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Retrofitting Cities for Tomorrow's World

Malcolm Eames (Editor), Tim Dixon (Editor), Miriam Hunt (Editor), Simon Lannon (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-119-00723-4
312 pages
September 2017, Wiley-Blackwell
Retrofitting Cities for Tomorrow


A groundbreaking exploration of the most promising new ideas for creating the sustainable cities of tomorrow 

The culmination of a four-year collaborative research project undertaken by leading UK universities, in partnership with city authorities, prominent architecture firms, and major international consultants, Retrofitting Cities for Tomorrow's World explores the theoretical and practical aspects of the transition towards sustainability in the built environment that will occur in the years ahead. The emphasis throughout is on emerging systems innovations and bold new ways of imagining and re-imagining urban retrofitting, set within the context of ‘futures-based’ thinking.

The concept of urban retrofitting has gained prominence within both the research and policy arenas in recent years. While cities are often viewed as a source of environmental stress and resource depletion they are also hubs of learning and innovation offering enormous potential for scaling up technological responses. But city-level action will require a major shift in thinking and a scaling up of positive responses to climate change and the associated threats of environmental and social degradation. Clearly the time has come for a more coordinated, planned, and strategic approach that will allow cities to transition to a sustainable future. This book summarizes many of the best new ideas currently in play on how to achieve those goals.

  • Reviews the most promising ideas for how to approach planning and coordinating a more sustainable urban future by 2050 through retrofitting existing structures
  • Explores how cities need to govern for urban retrofit and how future urban transitions and pathways can be managed, modeled and navigated
  • Offers inter-disciplinary insights from international contributors from both the academic and professional spheres
  • Develops a rigorous conceptual framework for analyzing existing challenges and fostering innovative ways of addressing those challenges

Retrofitting Cities for Tomorrow's World is must-reading for academic researchers, including postgraduates insustainability, urban planning, environmental studies, economics, among other fields. It is also an important source of fresh ideas and inspiration for town planners, developers, policy advisors, and consultants working within the field of sustainability, energy, and the urban environment. 

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Table of Contents

List of Contributors xi

Biographies xv

Foreword xxi

Preface xxiii

Reviews xxv

1 Introduction 1
Tim Dixon, Malcolm Eames, Miriam Hunt and Simon Lannon

1.1 The Future (or ‘Tomorrow’s World’) of Cities 4

1.2 The Structure of the Book 7

1.2.1 Part One: Governance and Dynamics of Urban Retrofit 7

1.2.2 Part Two: Modelling Urban Transitions and Pathways 10

1.2.3 Part Three: Steering and Navigating Sustainable Urban Transitions 11

1.2.4 Part Four: Overview of Key Themes from the Book 14

References 14

Part I Governance and Dynamics of Urban Retrofit 17

2 Community Housing Retrofit in the UK and the Civics of Energy Consumption 19
Andrew Karvonen

2.1 Challenges to Systemic Housing Retrofit 20

2.2 Community and Low?]Carbon Futures 21

2.3 Community Housing Retrofit 22

2.3.1 Community as Local Governance Strategy 23

2.3.2 Community as Identity 23

2.3.3 Community as Learning Network 24

2.3.4 Community as Ethical Commitment 25

2.4 Community Housing Retrofit and the Civics of Low?]carbon Transitions 26

2.5 Conclusions 27

References 28

3 ‘City?]wide or City?]blind’? An Analysis of Retrofit Practices in the UK Commercial Property Sector 33
Tim Dixon

3.1 Introduction 34

3.2 UK Commercial Property: Nature and Characteristics of Commercial Property 36

3.3 What Conceptual Frameworks Can We Use to Understand Commercial Property Retrofitting? 37

3.4 Research Findings 40

3.4.1 ‘Who’? – The Main Stakeholders in the Commercial Property Retrofit Regime and the Nature of the Regime 40

3.4.2 ‘What’? – Retrofit Defined and the Key Technologies Being Used 41

3.4.3 ‘Why’? – The Key Drivers and Barriers 42

3.4.4 ‘How’? – Institutional Frameworks, Legislation and Monitoring/Standards 45

3.5 Conclusions and Discussion 46

Acknowledgements 48

References 48

4 Performance Gap in ‘Deep’ Retrofit of Housing: Issues at the Design and Construction Interface 53
Will Swan, Niloufar Bayat and Graeme Sheriff

