Portsmouth School of Architecture

Sustainable Urban and Architectural design, Low Carbon initiatives and Materials

This research cluster promotes research in sustainable futures and environmental performance across a variety of scales. Researchers in the group are interested in the study of the contemporary and future urban conditions, the thinking and processes behind the production of the city – in its multifaceted forms. The interrelationship of micro-climatic conditions on the built environment from the urban scale to specific architectural solutions is also a key focus area. The sub-areas within the clusters are: Urban Futures and Environmental Performance.

Urban Futures

Urban Futures research strand focuses on the emergent, cutting edge approaches to urban development and regeneration, both from a theoretical and empirical standpoint. New urban models capable of responding to the big contemporary challenges that cities face are explored comprehensively, with an exploration encompassing buildings, the public realm, urban ecology and communities. 

Most of the projects within this strand put particular emphasis on the resilience of cities and their capability of long-term adaptation, and new mechanisms of participation in design and planning. Past and on-going projects focus on:

  • Green wedges in urbanism
  • Urban morphology and heat-energy demand
  • Resilient cities – long-term strategies for urban development that can cope with a range of environmental and social uncertainties
  • Ecocities
  • Sustainable development of historic sites 
  • Coastal Cities - new urban visions based on long-term adaptation to rising sea levels 
  • Custom build and urban design – models of custom build merging co-design with a higher quality of the public realm 
  • The creation of healthy cities and sustainable communities through the integration of Green Infrastructure; walkable environments; and urban agriculture 
  • ‘Closed Loop Island City’ – holistic food production systems

Environmental Performance

Research work in this area currently concentrates on opportunities that engage in the potential generation of sustainable environments and a climatic sensitive approach to building design. A key aspect of the activities being undertaken focus on the adoption of a holistic approach that considers the impact of micro-climatic conditions on the built environment from the urban scale to specific architectural solutions.

So far research interests have concentrated on the environmental performance of the following project areas:

  • Sensation of visual and thermal comfort
  • Occupants’ health and well being in living, working and learning environments (Post Occupancy Evaluation)
  • Modelling the impact of green and blue infrastructure and it contribution to the reduction of the UHI effect 
  • The use of digital technology in understanding the visual identity of heritage contexts
  • Utilisation of computational models for the evaluation and generation of sustainable urban settlements and architectural language