Resource implications of adaptation of infrastructure to global change

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Abstract

This fellowship will develop a new generation of analysis and decision making tools required for engineers to respond to the challenges of intensifying global change. Consumption of energy and other resources is widely acknowledged to be unsustainable at today's rates. The world is therefore faced with the challenge of designing and implementing the transition to a more sustainable situation, a state in which greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption (e.g. energy, water, materials) are drastically reduced and our society is well adapted to the impacts of climate change. Infrastructure systems such as water, energy, transportation and waste are the array of physical assets (and associated processes) responsible for moving the goods and services that ensure the safety, health and wealth of cities and their inhabitants. Thus, design and management of infrastructure has implications in terms of vulnerability and resource consumption (e.g. denser cities use less energy per capita on private transport, but can aggravate flooding and heat stress). However, effective management of infrastructure systems is challenging because they (a) vary in space, (b) are highly interconnected, (c) interact strongly with an ever-changing environment and population, and, (d) deteriorate with age. Nowhere is this more evident than cities, where over half the global population live and more than three quarters of global resources are consumed. As cities adapt in response to global pressures such as climate change, it is crucial to understand the implications of these adaptations in terms of resource requirements to avoid confounding parallel sustainability initiatives. Whilst the vulnerability of the built environment to climate impacts is to some extent understood, resource flows, such as energy, waste and water within cities are currently poorly-understood and are generally considered in terms of gross inputs and outputs to the urban area. The relationship between urban form, function and these resource flows has only been established from observational evidence e.g. relating population density directly to total transport energy demand. This provides insufficient evidence to appraise, plan and design specific adaptations as it does not account for crucial properties of the urban system such as land use, human activity, or the topology and attributes of the infrastructure systems that mediate this, and other, relationships (for example, land use and flood risk). To plan and design adaptations in urban areas requires a capacity to analyse the behaviour of whole cities over timescales of decades, to simulate and test the effectiveness of alternative management options and to monitor and modify the system performance. The capacity to adequately understand and model processes of change within the coupled technological, human and natural systems that comprise cities does not yet exist. This fellowship will address this priority area, through the development of a novel coupled systems simulation model of urban dynamics, climate impacts and resource flows within cities. This systems integrated assessment model will be used to analyse the relationship between the spatial configuration of cities and their infrastructure systems, resource consumption and vulnerability to climate change impacts. Working closely with key stakeholders in industry and local government I shall develop, demonstrate and apply decision analysis methods to show how long term planning strategies can be developed for re-engineering cities from their 'traditional' form into more sustainable configurations.In doing this, I shall provide the evidence to underpin more sustainable engineering and policy decisions and reduce the harmful impacts of unmitigated global change in urban areas.

Publications

10 25 50

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Bramald T (2015) Teaching sustainability to first year civil engineering students in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability

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Caparros-Midwood D (2017) Spatial Optimization of Future Urban Development with Regards to Climate Risk and Sustainability Objectives. in Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis

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Caparros-Midwood D (2015) Optimised spatial planning to meet long term urban sustainability objectives in Computers, Environment and Urban Systems

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Caparros-Midwood Daniel (2016) Spatially optimised sustainable urban development

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Charlton T (2018) Control Variate Approach for Efficient Stochastic Finite-Element Analysis of Geotechnical Problems in ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part A: Civil Engineering

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Creutzig F (2019) Upscaling urban data science for global climate solutions in Global Sustainability

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Dawson R (2013) Editorial in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability

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Dawson R (2015) Editorial in Infrastructure Asset Management

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Dawson R (2015) Editorial in Infrastructure Asset Management

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Dunn S (2013) Network theory for infrastructure systems modelling in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability

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Ford A (2015) Transport Accessibility Analysis Using GIS: Assessing Sustainable Transport in London in ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information

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Fu G (2016) A Spatial Network Model for Civil Infrastructure System Development An infrastructure network model in Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering

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Guerreiro S (2018) Future heat-waves, droughts and floods in 571 European cities in Environmental Research Letters

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Nimmo A (2011) Introduction in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Civil Engineering

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Villarroel Walker R (2014) The energy-water-food nexus: strategic analysis of technologies for transforming the urban metabolism. in Journal of environmental management

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Walsh C (2011) Assessment of climate change mitigation and adaptation in cities in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Urban Design and Planning

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Walsh C (2013) Collaborative platform to facilitate engineering decision-making in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability

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Walsh C (2016) Adaptation of water resource systems to an uncertain future in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences

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Wilby R (2011) Keeping nuclear and other coastal sites safe from climate change in Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Civil Engineering

