University of Hertfordshire Urbanism Unit

The University of Hertfordshire Urbanism Unit (UHUU) was established in late 2018 under the directorship of Dr. Susan Parham. UHUU is the university’s home for planning and urbanism research and is located in the School of Life and Medical Sciences (LMS). It is the ‘sister’ unit to the recently established Smart Mobility Research Unit (SMRU) run by Dr. Scott Copsey.

In purpose, structure and research focus, UHUU builds on existing strengths and track record in planning and urbanism teaching, research and partnership working. Research is currently underway into food and urbanism, garden cities, and sustainable materials decision making in the built environment.  The Unit is running research through the University of Hertfordshire-Tarmac Sustainable Living Partnership, building on a previous three year programme of research on sustainability in masterplanned communities, reported on in People, Products and Places. Through the Sustainable Living Partnership, Dr Parham is currently leading research on sustainability decision making in the construction industry supply chain, including an online survey.

Other research currently underway reflects Dr Parham’s long-term research activity on food and place and is being undertaken as part of a multi-partner international research consortium, the Edible Cities Network (‘EdiCitNet’). The Network is exploring Integrating Edible City Solutions for social resilient and sustainably productive cities. Working with Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, the Urbanism Unit is contributing to applied research on developing ‘Edible City Solutions’ in Letchworth Garden City over the next five years. This food-focused research ties in closely with applied doctoral study by Ms Amélie André, our Herts Science Partnership Research Scholar who is co-funded by LGCHF.

As well as research, UHUU is the location for our UH Planning School which was granted Royal Town Planning Institute accreditation on 17 July 2019. The research unit is also actively developing a planning apprenticeship route at UH. Mr Stephen McKenna, our Senior Lecturer (Degree Apprenticeships) works closely with Dr Parham within the Urbanism Unit.

Externally, UHUU is undertaking partnership working with organisations such as Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation through the International Garden Cities Institute in Letchworth. This is governed by a Memorandum of Agreement which has recently been renewed. Visiting Research Fellows include Dr Stéphane Sadoux who is director of ENSAG’s Centre for Research in Building Cultures (Laboratoire Cultures Constructives) at Grenoble Alpes University in France. This underpins the Unit’s strong international partnership with the university through work with staff and students led by Dr Sadoux. The Unit also works with key academic partners in the United Kingdom including The Prince’s Foundation who contribute to both teaching and research and with whom we are developing a new joint Master’s Programme in Urbanism. We also have valuable partnerships with external practitioner stakeholders including Gascoyne Cecil focusing on stakeholder engagement teaching and placemaking research.

UHUU is in the process of establishing an oversight Board and will also host a number of UH research associates from Geography, Architecture, Environmental Management, Engineering and Business to be announced.

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