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Geography/Urban Studies & Planning: Sustainable Cities & Age Friendly Places With Professor Jenny Pickerill & Dr Lee Crookes From The University of Sheffield

25th May 2021 @ 10:00 - 11:00



In this event with The University of Sheffield, we will gain a critical insight into two pressing issues determining how we use, plan and create urban spaces: sustainability and ageing populations. Students will also discover how their current studies relate to the cutting edge teaching and research carried out at Sheffield in two related academic disciplines, Geography and Urban Studies & Planning.

The first talk will be delivered by Professor Jenny Pickerill from the Department of Geography and is entitled Sustainable cities: The potential and promise of creating more liveable urban places.

This talk will explore how in the face of rapid urbanisation and the many problems this generates (inequality, social segregation, urban heat island effect, fragile infrastructure, poor air quality, water pollution, and climate change which increases flooding, increased extremes in weather, heat waves, droughts), we can create more sustainable cities. Understanding cities as dynamic places that are multi-faceted, shaped by shifting flows and connections which change over time, we will examine what types of changes would make cities more liveable and reduce environmental impacts.

This includes natural sustainability (more green spaces, more urban food production), physical sustainability (eco-buildings, careful use of recycled and local materials, building for climate change, public transport, cycleways, dealing with waste), social sustainability (living communally, collectively, co-living, working where we live), and economic sustainability (efficient renewable energy generation, food security, circular economies). Yet we also need to examine who these eco-cities are made for – how are they accessible, affordable and inclusive? We will use examples of urban eco-communities which have been critiqued for being like green-gated communities and residents being predominantly white, middle class and highly educated. How then do sustainable cities risk making inequality and social segregation worse? We will end by determining some appropriate ways of creating more sustainable cities – that reflect the existing places and people, are inclusive and accessible, that acknowledge the vast resources they use from elsewhere (beyond city limits), and how these cities are shaped by global politics just as much as everyday actions of residents.

In the second talk, Dr Lee Crookes from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning will discuss Age-friendly places: planning for an ageing population.

As a result of ongoing economic development and long-term improvements in medicine, healthcare and nutrition, population ageing is emerging as one of the most significant demographic and social trends of the 21st century. At the moment, Japan is unique in that it is the only country in the world with more than 30 percent of its population aged over 60. By 2050, however, it is estimated that there will be 64 countries in the same situation. In the UK, for example, the population aged over 65 will double in the next 50 years. This increased longevity is clearly something to be celebrated but it is also creating novel and unexpected challenges for individuals, families, communities, local and national governments and health and welfare systems.

Through making decisions about housing, transport and local services, town planners can play a key role in preparing for these significant demographic changes by creating age-friendly environments that are supportive of active, healthy ageing and mobility. This talk will examine some of the challenges that are presented by ageing populations and explore some of the responses that planners are developing, in conjunction with house-builders, public health officials and older people themselves.

Lecturer Profiles (Please Click): Professor Jenny Pickerill & Dr Lee Crookes 


Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but slides and other resources will be shared after the event, where available.



Suitable for: Year 12 & 13 students (and equivalent) studying, or with a potential interest in studying, Geography, Urban Studies & Planning, and related subjects at university.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: There is no preparation required but you might like to consider questions related to the two talks.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Bluejeans and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below:



25th May 2021
10:00 - 11:00
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