Previous Events

Recent events

All these talks will be made available as audio downloads

DATESPEAKER / EVENT
Monday 16 March "Regeneration management and the credit crunch: framing a new research agenda"  Research seminar and staff workshop by Professor John Diamond (Edge Hill University) and Professor Joyce Liddle (Nottingham Business School)
Monday 15 December "A comparative study of valuers' behaviour in the UK and Nigeria" by Abdul-Rasheed Amidu (SDRU)
Monday 8 December "Climate change: why the scepticism?" by Dr Jason Jordan (Coventry University)
Monday 10 November "Privatisation, planning and the development of Australian airports" by Professor Rob Freestone (University of New South Wales, Australia)
September "Research on Japanese castle towns" an informal discussion with Dr Kenjiro Matsuura (Mie University, Japan)
Monday 16 June "Performative ontologies and project management: a view from human geography" by Dr Dan Sage (Loughborough University)
 Tuesday 3rd June

Unique Adequacy and Research Methods ” By Dr John Rooke , Salford University
John has written a challenging paper on the Unique Adequacy requirement of methods (UA) where it is proposed as a means of evaluating research in construction management. UA addresses the problems stemming from the significance of conscious action in constituting human organization. These may be summarized as: first, that objectivity is a problematic concept in such studies; second, that the determination of meaning is their primary goal; and third, that formal procedures, whether as methods of research or explanation, have significant limitations. The UA requirement has two forms: the weak form demands that the researcher is competent in the research setting; the strong form, that research reports use only concepts originating within the research setting. The consequences of applying these criteria are explored with reference to recent research reports in construction management, including: a questionnaire survey of cultural difference; an exercise in grounded theorizing; a case study of the implementation of a quality management initiative. It is concluded that the UA requirement is a viable tool for evaluating and guiding research. Emphasis is placed on the importance of maintaining a principled distinction between empirical research and theory building. 

 
Wednesday 9th April

 "So how much stuff do you think you can carry?"  Mobile technologies and studying urban form  Dr Phil Jones, University of Birmingham

The paper presents preliminary findings from an ESRC-funded research project which is developing research techniques for undertaking walking interviews in order to access people’s understandings of space. Walked interviews have previously been used in a rather uncritical way, fulfilling an object-prompt role in qualitative interviewing, without a rigorous analysis of the effectiveness of this technique. For this project, GPS tracks of walked interviews are being combined with audio recordings and transcripts to give precise spatial context for comments made and stories told by participants.

The case study area, Eastside in Birmingham, is about to be the subject of a major regeneration programme. It is a run down quarter just on the edge of the city centre with mixed light industry and creative businesses. The relatively small residential population has meant that the agents of regeneration have been able to claim that there is no community in this area, opening it up for wholesale changes. The rescue geography project seeks to validate and record local understandings of place before the spaces that this community animates are lost to regeneration.

Wednesday 23rd April

 “The Renewables Obligation- a critique” Professor David Elliott, Open University


Dr David Elliott is Professor of Technology Policy in the Faculty of Technology at the Open University and Co-Director of the OU Energy and Environment Research Unit. He trained initially as a nuclear physicist and worked for the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Harwell and the Central Electricity Generating Board in Bristol. At the Open University he has been looking at energy policy issues and in particular at renewable energy policy. He is co-ordinator of the Network for Alternative Technology and Technology Assessment (NATTA) and editor of its journal, RENEW. His most recent books are 'Nuclear or Not?' and 'Sustainable Energy', both from Palgrave.

Wednesday 9th April

 "So how much stuff do you think you can carry?" Mobile technologies and studying urban form


Dr Phil Jones, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, University of Birmingham


The paper presents preliminary findings from an ESRC-funded research project which is developing research techniques for undertaking walking interviews in order to access people’s understandings of space. Walked interviews have previously been used in a rather uncritical way, fulfilling an object-prompt role in qualitative interviewing, without a rigorous analysis of the effectiveness of this technique. For this project, GPS tracks of walked interviews are being combined with audio recordings and transcripts to give precise spatial context for comments made and stories told by participants.


