ten minutes in length. But D.W. Griffith’s 1909 classic The Lonely Villa inspired Dr John David Rhodes, Director of Cambridge’s new Centre for Film and Screen, to look at the role and meaning of the house in American cinema.