An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Urban Redevelopment: Birmingham Eastside as a National and International Demonstrator

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Civil Engineering

Abstract

The aim of the Sustainable Eastside Project is to explore how sustainability is addressed in the regeneration decision-making process, and to assess the sustainability performance of completed development schemes in Birmingham Eastside against stated sustainability credentials and aspirations. The incorporation of sustainability into an urban regeneration program, such as Birmingham Eastside, appears best conceptualised as a complex decision-making process carried out by stakeholders who are embedded within the development process. The barriers to and enablers of sustainability (as identified in Phase I of this project) appear at various moments or locations within this complex. The timing and context of decisions are critical (examined in Phase II), and can cause path-dependency which then limits how sustainability features in final development plans. In Phases I & II, the research set in place a framework of cross-disciplinary knowledge and key partnerships; highlighted the importance of coherent integration of the three pillars of sustainability to enable the complexity of achieving urban sustainability to be sufficiently grappled with; gained access to key decision-making forums in Eastside; built strong links with key stakeholders in the area; and firmly integrated into the policy agenda for Eastside. In addition, researchers are working to establish a cross-cutting baseline dataset of developments in Eastside rigorously to measure change over time and the impact of particular decisions on the sustainability of the overall urban regeneration programme. In so doing the foundations for a zonal urban regeneration case study site are being established, augmented by the creation of a study facility, with library and hot desking, now available for researchers from SUE / IEP consortia, to study the application of research to practice. The emerging findings of Phase II have allowed researchers to develop a series of hypotheses about the timing of decisions for sustainability in a range of decision-making forums, and the extent to which path-dependency becomes problematic. In Phase III, a suite of innovative analytical tools will be employed to elucidate further the complexities and interactions of the key elements of the sustainability vision for Eastside. First, a Development Timeline Framework (DTF), a multi-disciplinary tool that makes explicit the path dependency of decisions toward achieving sustainability goals, and the conflicts and synergies between different sustainability objectives, will be used as the basis for further research. Second, a cross-cutting Sustainability Checklist (SC) applied to the DTF will allow each researcher to analyse the impact of timing and context of decisions for each sustainability element (e.g. biodiversity, public participation, space utilisation, local sourcing, and recycling). Third, an Industrial Ecology (IE) analysis will follow particular resources (e.g. water, aggregates) thus highlighting their interdependence, while a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) approach will enable assessment of the socio-cultural aspects of sustainability (not covered by the IE approach). This suite of tools underpins the delivery of the work package aims. This analysis will be undertaken on a case history site basis, using development sites within Eastside that are all currently 'live,' each site representing a different conceptualisation of sustainability. This provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the specific impact of early thinking about sustainability in the planning and design stages, and the impact of this timing and path-dependency on sustainability performance in the final built form.

Publications


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Christopher David Foss Rogers (Co-Author) (2006) A Sustainable Approach to Utility Infrastructure Provision for the UK
Christopher David Foss Rogers (Co-Author) (2006) Achieving Sustainable Underground Construction in Birmingham Eastside?
Christopher David Foss Rogers (Co-Author) (2008) Geotechnical Special Publication
Hunt D (2008) Application of sustainability indicators in decision-making processes for urban regeneration projects in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability
Hunt D (2009) Planning for sustainable utility infrastructure in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Urban Design and Planning
Porter L (2007) Planning the Cultural Quarter in Birmingham's Eastside in European Planning Studies
 
Description The aim of the Eastside Sustainability Research Project is to explore how sustainability is addressed in practice in the regeneration decision-making process, and to assess the sustainability performance of completed development schemes in Birmingham's Eastside against stated sustainability credentials and aspirations.



Key findings include:



1. What is 'sustainable' is determined locally: local conditions set local priorities.



2. The past and the present must be incorporated to achieve more sustainable regeneration.



3. Early involvement in the development process is central to advancing the sustainability agenda.



4. Individual design decision influence the ability to meet very different sustainability objectives.



5. Sequencing activities correctly in the development process keeps sustainability- related options open.



Four themed work packages have explored some more specific questions:



1. Lack of information and guidance within the decision-making process was highlighted as a significant barrier to achieving sustainable utility infrastructure.



