921 research outputs found

    Retrofitting suburbia: Is the compact city feasible?

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    This paper examines the role of retrofitting existing suburbs to deliver more sustainable lifestyles. The policy of intensification of existing urban and suburban areas, referred to as a 'compact city' strategy, has been promoted by the UK government and is linked to claims that higher density mixed-use areas promote more sustainable lifestyles. While the policy is normally considered at the 'strategic' level, it is at the local level that its effects are felt and realised. This research aimed to answer two questions: is it physically feasible to retrofit existing suburban areas? If so, do they deliver the claimed sustainability benefits? The research considered published recommendations for restructuring existing urban form. The project found that retrofitting the suburbs is feasible and viable at local level and, in some situations, can enable more sustainable lifestyles, in particular improved accessibility, social inclusion, and physical and mental health benefits

    The nature of society: Enmapping nature, space and society into a town-green hybrid

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    The paper describes the transformation of derelict land into a ‘town-green’ and the role legislation played in transforming social and natural relationships. Town-green denotes a legal status under the Great Britain Commons Act (2006) that protects certain open spaces from building development; the status requires that a space must simultaneously have a specific social quality (i.e. ‘town-ness’) and a specific natural quality (i.e. ‘green-ness’). This hybrid condition requires an alliance between society and nature in a certain configuration (referred to here as nature2 and society2). In this empirical study it involved the participation and consensus of local residents, volunteer gardeners as well as nature itself; flowers needed to bloom and grass had to grow in order for the hybrid town-green status to be conferred. There are two distinct phases of this transformation; the first is the change in identities and configuration of the constituents of town and green. This involved the production of a modified ‘real’ world with: different plants and flowers; reconfigured spatial arrangements; as well as different social actors. The second phase is a shift from changes in the ‘real’ world towards an ‘enmap’ – a displacement of myriad actors into documentation. This transfer from a complex messy reality into an enmap permitted the legitimation of the new network to be accepted as a ‘town-green’. What the research reveals, other than hints for gardeners and community activists, is how material and non-material; social and natural; spatial, discursive and temporal worlds are hybridised

    Playful learning

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    This paper explores the use of playful learning as an approach to teaching and learning. The research used the playful aspects of the 'dérive' (an approach to understanding an environment developed by the Situationists group) as a vehicle to examine this approach. Learning through play is well documented for children and although less researched for adults there are clear pedagogic aims: play is seen an important process that can aid learning in a variety of ways. This paper explores the potential of playful learning, using semi-structured questionnaires and a focus group in a School of Planning and Architecture. The research presents findings that playful learning can be effective in motivating and improving student engagement, promoting creative thinking towards learning and developing approaches towards multi-disciplinary learning. There was also evidence that a playful approach towards learning and knowledge can facilitate ontological change within students. The research recommends that this approach can be relevant and helpful to students in creative and collaborative working environments

    Save the Children: Black Liberation in the Age of the Modern Oligarchy

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    Two principles that are fundamental to the West is self-determination and democracy. Self-determination meaning one\u27s control over the path of their destiny and democracy being, the enforcement of egalitarian ideals. The two would seem to guarantee the livelihood of all their citizens to sustain their well-being beyond the means of having just enough to survive. The recent deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland question the legitimacy of these principles because of the apparent lack of regard for their Black bodies. These injustices have spurred serious debates in the public sphere, but reverberate so loudly because this represents the exclusion Black lives have faced for centuries domestically and internationally. The goal of my paper is to examine the Black Freedom Struggle as a whole, to show why Black Lives Matter as a social movement is needed after the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Party, and how likely it is to succeed

    The production of informal space: A case study of an urban community garden in England

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    This research explores the production of informal spaces in England. Informal spaces are those used by people who do not own the land. The research focused on how such a space is produced, through a variety of processes and activities. The use and function of informal spaces is rarely prescribed by governmental agencies and is often determined on an ad hoc basis by its users. These users are sometimes consensual and symbiotic, however there is often conflict and dissidence amongst users. The sub-text to these myriad inter-relationships is the production (and re-production) of power. Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is employed to address the research question ‘how is informal space produced’ using an empirical case study. A multi-method approach using: interviews, observations and documentary materials/mediated data yielded a thick description of multiple actors in the research site and augmented the ANT methodology. The research contributes to knowledge in three principal areas: empirical, theoretical and methodological. The empirical contribution relates to the specific case-study area that has previously not been studied. The theoretical contribution to knowledge concerns the combination of ANT ‘translation’ framework enmeshed with the fine-grained accounts and intricate ethnographic type work generated from the fieldwork, particularly to such a ‘spatial’ field of study. Thirdly, the adoption of a hybrid methodological approach drawn from a range of transdisciplinary practices contextualised within ANT contributes to new methodological knowledge