The case study area, Eastside in Birmingham, is about to be the subject of a major regeneration programme. It is a run down quarter just on the edge of the city centre with mixed light industry and creative businesses. The relatively small residential population has meant that the agents of regeneration have been able to claim that there is no community in this area, opening it up for wholesale changes. The rescue geography project seeks to validate and record local understandings of place before the spaces that this community animates are lost to regeneration.

Monday 10th March 2008

“Building Integrated Renewable Energy Solutions”

By Dr Derek Taylor, Altechnica Consulting and Open University

Dr Derek Taylor is Principal of Altechnica - an independent multidisciplinary architectural and energy innovation practice specialising in the fields of renewable energy technologies and zero energy and Energy Positive (E Plus) building concepts.  He has worked on innovative horizontal and vertical axis wind turbines and has invented and patented a number of innovative wind energy devices including the Aeolian Roof which permits  the roof of a building to extract the energy from wind blowing over its surface and to augment the wind flow in order to minimise the size of the device used to extract the kinetic energy from the wind. He has consulted to a number of local authorities on their strategy for developing their use of renewable energy.

 
 Monday 18 February 2008

Is complexity a new framework for public policy?

Research seminar by Professor Robert Geyer (Lancaster University),

Robert Geyer is Professor of Politics, Complexity and Policy and Co-Director of the joint Lancaster University-University of Liverpool Centre for Complexity Research. His research work has explored the difficulties and contradictions that are embedded in policy, particularly within the context of Europeanization; this has driven him to be an advocate of complexity approaches to problematic worlds. He has used this in his recent books entitled Riding the Diabetes Rollercoaster: A Patient and Carers Guide, Radcliffe, 2007, and, Complexity, Science and Society, Radcliffe, 2007. This seminar will present developing ideas for his forthcoming book on public policy. It will also provide an opportunity for further development of the SDRU's exploration of boundaries between policy and delivery.

 
Thursday 17 January

 Construction, governments and change

Sir Michael Latham, Visiting Professor

This presentation will review 15 years of government intervention in construction in which Sir Michael was a key leader of change. This will include reflecting on the outcomes of his 1994 report ‘Constructing the Team' both politically and within the industry, over the following 10 years including the writing of the Construction Act of 1996. The presentation will then consider Sir Michael's chairing of the 2004 review of the Construction Act revealing an insight into government and industry thinking about change and about what will and will not happen and why.

Wednesday 9 January

Effective practice in spatial planning

Janice Morphet. 

Janice was a member of the Modernising Local Government team and e-government adviser at the ODPM.  She has just completed an RTPI research project on effective practice in spatial planning, leading a team from UCL and Deliottes.

 Monday 10 December 2007

 Planning Olympic cities

Professor John Gold, Oxford Brookes University

John has just published Olympic cities: city agendas, planning, and the world's games, 1896-2012 (Routledge: edited with Margaret Gold).  The seminar reviewed issues such as the contentious decision-making process of awarding games, and issues of legacy planning.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

Flood damage repair

Professor David Proverbs, University of Wolverhampton 

Monday 5 November 2007

The way forward: future directions for SDRU

Open discussion with all SDRU members.

Monday 15 October 2007

A morphological basis for urban landscape management

Professor J.W.R. Whitehand

Professorial Lecture by one of SDRU's Visiting Professors. 

Monday 8 October 2007

 Putting transport in its place: some paradoxes in transport policy

Professor Alan Wenban-Smith

Professorial Lecture by one of SDRU's Visiting Professors.

 Monday 2 July 2007

The challenges of multicultural urban landscapes

Dr Noha Nasser, Strategic Development Research Unit and School of Architecture, UCE Birmingham

Noha's research is focussed at the boundary between community creation, building design and urban planning. This has both an historic urban morphology character including the development of ghettoes as well as an action research dimension as she works with housing associations and communities on the creation of sustainable space. Her work on multi-culturalism with a particular emphasis on Islamic world is renowned and has formed the basis of several symposia that she has run. She is a regional council member of the arts council and an executive member of the Urban Land Institute.

