Does the Paris Agreement on Climate Change signify a breakthrough in climate governance?

The four speakers at the King’s Climate event ‘Governing Climate after Paris’ on 24 February presented their perspectives on the outcome of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties in Paris, 2015. They touched upon different aspects of the negotiations but the 2 °C temperature limit articulated in Article 2 formed the underlying theme of discussion. The following areas of interest subsequently emerged: Continue reading

Come and Join Us!

We’re looking for someone with a passion for teaching and research that uses quantitative and computational methods to understand geographical systems. If that sounds like you, submit your application for the position of Lecturer in Spatial Analysis at King’s College London.

King’s Geocomputation really began life when Jon Reades joined the Department of Geography as Lecturer in Quantitative Human Geography and James Millington switched from his Leverhulme Fellowship to become Lecturer in Physical and Quantitative Geography. Together they kick-started the Geocomputation and Spatial Analysis (GSA) pathway through the undergraduate Geography degree, and soon after Naru Shiode joined as Reader in Geocomputation and Spatial Analysis. Now we’re looking to expand even further with the appointment of a Lecturer in Spatial Analysis.

The person we’re looking for will have expertise in spatial analysis and computational methods for understanding geographical systems. They will contribute to the delivery of the GSA pathway which emphasizes quantitative methods, spatial statistics, programming, simulation modelling, and behavioural ‘big data’. The pathway makes use of free and open source software where possible, and the successful candidate will also likely have expertise in tools like R and Python.

Alongside teaching, of course we’re also looking for someone who will contribute to the capacity of the Department of Geography to undertake world leading research, education and public engagement activities. The particular substantive area of research interest is open but should be broadly aligned with the research interests of existing members of the Department. Engagement with other departments and programmes, such as Informatics and Health, to deliver world-leading and boundary-pushing knowledge would also be welcomed.

You can find full details of the position and how to apply online. For an informal discussion of the post please contact Professor Nick Clifford or feel free to contact existing members of King’s Geocomputation.

And this isn’t the only opportunity to join King’s – there are currently multiple positions open across the Department of Geography that could potentially contribute to King’s Geocomputation activities. These positions are at Professor and Teaching Fellow levels.

All deadlines for applications are 30th March 2016, so get cracking!


“Mallification” in Africa – Reflections from January 2016 Visit

Undefined
urban_ark_mall_blog_image_by_FET

As a result, I spent much of my time flitting between hotels, restaurants and offices, and generally living a very modern life quite far removed from the dirt roads and shanty buildings I had initially envisaged work in Kenya and Malawi might be like (at one point in Nairobi, I even uttered the words “shall we get an Uber to our AirBnB?”!). Yet, there was a lot to be learned from experiencing life in modern, middle-class Eastern Africa. 

One thing that repeatedly was mentioned in the Urban ARK open science meetings, and something we experienced first-hand was the rapid growth of Western-style shopping malls, and what this might mean for risk. This was something that crossed my mind at several points on the trip: as I tucked into a “Marylane Chicken” in a shiny new shopping mall in Lilongwe, as we got stuck in traffic on a highway due to flooding in our shiny new 4×4 in Nairobi and as I sat in a shiny new hotel room on the 7th floor of a tower block and thought about what might happen if an earthquake occurred while I was there. 

Until now, I had thought of most of the risk of natural and technological hazards being concentrated in informal settlements – where the dangers such as building on river banks, access to water and sanitation, and illegal electricity connections are very visible. But, as the Urban ARK ARUP team illustrated from their research, there are large numbers of new developments across East African cities (be those malls, apartments, highways or other), and often the thinking of how these individual developments contribute to the urban fabric of a city is not always joined-up. For instance, for each new shopping mall or residential tower block built, there may not necessarily be a proportional increase in the capacity of the sewer systems or municipal waste collection, which might have knock-on implications for flooding in the immediate vicinity, and solid waste contamination at the city scale. With rates of urbanisation around the 3-4% mark across much of Africa, many towns and cities have the potential to approximately double in population over the next 25 years. So, thinking about this patchwork of new developments, established areas and informal settlements at the city scale, and how these might grow, change and interact is important for developing healthy, resilient cities in the coming decades.

Perhaps the most obvious candidates for thinking of cities as a patchwork of areas and systems is the urban planner. Yet, as Sue Parnell from UCT emphasised during the Urban ARK conference, a recent UN Habitat Report found that there are 0.97 accredited planners per 100,000 people in Africa, compared to 37.63 planners per 100,000 in the UK. In a worst case scenario, a planning office in an African city may be under-staffed, challenged by rapid rates of urbanisation, limited access to data and technology to inform and limited in capacity to regulate and enforce. Certainly not all planning offices in Africa are like this, and we as Urban ARK are particularly keen to celebrate and share stories of success, but I think it a useful starting point when thinking about developing tools and methodologies for addressing urban risk.

One way we are trying to approach this problem is by developing the concept of “urban textures” as a way to roughly delineate different areas of a city by their different types of built environment. From this point, we can then think about how each “urban texture” might receive hazards differently (e.g., a flood would have different impacts on a shopping mall compared to an informal settlement) and also how these textures might change over time and interact (e.g., an informal settlement neighbouring a shopping mall might experience a flood differently as opposed to an informal settlement that neighbours a forest). We are trying to do this in a way that capitalises on the growing body of free and open source datasets and software available, with the idea of developing a tool that could be generally applied across many towns and cities in Africa, and help various stakeholders to think about risk of single and multiple hazards across a city.