    Updating the determinants of health model in the information age

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    In 1991, Dahlgren and Whitehead produced a highly influential model of the determinants of health that has since been used by numerous national and international public health organizations globally. The purpose of the model is to enable interventions that improve health to be addressed at four key policy levels. It is not a model of health or disease; instead the model is structured around health policy decision-making. However the model needs an update, since it was devised there has been a digital revolution that has transformed every aspect of: human life, our cities, society and the fundamental principles upon which the global economy operates. The article examines the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on the determinants of health. ICT has given rise to a new Information Age that is implicated in many of the major global health issues today. Addressing contemporary health issues requires intervention at the level of ICT, particularly as health communication online is central to the delivery and dissemination of public health policies

    Indicators of healthy architecture: A systematic literature review

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    The design of the built environment plays an important role as a determinant of health. As a society, we are spending an increasing proportion of our time indoors and now spend over 80% of our life inside, so the design of buildings can greatly impact on human health. Accordingly, architecture health indices (AHIs) are used to evidence the effects on human health associated with the design of buildings. AHIs provide quantitative and empirical data upon which architects, clients, users and other stakeholders might monitor and evaluate the healthiness (or otherwise) of architectural design. A systematic literature review was conducted to reveal the current state of knowledge, reveal gaps, explore potential usage and highlight best practice in this area. Whilst there are a number of different health indicators for the built/urban environments more generally, the scope of this review is limited to the scale of a building and specifically those aspects within the remit of a professional architect. In order to examine the range and characteristics of AHIs currently in use, this review explored three electronic bibliographic databases from January 2008 to January 2019. A two-stage selection was undertaken and screening against eligibility criteria checklist carried out. From 15 included studies, 127 documents were identified, and these included 101 AHI. A sample of the most commonly used AHIs was then analysed at an item level. The review reveals that most AHIs are limited to measuring communicable diseases that directly affect physical health through e.g. air quality or water quality. There are very few indicators focusing on factors affecting mental and social health; given the increase in mental and social health problems, greater focus on AHIs related to these health issues should be included. Furthermore, the research reveals an absence of AHIs that address non-communicable diseases (NCDs). As the majority of all poor health outcomes globally are now related to NCDs, and many are associated with the design of the built environment, there is an urgent need to address this situatio

    A CONVERSATION WITH CONDOLEEZZA RICE

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    http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1742058X1100010

    Making Demands on Government: Theorizing Determinants of Backyard Residents’ Collective Action in Cape Town, South Africa

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    Informality is growing with Africa’s rapid urbanization. Much like residents of other types of informal housing, backyard dwellers face overall poor living conditions and political marginalization. However, backyard residents are in an ambiguous legal area and have been far less politically active and organized to pursue their rights to adequate housing. Using a qualitative case study of backyard residents in three Cape Town neighborhoods, Harris, Scheba, and Rice bridge theories of infrastructural citizenship and collective action to shed light on how informality may undermine collective action, and they identify four factors influencing collective action

    Healthy BIM: The feasibility of integrating architecture health indicators using a building information model (BIM) computer system

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    Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced billions of people into lockdown; foregrounding the important relationship between architecture and health. In this context, there is heightened urgency for the construction sector to improve the healthiness of buildings. Accordingly, the research identifies the feasibility of measuring various building health indicators (BHIs) through the use of a building information management (BIM) model. The research seeks to find optimal strategies for integrating the near ubiquitous use of BIM with a range of health indicators related to building design. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic literature review was undertaken to identify potential BHIs for use in BIM models. The research then undertook a Delphi technique in order to test the hypothesis. In total, three rounds of questionnaire-based surveys were undertaken with expert participants. Findings: The research identifies three different levels of BIM complexity in order to achieve the integration of health indicators. The most simple strategy suggests BHI can be directly measured using existing BIM models; the next level of sophistication requires “plug-in” software to BIM models; the final level would require additional sensors and detectors in a “smart” building. Practical implications: The research is significant for users of BIM, building designers, public health advisors, construction professionals, healthcare providers, social prescribers, architects and clients. Originality/value: The integration of BHI into the architectural design process is an important step towards the construction sector improving health and well-being. The research provides for the first time a rigorous identification of the most viable mechanisms through which BIM may be used to measure the healthiness of a building
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