Transforming sustainable urban development

25 April 2017

Green infrastructure context in 2002 (from abstracts of Web of Science indexed journals)
Green infrastructure context in 2002 from abstracts of Web of Science indexed journals

An interdisciplinary team of Cardiff academics is helping to develop knowledge and capacity for sustainable urban development using green infrastructure.

Dr Andrea Frank and Dr. Andrew Flynn from the School of Geography and Planning have worked with Professor Chris Tweed, Dr Wassim Jabi and Dr Gabriela Zapata-Lancaster from the Welsh School of Architecture over the past two years with colleagues from University of Florida and Universitas Indonesia on a project examining the potential of green infrastructure to contribute to transformative sustainable urban development. In parallel to undertaking research in these three locations, the project team also explored how education for green infrastructure could be developed.

Speaking about the project Dr Frank said: “The team met twice in Gainesville, three times in Jakarta and once in Cardiff – each time reviewing and comparing approaches to implementing green infrastructure and projects.  Two of the workshops in Jakarta included a total of 80 students, of which 37 were from Cardiff enrolled on the MSc Eco-Cities programme offered by the School of Geography and Planning.  Students from all three institutions working together to develop proposals comprising policy and design suggestions to enhance sustainability in selected areas of the Jakarta metro area.”

Dr Flynn said: “As part of the project, the Cardiff team reviewed how the term green infrastructure has been interpreted and diffused within different disciplines and professions. Based on a related Cardiff University Research Opportunity Placement (CUROP) project in 2016, a set of word clouds have been developed to visualize subtle shifts in the meaning of green infrastructure as used in research journal articles from 2002-2016.”

Dr. Frank has developed new field work protocols for the student projects in Jakarta where researchers need to work in data poor environments drawing on citizen science approaches. The project has led to research collaborations between Andrew Flynn and Andrea Frank, Prof. Terry Marsden and Dr Yi Gong from the Sustainable Places Research Institute in Cardiff University, and Indonesian based medical and built environment academics. Together they will pursue future work on relations between green infrastructure and health.

A recently signed institutional level MOU between Universitas Indonesia and Cardiff University endorses collaborative activities to continue. These include opportunities for students to spend a semester studying in the Faculty of Engineering (which encompasses Architecture and Planning) as well as short exchange visits for staff with financial support from the Indonesian Institution. The Welsh School of Architecture and the School of Geography and Planning will also seek to conduct joint studios in Indonesia in 2018.