4.1 Introduction 53

4.2 Defining the Performance Gap 55

4.3 Methodology – Expert Interviews 56

4.4 Findings 58

4.4.1 Theme 1 – Understanding and Skills 58

4.4.2 Theme 2 – Working Practices 60

4.4.3 Theme 3 – Hard to Treat 62

4.5 Conclusions 63

References 64

5 Transforming the Commercial Property Market in Australians Cities: Contemporary Practices and the Future Potential in Green Roof Retrofit 69
Sara J. Wilkinson, Paul van der Kallen, Allan Teale and Hera Antoniades

5.1 Introduction 69

5.2 Green Roofs Defined 70

5.3 Retrofit Issues in Commercial Stock in Australian Cities 72

5.4 Drivers for Green Roofs 73

5.5 Transformation of the Commercial Property Stock 75

5.6 Valuation Issues 76

5.7 Retrofitting Investment to Date 78

5.8 Taxation Considerations 79

5.9 Contemporary Practices 80

5.9.1 Green Roof Retrofit in Commercial Stock – Case Studies from Melbourne and Sydney 80

5.10 Future Potential in Green Roof Retrofit 85

5.11 Conclusions 86

Acknowledgements 87

References 87

Part II Modelling Urban Transitions and Pathways 91

6 Modelling Residential Retrofit: Insights on the Effect of Regional Characteristics for the Cardiff City Region 93
Malcolm Eames, Simon Lannon, Miriam Hunt and Aliki Georgakaki

6.1 Introduction 93

6.2 Context 94

6.2.1 Role of Local Government 94

6.2.2 Cardiff Domestic Stock: History and Legacy 95

6.3 Methodology 96

6.4 Results 101

6.4.1 Wall Insulation 104

6.4.2 Loft Insulation 104

6.4.3 Glazing 105

6.5 Conclusions 106

Acknowledgements 106

References 106

7 Weatherproofing Urban Social Housing for a Changing Climate Through Retrofitting: A Holistic Approach 109
Anna Mavrogianni, Jonathon Taylor, Michael Davies and John Kolm?]Murray

7.1 Scope 109

7.2 The UK Housing Retrofit Challenge and Potential Unintended Consequences 110

7.3 Challenges and Opportunities for Social Housing Retrofit 110

7.4 The Building Envelope as a Climate Modifier 111

7.5 The Role of Seasonal Health Policy 112

7.6 South Islington: A Case Study 113

7.6.1 Climate Risk Awareness and Behaviour 113

7.6.2 Indoor Summer Thermal Comfort and Environmental Quality 114

7.7 Conclusions 120

Acknowledgements 120

References 121

8 What is Hindering Adaptation to Climate Change in English Suburbs, and What Would Help Facilitate Action? 125
Ian Smith, Katie Williams and Rajat Gupta

