Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Can urban design encourage sustainable lifestyles?

07 April 2011

Katie williams WEBProfessor Katie Williams

A leading urban theorist has asked if city planning can affect people’s sustainable behaviour in a lecture at the University.

Professor Katie Williams, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments (SPE) at the University of the West of England, presented evidence from her research about the link between urban design and sustainable lifestyles.

Titled ‘Encouraging Sustainable Lifestyles Through Urban Design: A Golden Opportunity or Just Wishful Thinking?’ Professor Williams’ talk covered such factors as encouraging wildlife, saving energy and water, social behaviours, use of public open space and the relationship between quality and social cohesion.

Hosted by the School of City and Regional Planning’s Innovation and Engagement Unit, the public lecture attracted more than 80 guests. They included the Chief Environmental Health Adviser and Chief Planner at the Welsh Assembly Government, the Sustainable Development Co-ordinator from Cardiff Council and the Royal Town Planning Institute Wales’ Director.

Mr Mike Biddulph, Senior Lecturer in Urban Design at the School of City and Regional Planning, who chaired the event, said: "This lecture drew together a wide range of interests from academics and students, to planning and housing professionals, and policy makers from the Welsh Assembly Government. We were reminded of how important our research is in helping us understand environmental issues, and how relevant and useful the findings are for the work that many people are doing within the wider community."

Professor Williams is currently undertaking EPSRC-funded research on adapting UK suburbs for climate change. She has presented lectures in the USA, Thailand, Peru, and The Netherlands, authored over 100 academic papers and reports, and edited 3 books on sustainable urbanism.

The School of City and Regional Planning host a number of public lectures via their Innovation and Engagement Unit. To view forthcoming events in the series, please visit their events pages: .

Owing to high levels of interest, a new online booking system is available to all those wishing to attend.

Related links