Research Pathways

Harnessing the Power of Spatial Data

RESEARCH PATHWAY: personal reflections on a career in research

Polly Hudson (Alan Turing Institute) explains how her curiosity about planning knowledge and local community engagement led to new ways to capture and represent 2D, 3D and 4D spatial data about building stocks and urban form. New challenges arise for creating dynamic urban models and platforms: promoting public participation and understanding, use as a planning tool, combining diverse data sources, and simulating the behaviour of building stocks over time.

Thermal Comfort and Fabric

RESEARCH PATHWAY: personal reflections on a career in research

Robyn Pender (about to retire from Historic England) reflects on a career spanning physics to building conservation, and along the way rediscovers a forgotten approach to thermal comfort: the use of wall hangings. These are effective strategies for today but also raise important questions about how we measure and think about thermal comfort.

A Longitudinal Approach to Research

RESEARCH PATHWAY: personal reflections on a career in research

Thomas Lützkendorf (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) considers his research focus on environmental performance assessment: life cycle analysis of buildings – a significant topic in the climate emergency. Maintaining focus, depth, long-term commitment and continuity in research are vital ingredients. In addition, an accompanying responsibility is to translate scientific findings into accessible advice, guidance and practices for end-users.

Creating Adaptive Thermal Comfort

RESEARCH PATHWAY: personal reflections on a career in research

Rev Michael A. Humphreys (Emeritus: Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford) explains how a new approach to thermal comfort – adaptive comfort – was formulated in the 1970s and met with initial disbelief. It took perseverance and signficant investment of time outside of work to assemble and analyse sufficient data which then persuaded relevant line managers. The journey of how adaptive comfort became mainstream over the next 20+ years includes the creation of a network of like-minded researchers and their influence on national and international standards.

Expanding Boundaries & Negotiating Transitions

RESEARCH PATHWAY: personal reflections on a career in research

Raymond J. Cole (University of British Columbia) offers a candid reflection on his 50-plus-year career from earlier technically framed research on 'green' building and building environmental performance to more expansive later research that positioned buildings within larger socio-ecological systems. Lessons and insights are offered regarding the relationship between research and practice and the potential benefits gained from building bridges across disciplines.

Greening China’s Built Environment

RESEARCH LEGACY: personal reflections on a career in research

Kaixun Sha (Shandong Jianzhu University) reflects on a research career to 'green' the built environment in China.  Key  insights explain why sustainability in China depends upon much more than technology: the institutional environment and willingness, international knowledge exchange and cooperation, making practical trade-offs, and harnessing professionalism to ensure appropriate governance and outcomes.

50 Years a Cartoonist

50 Years a Cartoonist

RESEARCH LEGACY: personal reflections on a career in research

Louis Hellman - cartoonist, satirist and architect - reflects on a long career chronicling the architecture profession and its foibles. His research into the occupants' perspective, architectural practice and the drivers that influence the built environment resulted in a powerful, insightful critique of the built environment and a moral compass to the architectural profession.

Building as Pedagogy: Oberlin's Adam Joseph Lewis Center

RESEARCH LEGACY: personal reflections on a career in research

David Orr (Oberlin College) explains how a radical building project to 'design with nature' had profound impacts on education as well as inspiring students, designers and the wider communityThe Adam Joseph Lewis Center is a milestone building. With ingenuity and effort, it provided a positive message that we can design neighborhoods, communities, cities, and nations to enhance the biosphere. It continues to provide many lessons for designers and students.

The Application of Research: Reconciling Simplicity and Rigour

RESEARCH LEGACY: personal reflections on a career in research

Edward Yan Yung Ng (Chinese University of Hong Kong) draws 5 conceptual and strategic lessons from his research career spanning building design, urban daylighting, urban ventilation and urban climate. Sound advice is offered to early career researchers. Amongst chief insights are the understanding of both theory and critical practice in order to frame a clear aspiration for research questions to pursue. Equally important is learning how to convey knowledge in language appropriate to end users (e.g. practitioners and policy makers).

Living within Planetary Limits: Linking Research, Practice and Teaching

RESEARCH LEGACY: personal reflections on a career in research

Robert Vale and Brenda Vale reflect on their pioneering work in ecological design and a career linking architectural practice, research, writing and teaching. Their exemplary approach to the creation of low energy and autonomous buildings opened new possibilities for architecture. However, the architectural profession has been slow to change. Personal reflections are offered as insights and advice to early career researchers.

Journey to a Socio-ecological Agenda

RESEARCH LEGACY: personal reflections on a career in research

Marina Fischer-Kowalski considers the key drivers in her interdisciplinary career linking social metabolism and material flow accounting that led to the creation of economy-wide energy and material flow analysis (MEFA). Research into broad, complex issues cannot be done alone. Insights and advice are offered on intensive multidisciplinary collaboration.