8.1 Introduction 125

8.2 What is the Suburban Retrofitting Problem? 126

8.3 Hot in the Suburbs? 127

8.4 How Does the Current Literature Explain Why Retrofitting Might Happen? 130

8.5 Conclusions 136

References 137

9 The Value of Foresight and Scenarios in Engineering Liveable Future Cities 139
Chris Rogers

9.1 Introduction 139

9.2 Retrofitting the Underworld 141

9.3 The Foresight Future of Cities Project 142

9.4 Scenarios 146

9.5 Conclusions 149

Acknowledgements 149

References 150

Part III Steering and Navigating Sustainable Urban Transitions 153

10 Urban Sustainability Transition: Retrofitting the City 155
Derk Loorbach

10.1 Introduction 156

10.2 Transitions as the Analytical Starting Point for Addressing Urban Transitions 157

10.3 Sustainability Transitions in Urban Areas 159

10.4 A Transition in the Urban Built Environment? 162

10.5 Transition Project ‘Energiesprong’ 163

10.6 Transition Management and the Built Environment 165

10.7 Outlook: Transitioning the City? 168

References 169

11 Presenting Futures: London 2062 171
Sarah Bell

11.1 Introduction 171

11.2 UCL’s Grand Challenges 173

11.3 London 2062 173

11.3.1 Connections 175

11.3.2 Things 175

11.3.3 Power 176

11.3.4 Dreams 177

11.3.5 Imagining the Future City 177

11.4 Conclusions


References 179

12 Framing New Retrofit Models for Regenerating Australia’s Fast Growing Cities 183
Peter W. Newton

12.1 Introduction 183

12.2 Current State, Future Trajectories and Retrofitting Challenges for Australia’s Largest Cities 184

12.3 The Challenge of Regenerative Urban Transition 186

12.3.1 Scale of Built Environment Innovation 187

12.3.2 Urban Form and Fabric 187

12.3.3 Urban Development Arenas 187

12.4 Greyfield Infill Redevelopment 194

12.5 Towards a New Model for Residential Precinct Regeneration 196

12.5.1 Public Housing as a Catalyst for Neighbourhood Regeneration 197

12.5.2 Precinct Regeneration in Greyfields Private Property Market: Municipal Housing Strategies as a Catalyst for Neighbourhood Regeneration 198

12.6 Conclusion 201

Acknowledgements 202

References 203

13 City?]regional Futures in Context: Insights from the Retrofit 2050 Project 207
Carla De Laurentis, Malcolm Eames, Miriam Hunt and Tim Dixon

13.1 Introduction 207

13.2 City Futures as Guiding Visions 210

13.3 How Can We Use City Visions to Understand City Futures of Tomorrow? 212

13.4 Exploring Visions of Cities in Context: Cardiff 2050 217

13.5 Concluding

Remarks 222

References 223

14 National Policies for Local Urban Sustainability: A New Governance Approach? 227
Simon Joss and Robert Cowley

14.1 Introduction 227

14.2 Four National Sustainable City Programmes in Profile 229

14.2.1 Eco Cities (India) 229

14.2.2 EcoQuartier (France) 231

14.2.3 Eco?]Model City (Japan) 234

14.2.4 Future Cities (UK) 237

14.3 Comparative Observations 238

14.3.1 Shaping the Content of Local Agendas 239

14.3.2 Governance Innovation 240

14.3.3 Factors Co?]determining Policy Implementation Success/Failure 241

14.4 Conclusions 242

References 243

Part IV Overview of Key Themes from the Book 247

15 Conclusions and Reflections: Retrofitting Cities for Tomorrow’s World 249
Malcolm Eames, Tim Dixon, Miriam Hunt and Simon Lannon

15.1 Introduction 249

15.2 Critical Factors for Successful Urban Retrofit Transition 250

15.2.1 Emerging Themes from the Book 250

15.2.2 EPSRC Retrofit 2050: Main Findings 252

15.3 Summary: Foresight for a Tomorrow’s World of Cities 260

References 262

Index 267


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Author Information

Malcolm Eames, PhD until recently held a professorial chair in Low Carbon Research with the Low Carbon Research Institute at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, UK, and was the Principal Investigator for the EPSRC Retrofit 2050 project. 
Tim Dixon, PhD holds a professorial chair in Sustainable Futures in the Built Environment in the School of the Built Environment at the University of Reading and leads the Sustainability in the Built Environment (SustBE) network. 
Miriam Hunt is a PhD student at School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, UK.
Simon Lannon, PhD is a research fellow at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, UK. 

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“Cities are hotbeds of innovation, but their layouts, infrastructures and buildings are simultaneously prone to socio-technical lock-in. This book squarely confronts the challenges of overcoming urban obduracy while retaining the sense of place that makes each city unique. Retrofitting Cities for Tomorrow’s World brings together leading thinkers to explore the theoretical and practical understanding of the systems innovation required for a global shift to sustainability of the built environment by mid-century”.

Professor Steve Rayner,
James Martin Professor of Science & Civilization, Co-Director Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities

“Achieving a good quality of life depends in large part on ensuring a good future for our cities. The world’s cities comprise complex urban systems that are shaped by how we live, work and move. We strive to manage current pressures and challenges, but it is clear that we must recognize and understand how different drivers of change impact in the long term. This collection offers innovative ways to imagine the city through urban retrofitting. Written by some of the leading experts in their fields, the book makes a stirring contribution for us to think through and manage a more sustainable urban future”.

Professor Mark Tewdwr-Jones, Director, Newcastle City Futures, Newcastle University

“This publication represents one of the most comprehensive guides to date on the multi-faceted process of retrofitting the city.  Unlike some other studies it makes a herculean effort to examine how different systems and approaches within the city can become more fundamentally aligned to achieve the best possible results for a place, ranging from built environment and technical approaches to issues of governance, scale and culture.  Focused on 2050, the date when 70% of the planet will live in a city, this is a critical and ultimately practical manual for anyone seriously interested in improving the human-urban interface and ensuring that the cities that most of us will be consigned to into the future will remain not just habitable, but places where we can enjoy ever increasing quality of life.  As we head into an age of highly mobile knowledge and talent, this sense of local liveability will be a decisive economic factor for any city”.

