Professor Jon Coaffee - Resilience and Urban Living transcript

Professor Jon Coaffee discusses his work into the Resilience and Urban Living initiative within The Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at The University of Birmingham.

Title: Resilience and Urban Living
Duration:  2.25 mins

Speaker Names (if given): S1 Professor Jon Coaffee – Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies

S1 My research really is in the broad area of urban resilience. It involves a variety of different strands. The first is around protecting critical national infrastructure in urban places against the threat of terrorism and more specifically, we’ve been doing a lot of work at the moment around the London 2012 Olympics and the types of resilient materials, resilient infrastructures that have been set up to cope with potential threat to that particular event. That can be equated to a much broader field of urban risk analysis; so we’re beginning to do a lot of research in the European field around a variety of different risks that urban areas face. Now doing that research involves a variety of different stakeholders. We work very closely with central Government departments, regional agencies, local Governments and a variety of built environment stakeholders; so town planners, architects, chartered surveyors, those types of people and of course local communities themselves. 

The intended outcomes of my research are to embed resilience into societies, into communities and into local economies to allow them to better bounce back after a shock event, but ultimately to embed the practices of resilience into the everyday workings of societies, businesses, organisations. The University of Birmingham have recently set up a resilience and urban living centre which combines the expertise in geography, in psychology in the centre for urban and regional studies. This combined with a resilience research centre in engineering makes the University of Birmingham, we hope in time to come, a world leader in this particular area. The locality is always very important to the work that we do. If we think of the city of Birmingham and its surrounding regions, really it’s the laboratory in which we can test out ideas and collect primary data. 

Well our colleagues are fantastic. There's an awful lot of people that have recently been employed at the University of Birmingham, in particular, who think in that very multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary way and I think that’s really important for creating truly innovative and novel and timely research.