The Sustainability Skills & Education (SusSEd) series is a collection of free, engaging lunchtime talks, designed to give you the knowledge and skills needed to bring about a more sustainable world. Delivered by academics from the University of Sheffield, these sessions will cover different aspects of a chosen sustainability theme.
This year, the theme is ‘Cities of the Future’ – We will be exploring a range of topics, from how spatial planning can enhance the wellbeing of urban dwellers, to how the carbon emissions and waste from construction can be reduced. Other areas touched upon will include the electrification of urban freight transportation, and urban climate governance for tackling climate injustice.
These talks are open to all staff and students at the University of Sheffield, and will be held online via Google Meet.
Attendance of these SusSEd sessions is a great opportunity for all students to enhance their CV. In particular, for Undergraduate students who commenced study prior to September 2021, attendance of three of these SusSEd sessions is eligible to be awarded HEAR accreditation. A register will be taken to keep track of attendance.
All talks are from 12pm – 1pm
Virginia Stovin – Sustainable Urban Drainage in the Cities of the Future
In this talk, Professor Virginia Stovin will be discussing the role of SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) in the cities of the future. Learn about how the benefits of vegetated SuDS extend beyond stormwater management for flood risk reductions. There will be a particular focus on vegetated SuDS such as green roofs and bioretention cells, and Sheffield’s Grey-to-Green scheme will be drawn upon as an excellent example of a cascade of bioretention cells.
Thursday 28 April – 12pm
Linda Westman – Cities in an era of climate crisis: Prospects for transformation and justice
Today, cities are home to over half of the world’s population. However, urban dwellers are not equally vulnerable to climate impacts, with the United Nations estimating that over 1 billion people live under precarious conditions in cities, without access to basic services and infrastructure such as safe housing or sanitation. This population, already living under conditions of insecurity and everyday risk, are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
In this talk, Dr Linda Westman will reflect on climate change as an agenda that is interconnected with equality and justice concerns in urban areas. Learn about urban climate governance, and the unequal vulnerability to the climate crisis amongst urban dwellers.
Wednesday 4th May – 12pm
Erica Ballantyne – Cleaning up the city: the logistics of using zero emission fleets
Transport is the largest single contributor to UK greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), with road transport accounting for a significant proportion of this.
In this talk, Dr Erica Ballantyne will explore the implications of reaching net zero emissions targets in the UK by converting city-wide municipal vehicle fleets to being electric. The pros and cons of urban focused air quality policies and the practicalities of implementing them in cities will be considered. This talk will discuss the usefulness of converting traditional diesel heavy goods vehicle fleets to electric to achieve decarbonisation goals, drawing upon the results from a recent project exploring the energy efficiency of electric refuse collection vehicles in Sheffield.
Tuesday 10th May – 12pm
Danielle Densley Tingley – What is Sheffield made of? And why does it matter?
Our buildings are the mines of the future. They’re full of useful resources, but we don’t know how much of what materials are where. If we did, we could more effectively implement a circular economy by better planning the retrofitting and end of life of buildings, so that materials are retained at the highest value possible.
This talk by Dr Danielle Densley Tingley will give an overview of the on-going research that is exploring the question ‘what is Sheffield made of?’, and will explain the importance of answering this question.
Wednesday 11th May – 12pm
Megan Blake – Surplus superpowers: The social value of surplus food in community settings
We often think about surplus food as waste, as the disregarded food that didn’t manage to get sold or for some reason did not make it to the supermarket at all. However, surplus food has other values that, when enfolded into community activity, go beyond nutrients, calories and financial savings or charity. In these contexts, surplus food can help diversify diets, empower people to eat and cook better food at home, connect communities, and re-establish local markets for healthier food by stimulating demand.
In this talk, Dr Megan Blake will discuss these capacities of surplus food, and consider the ways in which community-based redistribution of surplus food needs to be organised in order to support food security and food justice, to create more resilient local places.
Tuesday 17th May – 12pm
Nicola Dempsey – Place-keeping in practice: Examples from Sheffield’s green and open spaces
Place-keeping refers to the long-term management of our green and open spaces, to ensure they can be enjoyed by all users now and in the future. Focusing on the urban context, Dr Nicola Dempsey will explain how this involves exploring innovative approaches to designing and managing open spaces such as urban parks, while securing their long-term future by getting the right people, funding and policies in place.
In this talk, Nicola will present some examples of good and not-so-good place-keeping practices in Sheffield, with a view to better understanding the real life challenges of putting policies and strategies into practice.
Wednesday 18th May – 12pm