 Thursday 21 June 2007

Integrating multi-stakeholder teams in major projects

'Next Steps Forum' symposium held at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Birmingham, chaired by Professor Sir Michael Latham 

This meeting drew together a broad range of stakeholders involved in different types of major projects such as city-centre projects, railway and airport developments.

Wednesday 20 June 2007

 'A taste of a new frontier': on the emergence of food as a planning and design intervention

Dr Joe Nasr, associate of the Centre for Studies in Food Security, Ryerson University, Toronto, and Visiting Fellow of SDRU, and Dr June Komisar, Assistant Professor of Architectural Science, Ryerson University, Toronto

Until recently, the disciplines of architecture and planning have not given much thought to the roles they can offer to food production, distribution and related issues, despite the enormity of the food sector's role in cities.  At the same time, the emerging alternative food movement has barely engaged with the possible contributions that planning and design professions and processes can provide.  Yet the physical and spatial aspects of urban food production, distribution, provision and marketing are where food issues interface with urban planning and design.  Despite constraints that range from zoning restrictions to construction codes, opportunities exist for a creative cooperation between planning and design professionals and those who focus on urban agricultural and food systems.

The built environment and food policy intersect at the point where planners, architects, landscape architects and other professionals of the built environment incorporate farmers' markets, greenhouses, edible landscapes, permeable paving, green roofs, and community gardens into planning and design programs. Such examples of the connections between food issues and built form have the potential to transform not only the components of the food system, but also basic assumptions about the nature of programming required in the plans for urbanized areas and the designs for buildings such as schools, housing, and other places where food production or consumption occurs.  The increasing emphasis on sustainable planning and architecture incorporates innovative energy approaches, green roofs, living walls, and other elements that are compatible with policies for more sustainable food and agriculture systems. 

Recently, some planners and designers (including many students) have begun to embrace food as a new area where they can intervene as professionals.  This presentation will sketch out the North American experience in this domain.  On the planning side, the process that has led to the recent adoption of food systems by professional bodies will be outlined, culminating in the new Policy Guide of the American Planning Association.  On the architecture side, the more recent discovery of food by architects will be drawn out, focusing on the recent explorations by Ryerson architecture students who have tackled agricultural and food issues as design challenges, in projects ranging from first-year community investigations, through student-run design competitions, up to complex final-year thesis projects.

Monday 4th June 2007

Sustainable Architectures

Professor Simon Guy, Professor of Architectural Studies / Head of Architecture.University of Manchester

Simon's research aims to critically understanding the co-evolution of design and development strategies and socio-economic processes shaping cities. This approach has involved: the development and application of an innovative socio-technical approach to researching architecture, urban development, technological innovation and urban change; analysis and integration of previously disconnected research fields - architecture and urban planning, the property sector and utilities industry, and the stimulation of a collaborative, inter-disciplinary methodological approach. His current work on sustainable architectures (in the plural) has identified a diverse range of interpretations of the environmental challenge, imagined futures and suggested pathways to sustainability.

Wednesday 30th May 2007

A theory of integration in strategic development planning and urban design

Professor David Chapman, Strategic Development Research Unit, UCE Birmingham

David's research starts from the perspective of planning practice.  This has allowed him to challenge and transform other colleagues' more abstract studies, into applied work on spatial planning and integration at the trans-national scale which has been funded under the EU Interreg programme.  He has also studied and assisted with the introduction of planning institutions to small island states, which has been supported by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.

Monday 14th May 2007

‘The Private Delivery of Public Service’

Dr David Bentley, Mouchel Parkman

Dr David Bentley is a practitioner with a passion for innovative academic thinking. His PhD used complexity theory to explain the operation of construction projects and he has used this awareness for creating effective change in practice. David has spent most of his career in construction contracting before moving to be Business Improvement Director in the Highways Division of Mouchel Parkman. (Mouchel Parkman provides professional support services for central and local government in: highways, rail, housing, education and buildings.)