Biological Analogy and an Architectural Science

RESEARCH LEGACY: personal reflections on a career in research

Philip Steadman (University College London) considers how seminal theoretical perspectives from biology, maths and architecture helped to shape a revolutionary vision of an architectural morphology over a 55 year period. Personal reflections are offered as insights and advice to early career researchers.

Why Social Theory is Important for Energy Research and the Built Environment

RESEARCH LEGACY: personal reflections on a career in research

Sociologist Elizabeth Shove (Lancaster University) reflects on key drivers that have helped to shape a part of her intellectual career for understanding energy demand in the built environment: the invigorating force of social theory, intellectual curiousity and the importance of challenging what others take for granted.

Latest Peer-Reviewed Journal Content

Journal Content

Implications of urban expansion: land, planning and housing in Lagos
B Oyalowo

Technological fascination and reluctance: gendered practices in the smart home
L K Aagaard & L V Madsen

Attuning smart home scripts to household and energy care
D Chambers

Modern methods of construction: reflections on the current research agenda [editorial]
S D Green

Masculine roles and practices in homes with photovoltaic systems
M Mechlenborg & K Gram-Hanssen

Brokering Gender Empowerment in Energy Access in the Global South
A Schiffer, M Greene, R Khalid, C Foulds, C A Vidal, M Chatterjee, S Dhar-Bhattacharjee, N Edomah, O Sule, D Palit & A N Yesutanbul

Housing adaptability: new research, emerging practices and challenges [editorial]
S Pelsmakers & E Warwick

Living in an Active Home: household dynamics and unintended consequences
F Shirani, K O’Sullivan, K Henwood, R Hale & N Pidgeon

Institutionalisation of urban climate adaptation: three municipal experiences in Spain
M Olazabal & V Castán Broto

Energy housekeeping: intersections of gender, domestic labour and technologies
R Martin

Speculation beyond technology: building scenarios through storytelling
R M Dowsett, M S Green & C F Harty

Professional judgement: an institutional logic approach to contractor tender pricing
D Jefferies & L Schweber

Emerging technologies’ impacts on ‘man caves’ and their energy demand
Y Strengers, K Dahlgren & L Nicholls

The gender of smart charging
S Pink

Fire performance and regulatory considerations with modern methods of construction
B J Meacham

Who cares? How care practices uphold the decentralised energy order
K Lucas-Healey, H Ransan- Cooper, H Temby & A W Russell

Alternatives to air-conditioning: policies, design, technologies, behaviours [editorial]
B Ford, D Mumovic & R Rawal

Benchmarking energy performance: indicators and models for Dutch housing associations
H S van der Bent, H J Visscher, A Meijer & N Mouter

Emissions from a net-zero building in India: life cycle assessment
M Jain & R Rawal

Lack of adaptability in Brazilian social housing: impacts on residents
S B Villa, P B Vasconcellos, K C R de Bortoli & L B de Araujo

Participation in domestic energy retrofit programmes: key spatio- temporal drivers
E Mohareb, A Gillich & D Bristow

Embodied carbon of concrete in buildings, Part 2: are the messages accurate?
A Moncaster, T Malmqvist, T Forman, F Pomponi & J Anderson

An alternative approach to delivering safe, sustainable surgical theatre environments
C A Short, A W Woods, L Drumright, R Zia & N Mingotti

Adapting owner-occupied dwellings in the UK: lessons for the future
T Hipwood

Integrating low energy cooling & ventilation strategies in Indian residences
M J Cook, Y Shukla, R Rawal, C Angelopoulos, L Caruggi-De-Faria, D Loveday, E Spentzou, & J Patel

Balconies as adaptable spaces in apartment housing
T Peters & S Masoudinejad

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Latest Commentaries

Clothing: The First Layer of Personal Comfort

Alongside personal comfort systems (PCS) devices, clothing is another key site for (re)design in a body-centred personal comfort paradigm. Janine Morley (Lancaster University) explains how clothing and PCS could transform how thermal comfort is achieved whilst delivering energy savings and, potentially, increased satisfaction.

Can Personal Carbon Allowances Help Cities Reach Their Climate Targets?

Many cities throughout the world have set carbon and / or energy targets including renewable energy production and emissions reduction goals. Despite the commitment to take action, cities do not directly control the majority of the uses of energy or consumption-related sources of carbon emissions within their boundaries. Could a focus on household energy use, personal travel and consumption of material goods help to achieve this transition at city level? Tina Fawcett (University of Oxford), Kerry Constabile (University of Oxford) and Yael Parag (Reichman University) consider whether and how cities could harness personal carbon allowances in a practical manner.