2. There is a key 'window of opportunity' for ecological mitigation at the site scale. Mitigations must be specified early during the design stage. Seeking the inclusion of ecological design features after outline proposals have been prepared may be more difficult and/or expensive.



3. Policy makers need to develop an early understanding of an area's social and economic fabric, including the use of well designed public participation initiatives, if the regeneration process is to be sustainable in the widest sense.



4. Timing and sequencing of design decisions are critical to realise specific sustainable solutions and determine the resultant spatial form.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Environment,Transport,Other
URL http://www.esr.bham.ac.uk
 
Description Sustainable Regeneration: from Evidence-based Urban Futures to Implementation
Amount £3,191,418 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/F007426/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 05/2008 
End 04/2012
 
Description Advantage West Midlands 
Organisation Advantage West Midlands
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2006
 
Description BCSD (UK) 
Organisation UK Business Council for Sustained Development (BCSD)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2006
 
Description BRE 
Organisation Building Research Establishment (BRE)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Birmingham City Council 
Organisation Birmingham City Council
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Government Office West Midlands 
Organisation Government of the UK
Department Government Offices for the English Regions
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2006
 
Description ISIS 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Isis Innovation
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
Description MADE 
Organisation Intellect
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
Description MARTINEAU JOHNSON 
Organisation Martineau Johnson
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Ove Arup & Partners Ltd 
Organisation Arup Group
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Royal Institute of British Architects 
Organisation RIBA - Royal Institute of British Architects
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Learned Society 
Start Year 2006
 
Description South East England Regional Assembly 
Organisation South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2006
 
Description The Carbon Trust 
Organisation Carbon Trust
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
Start Year 2006
 
Description UK Water Industry Research Ltd 
Organisation UK Water Industry Research Ltd
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006
 
Description WILDLIFE TRUST FOR BIRMINGHAM 
Organisation Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2006
 
Description Chair of the Innovation and Research Expert Panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Participants in your research or patient groups
Results and Impact Professor Chris Rogers was invited in 2011 to be Chair of the Innovation and Research Expert Panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers. The Terms of Reference include shaping the research agenda in cognate disciplines and his experience of EPSRC's Sustainable Urban Environments programme, in particular, is germane to this activity. . Awarding Body - Institution of Civil Engineers, Name of Scheme - Innovation and Research Expert Panel
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Foresight Future Cities Scoping Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Scientific meeting (conference/symposium etc.)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Participants in your research or patient groups
Results and Impact Professors Chris Rogers and Brian Collins attended a Foresight Future Cities Scoping Workshop on 13th February 2013 at the BIS Conference Centre, London, representing Urban Futures and Liveable Cities programmes. Subsequently Professors Chris Rogers and Rachel Cooper were invited to join the Foresight Future Cities Lead Expert Group, which operates from June 2013 to May 2015. This provides the opportunity to deliver impact from the Sustainable Urban Environments research that they led (Birmingham Eastside, VivaCity 2020, SUE Research Dialogues and Urban Futures) and the current Liveable Cities programme grant.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Lecture: First Year Civil Engineering undergraduate students UoB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Joanne Leach delivered a one-hour lecture to the First Year Civil Engineering undergraduate students at the University of Birmingham entitled Sustainable Urban Development on 31st January 2013. She summarised the findings from Birmingham Eastside and Urban Futures. She set an exercise for the students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Lecture: Third Year Civil Engineering undergraduate students 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Professor Chris Rogers delivered a two-hour lecture to the Third Year Civil Engineering undergraduate students at the University of Birmingham entitled Sustainable Utility Infrastructure via Multi-Utility Tunnels on 19th March 2013. He summarised the findings from Birmingham Eastside, Urban Futures and Mapping the Underworld.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Lectures: Third Year Civil Engineering undergraduate students UoB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact First Years 21st March. Professor Chris Rogers and Joanne Leach delivered a two-hour lecture to the Third Year Civil Engineering undergraduate students at the University of Birmingham entitled Sustainable Utility Infrastructure via Multi-Utility Tunnels on 19th March 2013. He summarised the findings from Birmingham Eastside, Urban Futures.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013