Chris Murray, Director, Core Cities UK

“This book makes a significant contribution towards tackling the challenge of how to shape a better world. The authors show how we can both imagine and deliberately design our way towards that better future. Inclusive urban retrofit agendas, improved modelling and decision support tools, enhanced institutional capacity, planning and governance – all will be needed. The experience of the C40 cities provides compelling evidence that this is possible”.

Chris Jofeh, Global Buildings Retrofit Leader, Arup

“If we are to make cities resilient, sustainable and liveable in this and the next century, we have to work creatively with what we have, and think imaginatively about the future.  This book identifies the challenges, and illustrates innovative approaches to retrofitting in cities at all scales, from the house and the neighbourhood to the city level. It illustrates the imperative of ‘futures thinking’, of good leadership and governance, and is essential reading for all professionals and communities involved in planning, developing and rebuilding the urban fabric, form and systems”.

Professor Rachel Cooper OBE, Distinguished Professor: Design Management and Policy,Lancaster University

“This book offers a tantalising sample of recent academic research into the range of technical, legislative, organisational, economic and cultural challenges of retrofitting our existing cities so that they can play a vital part in reducing our impact on the planet whilst increasing their capacity to adapt to an uncertain future. In taking a genuinely holistic approach, the range of topics covered is extensive with discussion ranging from broad theoretical perspective to detailed individual case study examples”.

Professor Bill Gething, Professor of Architecture, University of West of England

“An impressive work that catalogues the complex challenges of city scale retrofit using informative case studies from around the world. The book provides useful analysis of the successes and failures of a range of retrofit initiatives, from technology specific projects, to holistic regionally focused visions. The lessons learned will give valuable food for thought for sustainability policy makers, financiers, practitioners and customers, helping ongoing efforts to bridge the “performance gap” between policy aspiration and implementation at scale”.

Gareth Harcombe, Energy and Sustainability Manager, Cardiff City Council

“Retrofit 2050 is very well timed as a publication highlighting critical issues and learnings from key research around the world – it is evidence based and explores pathways for the future of cities and their impacts.  Urban retrofit requires innovative approaches and futures-based thinking if we are to make cities sustainable while anticipating disruptions that technologies will bring and which will require social change, planning, design and policy innovations”.

Scientia Professor Deo Prasad AO, CEO: CRC for Low Carbon Living (Australian Innovation Hub for Sustainable Built Environments)

“A critical requirement in ensuring that the urban built environment continues to meet the needs of its occupants is effective and affordable refurbishment at a city scale.  This innovative and informative publication includes a portfolio of case studies that are brought to life with evidence-based opinion and data. Collectively these highlight the need for an integrated regulatory and economic landscape which will stimulate a collaborative approach to delivering successful and sustainable refurbishment for the future”.

Dr Deborah Pullen MBE, Group Research Director, Building Research Establishment (BRE)

"Climate change poses great challenges for cities; their future economy and liveability will depend on negotiating the transformation of existing urban infrastructure, to overcome locked-in dependencies on carbon-based energy and historical patterns of weather that no longer hold.  Understanding those challenges and how they can be overcome, is now a critical conversation in city governance worldwide. The most difficult part of those conversations is surely the transformation – the retrofit – of the existing built environment, because of the investment (in resources, time and knowledge) necessary to realign physical and technical infrastructure for new conditions outside their original design intent. It is also difficult because a city is a living social entity and its form is closely aligned to the interests, expectations and visions of its inhabitants (and the people and institutions in the regions beyond its boundary. It has become evident that the way forward has to begin with understanding the city as a physical-ecological-social-cultural system, with action requiring multidisciplinary collaboration and public engagement, and transformed visions of ‘the future city’.  This is an important book for its analysis of the issues and its critical reviews of various programs and models of transformation; overall it makes a strong case for embracing ‘retrofitting cities’ as a socially and economically urgent domain for innovation."

Professor Chris Ryan, Professor of Urban Eco-Innovation, Director, Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL), University of Melbourne

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