Research Fellowship in the Built Environment | Restoring Nature in the City
The Commission’s origins come from a pioneering era of invention and a thirst for knowledge intended to bring wide social and economic benefits. It gives us our mission to bring the power of science and the arts to bear on productive industry. Over time such industry brings with it intense urbanisation and social change which continues to this day as more people now live in cities than in rural communities. Agriculture too has been increasingly mechanised to provide us with ample comparatively inexpensive food. The natural world and many of its people were seen as a resource.
Changes in climate are sharpening our awareness of our interdependence with nature, recognising the many benefits the natural world brings to our lives, all while we impose immense pressure on it.
There are new pioneers inspired to restore nature, rather than subjugate our agricultural landscapes to be driven by meeting economic forces; to rediscover a relationship with nature informed by the latest knowledge while sustainably producing food and encouraging biodiversity, however letting nature take the lead is still seen as swimming against the tide.
Parks and gardens both public and private are wonderful amenities that enrich our lives and connect us to nature but is there a more regenerative approach to nature in the public realm that inhabits our roads, walls and surfaces of division, allowing the city to breathe, be more diverse, less manicured, but more loved? This year’s fellowship is looking for innovative thinking that contributes to unpicking the heat islands of the extensive hard surface city in a manner that may be visionary, wide ranging or local but seeks the art of the possible and potentially transformative. Proposals may involve permanent change or perhaps meanwhile uses.
The Commission welcomes applications not just from built environment professionals and landscape designers but also, for example, social entrepreneurs, ecologists, community groups, local authorities and landowners large and small.
Entries will be accepted not only from individuals but also from formal or informal partnerships. Candidates should be UK based aiming to carry out research over a 2 year period culminating in a milestone output of significance. In all cases candidates should identify a mentor who can contribute objectively to the project and widen the reach of outputs to help make a difference.