Certainly, there is a lot of work to be done over the next two years, but a great team of African and European scientists to work towards those goals with! 

Tags: 

Standfirst: 

This was my second trip to sub-Saharan Africa as part of the Urban ARK project, and quite a different experience to the first. This trip was mainly to attend the Urban ARK open science conference and meetings with various stakeholders.

Posted in Uncategorized

“Mallification” in Africa – Reflections from January 2016 Visit

Undefined
urban_ark_mall_blog_image_by_FET

As a result, I spent much of my time flitting between hotels, restaurants and offices, and generally living a very modern life quite far removed from the dirt roads and shanty buildings I had initially envisaged work in Kenya and Malawi might be like (at one point in Nairobi, I even uttered the words “shall we get an Uber to our AirBnB?”!). Yet, there was a lot to be learned from experiencing life in modern, middle-class Eastern Africa. 

One thing that repeatedly was mentioned in the Urban ARK open science meetings, and something we experienced first-hand was the rapid growth of Western-style shopping malls, and what this might mean for risk. This was something that crossed my mind at several points on the trip: as I tucked into a “Marylane Chicken” in a shiny new shopping mall in Lilongwe, as we got stuck in traffic on a highway due to flooding in our shiny new 4×4 in Nairobi and as I sat in a shiny new hotel room on the 7th floor of a tower block and thought about what might happen if an earthquake occurred while I was there. 

Until now, I had thought of most of the risk of natural and technological hazards being concentrated in informal settlements – where the dangers such as building on river banks, access to water and sanitation, and illegal electricity connections are very visible. But, as the Urban ARK ARUP team illustrated from their research, there are large numbers of new developments across East African cities (be those malls, apartments, highways or other), and often the thinking of how these individual developments contribute to the urban fabric of a city is not always joined-up. For instance, for each new shopping mall or residential tower block built, there may not necessarily be a proportional increase in the capacity of the sewer systems or municipal waste collection, which might have knock-on implications for flooding in the immediate vicinity, and solid waste contamination at the city scale. With rates of urbanisation around the 3-4% mark across much of Africa, many towns and cities have the potential to approximately double in population over the next 25 years. So, thinking about this patchwork of new developments, established areas and informal settlements at the city scale, and how these might grow, change and interact is important for developing healthy, resilient cities in the coming decades.

Perhaps the most obvious candidates for thinking of cities as a patchwork of areas and systems is the urban planner. Yet, as Sue Parnell from UCT emphasised during the Urban ARK conference, a recent UN Habitat Report found that there are 0.97 accredited planners per 100,000 people in Africa, compared to 37.63 planners per 100,000 in the UK. In a worst case scenario, a planning office in an African city may be under-staffed, challenged by rapid rates of urbanisation, limited access to data and technology to inform and limited in capacity to regulate and enforce. Certainly not all planning offices in Africa are like this, and we as Urban ARK are particularly keen to celebrate and share stories of success, but I think it a useful starting point when thinking about developing tools and methodologies for addressing urban risk.

One way we are trying to approach this problem is by developing the concept of “urban textures” as a way to roughly delineate different areas of a city by their different types of built environment. From this point, we can then think about how each “urban texture” might receive hazards differently (e.g., a flood would have different impacts on a shopping mall compared to an informal settlement) and also how these textures might change over time and interact (e.g., an informal settlement neighbouring a shopping mall might experience a flood differently as opposed to an informal settlement that neighbours a forest). We are trying to do this in a way that capitalises on the growing body of free and open source datasets and software available, with the idea of developing a tool that could be generally applied across many towns and cities in Africa, and help various stakeholders to think about risk of single and multiple hazards across a city.

Certainly, there is a lot of work to be done over the next two years, but a great team of African and European scientists to work towards those goals with! 

Tags: 

Standfirst: 

This was my second trip to sub-Saharan Africa as part of the Urban ARK project, and quite a different experience to the first. This trip was mainly to attend the Urban ARK open science conference and meetings with various stakeholders.

Posted in Uncategorized

Putting Action Lead Research into Practice and Reflections on the Ketsana, Philippines Research

Case Study: THE START DEPP LPRR WORKSHOP

By Florence Nassali
florence.nassali@kcl.ac.uk

The Start DEPP workshop took place on 21/01/16 at Help age International. It brought together members from the LPRR consortium to introduce the MEL framework and give an update on project implementation activities especially the recent Ketsana Case study. LPRR is a START DEPP DfID funded 3 year, consortium led project which is aimed at strengthening humanitarian programming for more resilient communities. The consortium is led by Christian Aid and includes Action Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help Age, Kings College London, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Safer world and World Vision. The countries of focus include Kenya, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic Congo, Colombia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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CIRRR & LPRR at the UNISDR Science and Technology Conference, Geneva January 2016

Mobilising science to implement the four priorities of the Sendai Framework & the road map to get there….

Blog by: Becky Murphy (Lead researcher on the LPRR project at Kings College London & Capacity Building Officer at Christian Aid

 blog

“Science and technology can make significant contributions to resilience. However effectiveness depends on how well science is delivered and translated” David Applegate – US geological survey

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