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DSSP: A Transformative Brief for Engineers and Engineering

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Location: LIB1

A Transformative Brief for Engineers and Engineering

Professor Chris Rogers, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham



Cities provide the brief for (civil) engineers, and indeed a complete range of ‘urban professionals’, and in addressing the brief this wide cohort of professional disciplines needs to work seamlessly and coherently if cities are to realise their full potential – that is, if they are to meet both a city’s and citizens’ aspirations. The Liveable Cities programme grant is exploring ways in which this might be achieved by considering aspirational city scenarios (working with the Foresight Future of Cities project), establishing a methodology to measure the performance of a city (across a complete range of perspectives), understanding a city’s metabolism (hence the flows into, around and out of a city), and then exploring how radical interventions in city systems might bring about beneficial change. These interventions are then explored for their likely efficacy in the far future using the Urban Futures methodology. At the heart of all this is a fundamental design process, one that takes nothing away from existing design methods, but which makes explicit many of the unwritten rules of good design, whether the design is meant to deliver a thing (an element of a city’s infrastructure, for example), bring about a behaviour change, or formulate a policy. It is therefore an enabler of better urban design by enriching the design process.


Chris Rogers, a Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, has research interests embracing the installation and structural performance of buried infrastructure, utility service provision more generally, and future cities. He leads the EPSRCfunded Mapping the Underworld, and now Assessing, the Underworld programme, a £10million research programme using remote sensing technologies to locate and map, and now assess the condition of, buried pipelines and cables. Chris is Deputy Director of i-BUILD, a £3.5million consortium exploring infrastructure interdependencies and novel business models. Prof. Rogers led two research consortia exploring Sustainable Urban Environments, including Urban Futures, and leads the £6.3million Liveable Cities consortium, which is exploring visions of the future in which low-carbon targets are married with resource security and citizen and societal wellbeing. He is a member of the Lead Expert Group of the Foresight Future of Cities project. He chairs the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Innovation & Research Panel.

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