Research Horizons is the University of Cambridge’s research magazine.

Foreword for Issue 30 from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research:

Welcome to the 30th issue of Research Horizons, in which we focus on the future of cities, a topic of increasing interest across the University.

Today, over half the world’s population lives in urban areas; in 30 years, it will likely be three quarters. That’s why thinking about the future of our cities really matters.

Of course, each city faces its own unique future of pressures and opportunities. But there are common issues. The past few years have seen an increasing focus by policymakers, academia and business on what can be done not just to mitigate challenges but also to make cities thrive and work well.

Our health and wellbeing, the economy and the environment, social cohesion and security, the longevity of our infrastructure: all are facets of the future of cities that require proactive and innovative solutions. These are the areas we have focused on in this issue.

Finding ways of maximising urban sustainability holds particular resonance for early-career researcher Patrick O’Hare. In his Extreme Sleepover article, he describes the work of families who recycle valuable materials discarded in Uruguay’s largest landfill. With predictions that the total volume of global waste generated will double in 10 years, thinking about waste as a recoverable resource is becoming an increasing priority.

Other articles in this issue describe a new method that is increasing the number of transplantable organs, how the American home is depicted in film, the experiences of EU migrants working in the UK, the ‘shape’ of language sounds and the search for rare earth elements from the air. All this and a project that follows the moves of a cuckoo named ‘Disco Tony’. A reflection of our diversity in research!

Professor Chris Abell

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research