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Reference Number ES/Z502728/1
Title URBAN RETROFIT UK: Scaling up place-based adaptations to the built environment through planning and development systems
Status Funded
Energy Categories Energy Efficiency (Residential and commercial) 5%;
Not Energy Related 95%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Town and Country Planning) 70%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 90%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy 10%;
Principal Investigator Professor JT White

College of Social Sciences
University of Glasgow
Award Type Standard
Funding Source ESRC
Start Date 01 October 2024
End Date 30 November 2027
Duration 38 months
Total Grant Value £1,502,504
Industrial Sectors
Region Scotland
Programme Economic Performance & Environment - Strategic Programme
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor JT White , College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow (99.992%)
  Other Investigator Dr J Biggar , UNLISTED, Dalhousie University (0.001%)
Dr N Blair , School of the Built Environment, University of Ulster (0.001%)
Ms H Hickman , Computing Engineering and Maths Science, University of the West of England (0.001%)
Dr A Inch , Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield (0.001%)
Dr G D James , School of Social & Political Sciences, University of Glasgow (0.001%)
Dr P O'Brien , College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow (0.001%)
Dr S Payne , Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield (0.001%)
Dr R Potts , Cardiff School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff University (0.001%)
Web Site
Abstract It is widely recognised that low density development is unsustainable and generates significant Green House Gases (GHGs). Nevertheless, most UK development is built on greenfield land where public transportation is poor and services are scarce. If the UK is serious about 'net zero', then new ways of planning and developing are urgently required.'Urban retrofit' is defined as repairing existing places by adapting urban form to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, protect the environment and support sustainable lifestyles. Changes to the layout of neighbourhoods are starting to be delivered, including via infrastructure programmes such as separated bike lanes, planning policies that encourage high-densities, and community-based projects like urban greening.The problem is that implementation is slow, fragmented and increasingly controversial. Investment often flows to affluent places rather than communities in the greatest need of support, and the principal actors in the UK's planning and development systems face various delivery challenges. Planning authorities struggle with institutional inertia and time-limited funding meaning retrofitting is poorly coordinated. Property developers stick to tried and tested business models to reduce risk resulting in a preference for low density, mono-use greenfield development rather than mixed-use projects on brownfield land. Communities face capacity challenges and place adaptation is often contested. If the UK is to meet its net zero targets and achieve a just transition, then urban retrofitting must be prioritised, equitably directed and implemented more effectively.URBAN RETROFIT UK will be led by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence and coproduced with international, national and local planning, property and community partners, including in five UK core cities - Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow and Sheffield. Its aim is to examine the barriers to urban retrofitting, challenge the prevailing growth-logic of planning and development, and coproduce a conceptual framework plotting the critical points of intervention needed to scale up retrofitting through planning and development systems. The objectives are to:Conduct a global evidence review on urban retrofit informed by international partners and a study tour.Identify and investigate a series of urban retrofit cases in collaboration with local authority partners to understand what is working and pinpoint where implementation gaps could be closed.Work with partners to understand where the spatial inequalities of current urban retrofit practice lie and how the barriers to 'scaling up' effective and equitable practices could be addressed.Establish an international URBAN RETROFIT HUBS network between UK and Global North cities facing comparable place-adaptation challenges and initiate new two-way learning partnerships with Global South cities where the context for urban retrofit is different but opportunitiesexist to explore lesson-sharing. To maximise knowledge exchange across sectoral boundaries and between places, URBAN RETROFIT UK's findings will be shared throughout the project at jointly delivered events with UK partners and internationally via the URBAN RETROFIT HUBS network. New theoretical perspectives on the UK's planning and development systems and coproduced empirical evidence on urban retrofit will be shared through an international symposium and evidence review, a report, film and magazine articles, and academic outputs including articles and an edited book
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 05/06/24