 
Description Work has covered a broad range of themes related to the long term sustainability and resilience of cities and their infrastructure. I have developed or discovered:
1. An urban integrated assessment modelling framework for looking at, and managing, long term change and risks in cities. This has been applied to show that London can adapt practically to higher end climate projections - at least over the next 100 years.
2. Developed a network-theory approach to analysing cascading failure in urban infrastructure systems and used it to demonstrate that certain types of interdependencies can introduce instabilities into infrastructure sytems.
3. Developed an innovative approach to modelling coupled human-engineering systems and applied it to North Wales to evaluate alternative evacuation strategies.
4. Developed an approach to assessing the resource requirements of certain infrastructures to understand their wider environmental impact and therefore possible conflicts with other sustainability objectives. This has been validated against Hurricane Sandy in New York City.
5. Developed a spatial optimisation algorithm to explore and identify best options from the tradeoffs between climate risks, energy consumption and other sustainability objectives for new development in cities.
Exploitation Route This grant preceded the need for a pathways to impact statement so I can not refer specifically to objectives there.
Some of this work is already being taken forward by policy makers interested in city/infrastructure planning.
Work is underway to make the modelling tools more 'user friendly' so that other academics, several have already expressed an interest, can apply and further advance the approaches.
There is an interest from the civil engineering industry, but further 'translational' work is required to facilitate uptake of the methods in day to day practice. An impact acceleration award is developing an urban modelling 'educational game' (or serious game) called Simecopolis that will help communicate some of the research concepts to a wider audience.
Sectors Construction,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport,Other

URL http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ceser
 
Description The impact on my career of the fellowship has been enormous. The freedom afforded by a fellowship has enabled me to develop my own team, and extend my research activity and its reach internationally - far beyond my original expectations. My research has been used to inform the London Spatial Development Plan to be more 'climate sensitive' to enhance resilience to extreme events and consider climate risks in long term planning. My work on integrated assessment of cities has been picked up and are starting to be applied internationally in Durban, Shanghai and several European cities. Work on coastal infrastructure management won an insurance industry award, but has also been used by the UK's Committee on Climate Change. A new type of socio-technical modelling approach has been applied in North Wales to help inform the local evacuation strategy in the case of a coastal flood. The work has been heavily cited in the IPCC's 4th and 5th assessment reports which inform international climate policy. My research has been recognised internationally through appointment to the Future Earth Cities Theme Leadership Group and the Steering Group of the international Urban Climate Change Research Network
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Construction,Environment,Transport,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Richard Dawson appointed to UK Government's independent Committee on Climate Change
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact The committee provides independent advice to government. They oversee the 5 yearly climate change risk assessment, mandated by the 2008 Climate Change Act and assess the UK's progress in terms of adaptation to climate change impacts.
URL https://www.theccc.org.uk/about/asc-members/
 
Description ARCC Energy programme
Amount £445,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I035781/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2011 
End 01/2016
 
Description Arup Global Research Challenge: Delivering green infrastructure in cities through a new business model
Amount £35,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/N019180/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2016 
End 09/2017
 
Description CCRA Section Lead
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation Committee on Climate Change (CCC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description ESF COST
Amount € 500,000 (EUR)
Funding ID TU0902 
Organisation European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2009 
End 03/2014
 
Description FP7 ENV.2012.6.1-3
Amount € 520,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2012 
End 10/2016
 
Description LWEC Infrastructure Report Card
Amount £8,000 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description Microsoft Azure
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Microsoft Research 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start  
 
Description Microsoft Azure
Amount $40,000 (USD)
Organisation Microsoft Research 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 01/2014 
End 12/2014
 
Description NERC Public Policy Secondment to GLA
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2009 
End 10/2009
 
Description Next Generation Resilience
Amount £230,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I005943/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 03/2014
 
Description Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Award
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Academy of Engineering 
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Storm risk assessment of interdependent infrastructure networks
Amount £161,390 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/N012852/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2016
 
Description TWENTY 65: Tailored Water Solutions for Positive Impact
Amount £3,962,860 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N010124/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2015 
End 11/2020
 
Description UKCRIC - CORONA: City Observatory Research platfOrm for iNnovation and Analytics
Amount £1,011,544 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R013411/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 01/2020
 
Description Birmingham City Council workshop on 16th March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Attendance at the Birmingham City Council workshop on 16th March 2016 about the work currently underway to develop a new approach to solid waste management in Birmingham. To be briefed on progress to date regarding development of a new approach to waste management for Birmingham; and to contribute to its further development in a workshop. A varied group of people including consultants, council officers, council members, waste practitioners and community groups. An understanding of the state-of-play regarding the development of a new approach to waste management in Birmingham; contribution to the further development of the process. Email to Birmingham City Council with comments on the process, based on findings from iBUILD .
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016