Wednesday 25th April 2007

‘Stakeholder Dialogue: Understanding the changing relationship between the mineral industry and environmental organisations’

Rachel Curzon; Strategic Development Research Unit

Rachel is currently completing her PhD.  Her work explores the real environmental conflicts that are exposed by our needs for minerals and the way that the system manages the interaction between stakeholders in seeking to deal with former mineral extraction sites.

19th March 2007

'The Governance Narrative: Theory and Practice'

Professor Chris Painter, Strategic Development Research Unit and School of Social Sciences, UCE Birmingham

Wednesday 7th March 2007

The Problems of Engaging Public Sector Delivery in Efficiency

Peter Wooliscroft - Director: Construction & FM Efficiency Unit, Office of Government Commerce

Peter Wooliscroft has been a Facilities Director of an NHS Trust and managed the development and implementation of Procure21 for NHS Estates. He is currently driving an efficiency agenda for construction and facilities for the Office of Government and Commerce. He is also chair of the Construction Clients Group and a well known direct speaking and entertaining presenter. The Office of Government and Commerce is part of the treasury and is actively involved in creating the 2008-2012 Government spending review.

Monday 19th February 2007, 16.00

“The Use of the Concept of Social Capital in Development”

Professor Alan Middleton, Strategic Development Research Unit and Corporate Development Centre, UCE Birmingham

Wednesday 28th February

Spaces In-between; experience, utilization and concept.

Monica Sand; School of Architecture, Royal Stockholm Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Monday 5th February 2007, 12.15

"The Realities of Energy Conservation"

Professor Tadj Oreszczyn, Centre for Environment and Energy Research UCL London

Tadj Oreszczyn is Professor of Energy and Environment and Director of Environmental Design and Engineering Studies at the Bartlett, UCL. From 1992-99 Tadj was Director of the Energy Design Advice Scheme (EDAS) Regional office based at the Bartlett. EDAS was a department of Trade and Industry and DETR funded initiative, which provided free energy advice to building professionals during the design and refurbishment of buildings. The scheme advised on over 1,200 building projects and identified more than £17 million per year in energy savings. Current research interests include energy efficiency, indoor air quality, light and lighting, building related health problems and internal environment within historic buildings.

Wednesday 10th January 2007

Naming Places: people, society and space”

Professor Richard Webber, Visiting Professor, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL London

In 1985, Richard joined CCN (which subsequently became Experian in 1997), where he developed the system known as MOSAIC (UK’s first neighbourhood classification based on data sources for multiple geographic levels) and build up a team of 200 persons under his directorship of Experian’s Micromarketing Division. Today, there are few large consumer-oriented organizations that do not use neighbourhood classifications such as ACORN or MOSAIC as a key element in their processes for retail planning, for target marketing, and for customer management. During recent years the classifications have also increasingly been used by government departments and agencies both for research purpose and for the targetting of resources.

Monday 22nd January 2007

“Questioning Planning History”

Professor Peter Larkham, Strategic Development Research Unit

Peter presented a commentary on the nature of historical inquiry in the broad field of planning history.  Peter is currently an elected Council Member of the International Planning History Society and former editor of its journal Planning History; he is also Associate Editor of the refereed journal Planning Perspectives.

11th December 2006

Propositional knowledge

Dr Mark Addis, School of English

Mark Addis is a Reader in Philosophy and Cultural Theory in the School of English at UCE Birmingham. Philosophical theories about the nature of knowledge, its justification, and transmission inform aspects of practice in construction and planning. The models of knowledge employed predominantly focus upon propositional knowledge and its relationship to action. The limitations of this knowledge are explored and the implications for practice considered.

29th November 2006

Intervention Research

Professor David Seymour, Visiting Professor, Strategic Development Research Unit

13th November 2006

The significance of boundaries for strategic development

Professor David Boyd, Strategic Development Research Unit